Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen battled past second-tier Kaiserslautern 1-0 on Saturday to win the DFB-Pokal and secure the club's first domestic double.

Leverkusen missed out on a treble after losing 3-0 to Atalanta in the Europa League final on Wednesday, in what was astonishingly their first defeat of the season in all competitions, after a European record 51-game unbeaten run.

But at Berlin's Olympic stadium, which will host the Euro 2024 final in July, Xabi Alonso's side ensured they capped off a remarkable campaign with another piece of silverware thanks to Granit Xhaka's stunning 16th-minute strike.

The ball rolled out to the former Arsenal man around 25 yards out, and he planted an unstoppable first-time effort into the left-hand side of the net.

They controlled the pace even after they were reduced to 10 men following Odilon Kossounou's second booking a minute before half-time.

Kaiserslautern rarely threatened after the break, with Leverkusen limiting their opponents to just 0.2 expected goals.

And even though they could not add to their lead, Leverkusen were able to comfortably wrap up their second trophy of the best season in the club's history.

Data Debrief: Leverkusen join the club

Leverkusen are only the fifth different side to win the double in Germany since the Bundesliga was founded, after Bayern Munich (13 times), 1. Koln, Werder Bremen and Borussia Dortmund.

Xhaka's strike was a worthy winner. He became the first Swiss player to score in a DFB-Pokal final.

West Ham bowed out of the Europa League but only after giving new German champions Bayer Leverkusen an almighty fright.

Michail Antonio’s early goal had the Hammers, 2-0 down from the first leg, dreaming of inflicting a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen and of maybe reaching a third European semi-final in three years.

But they were unable to find a second and were then left crastfallen when a deflected goal from Jeremie Frimpong a minute from time made it 1-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate to end the Hammers’ hopes.

Few gave David Moyes’ side any chance of overturning the deficit against one of the best teams in Europe, even if they were a little jaded after celebrating their first Bundesliga crown on Sunday.

At the very least West Ham knew they needed a fast start, and both the team and the crowd were instantly unrecognisable from the meek 2-0 home defeat by Fulham four days earlier.

The first shot in anger did come from Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz, whose 20-yard effort was acrobatically saved by Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianksi despite it being his 39th birthday.

But the first goal was always going to have to come from West Ham if they were going to make anything resembling a contest out of it, and it arrived in the 14th minute when Jarrod Bowen swung a cross into the box.

Antonio got above Leverkusen centre-half Odilon Kossounou and in front of keeper Matej Kovar to guide his header into the net as a raucous home crowd genuinely started to believe something special could be in the air.

It was almost two four minutes later when Mohammed Kudus shook off the attentions of Kossounou and hit a deflected shot which Kovar did well to smother.

It was enough to rattle Alonso, who removed Kossounou from the firing line with less than half an hour gone, the Ivory Coast defender heading straight down the tunnel.

Tempers flared between the benches moments later with the Hammers’ mild-mannered first-team coach Billy McKinlay sent off along with Sebastian Parrilla from Leverkusen’s bench.

Still West Ham attacked and Edson Avarez’s shot looked goalbound until it hit Antonio’s backside, with Kovar holding Bowen’s follow-up.

Alonso made two further changes at the break, with big guns Victor Boniface and Frimpong called into action.

After the break Bowen, still a lively presence despite only passing a late fitness test, robbed Piero Hincapie in the area only to pull his shot across goal.

But Leverkusen were finding their rhythm. Frimpong should have wrapped up the tie with 10 minutes left when he raced through one-on-one with Fabianski, only to lift his shot way over the crossbar.

But with two minutes left Frimpong did strike, his shot taking a huge deflection off Aaron Cresswell to end West Ham’s European adventure.

Hosts Ivory Coast will continue to draw strength from adversity as they seek to complete one of the great Africa Cup of Nations comebacks against Nigeria in Abidjan on Sunday.

The Elephants looked down and out after a 4-0 group stage defeat to Equatorial Guinea that led to the sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset and left their tournament destiny out of their hands.

But after squeezing through as one of the best-placed third-placed sides, Emerse Fae has led his side past defending champions Senegal and within 90 minutes of an improbable third continental crown.

Fae, who was given the role on a temporary basis when his side’s future in the tournament was still unsure, said the uncertainty had proved a uniting force in turning their campaign around.

“The way we qualified, I think at a certain point our destiny no longer depended on us, so we said to ourselves that we are already dead anyway,” Fae told a press conference.

“So, we decided to give it our all, because we had nothing left to lose in the end. Gradually, we remobilised, we tried to become a more united group, and the results gave us a little more confidence.”

Belief may be sweeping around the host nation but Fae’s side face a mighty challenge in the shape of Nigeria, whose tournament experience has been the opposite of their opponents.

The Super Eagles eased through the group stages, including a 1-0 win over Sunday’s opponents, but were pushed to the limit in a nervy semi-final shoot-out win over South Africa.

Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro is relishing the emotions of his first Africa Cup of Nations experience and says he is undaunted by what is likely to prove a frenzied atmosphere in the Ivorian capital.

