European football: Xhaka seals double for Leverkusen; PSG clinch treble

Estimated read time 5 min read

Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen battled past second division Kaiserslautern 1-0 on Saturday to win the German Cup and secure the club’s first ever domestic double.

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

In Berlin’s Olympic Stadium that will host the Euro 2024 final in July, Leverkusen took the lead thanks to Granit Xhaka’s powerful shot from distance in the 16th minute.

They controlled the flow of the game 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 comfortably holding on to cap a memorable season with a second trophy.

Victory marks the second time the club have won the competition in its 89-year history.

Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso said: “It is huge success to win the double. We will remember this in the future. The most important thing was the belief of the team. They were ready to battle with 10 players and I am proud of that.

“I need time to accept what happened this season. It was a dream season and to celebrate the last day like this here is special.”

Kylian Mbappé lifts the trophy on his final appearance for PSG.View image in fullscreen

Paris Saint Germain beat Lyon 2-1 in the Coupe de France final courtesy of first-half strikes from Ousmane Dembélé and Fabián Ruiz to complete a domestic treble.

The Ligue 1 and French Super Cup champions dominated the first half at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy to secure their record-extending 15th Cup title and first since 2021.

Dembélé put PSG ahead after 23 minutes when Nuno Mendes’ cross found him unmarked in the six-yard box to coolly head home, and Ruiz doubled the advantage with a strike from a tight angle at the second attempt. Lyon pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half thanks to Jake O’Brien’s towering header off a corner before PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma produced a superb save minutes later.

PSG’s all-time top scorer Kylian Mbappé failed to find the net in his final game for the club, leaving his record at 256 goals in 308 appearances over his seven-year spell.

Toni Kroos bade an emotional farewell to Real Madrid fans at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu as the German midfielder played his final home game after a remarkable decade with the Spanish giants.

A goalless draw with Real Betis was largely irrelevant with Real confirmed as La Liga champions and all the European qualification and relegation spots decided.

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Toni Kroos is thrown into the air by his Real Madrid teammates.View image in fullscreen

One of Real’s most successful players of all time, Kroos announced on Tuesday that he will retire after this year’s European Championship on home soil. He fought back tears as walked on to the pitch through a corridor formed by his team mates, who were wearing his No 8 jersey as the fans held up a giant flag with his face and the words “Thank you, legend” which covered the south stand.

In the 85th minute, Kroos broke down in tears when, after receiving another standing ovation as he was substituted, he embraced his three children who were all crying on the sidelines. The game was stopped for several minutes as Kroos hugged each of his team mates and his coach.

Nico Williams capped his superb season by scoring to give fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao a 1-0 win at Rayo Vallecano.

Goals from Samuel Lino and Reinildo Mandava earned Atlético Madrid a 2-0 win over Real Sociedad.

Almería crushed Cádiz 6-1 to ensure they did not finish bottom of the table. Luis Suárez and Sergio Arribas both notched braces in the rout.

Villarreal drew 1-1 at Osasuna, José Luis Morales cancelling out Ante Budimir’s goal in the second half.

Milan ended their Serie A campaign with a disappointing 3-3 home draw against relegated Salernitana in what was the last game at the club for coach Stefano Pioli and striker Olivier Giroud.

Rafael Leão capitalised on an error by Salernitana goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo to give Milan the lead before Giroud doubled the advantage five minutes later. Salernitana pulled a goal back through forward Simeon Nwankwo in the second half before Davide Calabria restored the hosts’ two-goal lead. Junior Sambia and Nwankwo levelled with two quick-fire goals in the dying moments.

Alex Sandro headed in Juventus’s second goal in a 2-0 win over Monza in his 327th and final appearance for the club.

The Brazilian equalled Pavel Nedved’s record for the most matches by a foreign player for the Bianconeri.

Nicolò Fagioli hit the crossbar in the 16th minute on his first start for Juventus since returning from a seven-month ban for betting violations. Federico Chiesa gave Juventus the lead before Sandro struck. Monza forward Alessio Zerbin was sent off in the final minute for a second yellow card.


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