Having already claimed a fourth-straight Frauen Bundesliga title, Wolfsburg extended an even longer winning streak with yet another DFB-Pokal Frauen success at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne. Their sixth cup triumph in a row also completed another significant achievement for them this campaign as they ended domestic play without a loss to their name.
A 1-0 reversal away to FFC Frankfurt on 16 November 2013 was the last time Wolfsburg walked off the field as the losers in a domestic cup fixture. Clinical performances this season in the run-up to the final give the impression that they have no intention of surrendering their long unbeaten run any time soon.
Seeding is introduced at the start of DFB-Pokal Frauen play which means that the elite teams are never going to face each other until the competition gets closer to the business end. The twist to complement this is that the lower placed sides always get home advantage, which can throw up some interesting destinations for the leading players to visit.
After going straight into the round of 32, Wolfsburg were drawn to face Frauen-Regionalliga West side Berghofen. Wolfsburg scored early on, but the expected avalanche of goals against the third-tier outfit failed to materialise and it took an 89th minute strike from Lara Dickenmann to put the game to bed.
Although the vast majority of the sides that advanced into the third round came from the top-flight, Wolfsburg could not have faced a tougher tie than Bayern Munich away. The holders were able to show their class as a brace from Ewa Pajor saw them secure a 3-1 victory.
A couple of 2. Frauen-Bundesliga teams made it through to the latter stages of the competition, but ultimately both would see their DFB-Pokal Frauen participation ended by Wolfsburg.
First to welcome the defending champions were FSV Gütersloh in the quarter-final. A couple of goals from Dickenmann ensured there would not be a surprise outcome as Wolfsburg eased to a 3-0 success.
After an efficient rather than spectacular passage to the last-four Wolfsburg finally cut loose. Cláudia Neto bagged a brace as the side from the state of Lower Saxony booked their now customary final spot in style with a 5-0 win on their travels against Arminia Bielefeld.
On route to the final SGS Essen actually scored one more goal than Wolfsburg, and like their opponents also found themselves on the road in each round of the competition.
The most comprehensive win for Essen was against 2. Frauen-Bundesliga side Meppen in round two, with Lea Schüller scoring a goal in each half to help the visitors claim a 5-1 success.
The progress for Essen through the next three rounds followed a remarkably familiar pattern as each of their trips to face Cologne, Turbine Potsdam and Bayer Leverkusen ended with victories by a 3-1 scoreline.
In terms of final experience for Essen, this was just the second time they had reached this stage of the competition having lost 3-0 to FFC Frankfurt back in 2014.
The two league games between the finalists played this season both went the way of Wolfsburg too. On aggregate the champions came out on top 8-1, their most dominant win 5-1 back in October on home soil.
Just like the Frauen-Bundesliga contests, Wolfsburg was able to prevail in this final as well, but they were made to work extremely hard.
A blistering beginning to proceedings seen the ball hit the back of the net on three occasions with less than 20 minutes on the clock. Essen made the perfect start when Schüller netted in the opening seconds, however Wolfsburg were able to get back on level terms through Pernille Harder 10 minutes later. Essen was back in front in the 18th minute when Marina Hegering scored.
Anna Blässe got Wolfsburg level with 20 minutes left and Dominique Janssen headed home a corner to give them their first lead in the 86th minute.
Essen showed resilience and was rewarded with an equaliser from substitute Irini Ioannidou one minute into stoppage time.
After nether side could break the deadlock in extra time it was onto a penalty shootout which Wolfsburg won 4-2, with Harder scoring the decisive penalty to claim the sixth successive cup.
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