“I always prefer to play in a full stadium rather than an empty one, and my players must show the same desire and commitment on the pitch,” said Peseiro.

“This is my first AFCON, and the emotions in Africa are very special. There is joy when you win but it is difficult when you lose and it is important to find a balance.”

While the hosts are looking for their first tournament win since 2015 and a third overall, victory for Nigeria would bring their first since 2013.

Victor Osimhen is set to start again for Nigeria after missing the early part of the tournament with an abdominal injury, but wing-back Zaidu Sanusi continues to be a major doubt due to a hamstring injury.

For the Ivory Coast, Serge Aurier, Odilon Kossounou and Oumar Diakite all return from suspension, with Fae set to pick between Max Gradel or Nicolas Pepe to partner semi-final match-winner Sebastien Haller up front.

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Ivory Coast interim coach Emerse Fae has warned his players it is not their “destiny” to win the Africa Cup of Nations, despite their remarkable run to a semi-final showdown with DR Congo.

Fae’s side fought back to claim a remarkable last-gasp win over Mali in the quarter-finals after being reduced to 10 men just before half-time following Odilon Kossounou’s dismissal.

Nene Dorgeles had fired Mali in front in the 71st minute, but Simon Adingra’s 90th-minute equaliser took the tie to extra time before Oumar Diakite grabbed the winner with almost the last kick of the match.

The Elephants also came from behind against Senegal in the last 16 after scraping out of their group as the last of the four best third-placed teams.

“We are aware that we have made a spectacular recovery, that when you look at the Mali game we survived miraculously,” Fae said in a pre-match press conference in Abidjan.

“It is that mindset which allows us to pull off miracles like that, but we are not going to relax and say that because we won miraculously it means it is our destiny that we are going to win the trophy.

“The miracle against Mali did not fall out of the sky, it did not just happen like that, it happened because the players kept on fighting and believing until the end.”

Fae was appointed following the sacking of Jean-Louis Gasset after a 4-0 loss to Equatorial Guinea in their final group game looked to have sealed an early exit.

However, Morocco’s 1-0 win over Zambia two days later kept them in the competition and they have continued to ride their luck ever since.

“It would be a lie to say we have nothing to lose but we have come a long way,” Fae added.

“We have come from very far, we have made every effort to get our heads above water, so we are not going to give up now and we are not going to fail for fear of not reaching the final.

“We will therefore manage it by telling ourselves that it would be a shame to put pressure on ourselves.”

Diakite, who was sent off after celebrating his winner against Mali, is one of four players suspended for the semi-final, with Kossounou, Serge Aurier and Christian Kouame also banned.

The Ivory Coast fought back to claim a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Nene Dorgeles’ memorable strike put Mali ahead after Odilon Kossounou’s first-half red card for the hosts.

But Simon Adingra’s 90th-minute equaliser took the tie to extra time before the Ivory Coast won it in the final minutes of the match through Oumar Diakite, who was then sent off along with Mali’s Hamari Traore.

Mali missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead when Adama Traore’s penalty was saved.

Kossounou clumsily fouled pacey striker Lassine Sinayoko in the box before Ivorian keeper Yahia Fofana did well to get down and make a fingertip stop in the bottom right corner.

Traore tested the Ivory Coast’s defenders in behind but his appeals for a free-kick on the edge of the box were waved down by the referee, who showed the Hull player a yellow card for simulation.

The Elephants fluffed their best chance of the match after 40 minutes. Right-back Serge Aurier made a direct run inside before picking out Seko Fofana on the edge of the box but the midfielder put too much power into the strike as his effort flew over the bar.

A poor first half for Emerse Fae’s hosts was made worse when Kossounou picked up a second yellow and was sent off.

Sinayoko continued to wreak havoc, breaking away from orange shirts before a cynical challenge from Kossounou earned him a deserved red card.

Mali increased the pressure on their 10-man opponents after the break as they searched for an opener.

Amadou Haidara was unmarked on the edge of the area and he almost found the breakthrough when his long-range shot dipped towards the bottom corner, forcing Yahia Fofana into action.

But after 71 minutes Mali got the goal they deserved after a stunning strike from substitute Dorgeles.

Dorgeles, who was born in the Ivory Coast, picked up the ball in midfield before he took advantage of the free man and drove into space.

The Salzburg midfielder cut onto his right foot, producing a wonderful dipping effort which found the top corner.

The strike, which will be a goal of the tournament contender, had too much power and accuracy for Yahia Fofana to replicate his earlier heroics.

But in dramatic circumstances, the Ivory Coast levelled the tie on 90 minutes.

Seko Fofana’s effort crashed off a Malian defender and into the path of substitute and Brighton winger Adingra, who smashed home to equalise.

In the last minute of extra time, Ivory Coast stole the victory.

An attacking free-kick saw the loose ball fall to Seko Fofana, who let fly before Diakite managed to get a crucial touch, sending the ball into the net and the tournament hosts into the semi-final.

Diakite picked up a second yellow card after he removed his shirt during the celebrations before Hamari Traore was shown a straight red.

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