Eintracht edges Schalke 1-0 to reach second straight German Cup final

Gelsenkirchen (Germany), April 19 Eintracht Frankfurt advanced to its second consecutive German Cup final with a 1-0 victory over Schalke 04 and will next take on 18-time champion Bayern Munich for the championship.

Finnish goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was the true man of the match at Veltins Arena here on Wednesday night, making three phenomenal saves that kept the game scoreless and put the visitors in a position to win the game in the latter stages, reports EFE news agency.

The teams ended the first half 0-0 thanks to Hradecky's first outstanding stop in the 32nd minute, when he prevented Guido Burgstaller from scoring on a header.

He then denied the Austrian forward a second time by showcasing lightning reflexes to stop a shot at point-blank range in the 67th minute, on a play that midfielder Daniel Caligiuri had set up with some skillful dribbling and a well-placed pass.

Just seconds later, Hradecky stunned the home crowd again when he made yet another remarkable save of a powerful shot by Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from inside the area.

Eintracht's attackers then made the most of a rare scoring chance in the 75th minute, with Serbian forward Luka Jovic getting the ball in the back of the net with a spectacular back-heeled strike.

The game was far from over though, especially after Eintracht midfielder Gelson Fernandes was sent off in the 80th minute - just 33 seconds after taking the field - for a hard challenge on Leon Goretzka that was reviewed by the video assistant referee.

Schalke besieged its shorthanded opponent's penalty area for the rest of the game and looked as if it had scored the equalizer during injury time.

The referee, however, waived off that apparent goal by Franco Di Santo, determining that he had used his hand to control the ball.

Next up in the May 19 championship match at Olimpiastadion in Berlin will be Bayern Munich, which clobbered Bayer Leverkusen 6-2 Tuesday night at BayArena in Leverkusen.

Eintracht will look to lift the trophy a year after losing 2-1 to Borussia Dortmund in the 2016-2017 German Cup final.

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