When Cup Competitions Still Mean Something

Last weekend, we witnessed the national cup competitions of England and Germany generate some genuine excitement and interest across the respective countries, arguably because the stakeholders were not those who play these sorts of finals every year. This might sound harsh to those who support Arsenal, but the reality is that the trophy cabinet in north London has not seen much change in the last ten years. It might sound equally harsh to the ears of Borussia Dortmund fans, but the under-par league performance had only contributed to the importance of the DFB Cup final against Wolfsburg.

Regardless, the German Cup was eventually lifted by VfL Wolfsburg after an inspired performance by the club’s star player Kevin de Bruyne. The Wolves had not won this competition before and the excitement was all the more obvious. Prior to Saturday, Wolfsburg had only won a single domestic title, when they saw off all Bundesliga competition to lift the league title in 2009. Many regarded that season as a fluke and the VW-backed outfit had to fight back to reclaim domestic reputation. Arguably, they are now developing into Bayern Munich’s main competitor in Germany and their second-place finish this year helped to further underline that. As the club take small steps towards becoming number one, the excitement about winning the DFB Cup is what defines today. As such, it came as no surprise when 40,000 people came out to celebrate the triumph in a city with a population of around 120,000.

Wolfsburg_Fans_DFB_Cup

Similarly, Arsenal fans were more than simply excited by their FA Cup triumph against Aston Villa on Saturday. It was a great way for the club to seal a season that got better and better towards the end. In the last few months, the north Londoners have managed to put together a run of impressive wins and were unlucky that their run came too little too late. Similar to the Wolves, the Gunners can use the cup win as a platform for next season. It is a great way to finish the season on a high and as far as next season goes, both Wolfsburg and Arsenal will head into the league with genuine hope of competing for the respective league title. As such, both clubs should look at their respective victories as a beginning and rather than the mere end of a season.