Probability calculators had no reason to be astonished. Of course, in their calculations, they had shown FC Bayern’s participation in the cup final as the most likely scenario, with a confrontation with the perpetual pursuer Borussia Dortmund depending on the path of the competition. Each season has at least one alternate scenario. This takes into account a crucial cup principle known as “Favoritenfallen,” which is also employed in practice every few years. Bayern Munich, for example, may lose 0:5 in the third round of the cup against Gladbach, and Dortmund could be ousted from the competition a few weeks later.
This is a cup season like no other. In theory, it would have previously opened up the potential of a club logo combination appearing on the scoreboard of the Berlin Olympic Stadium, something that today could hardly be predicted to the point of being insane. Werder vs. Schalke? HSV versus Nuremberg? In the meantime, these second-tier conventional companies have a total of 18 cup victories to their credit, a stunning figure that says little about contemporary prospects. Instead, RB Leipzig and SC Freiburg will occupy the endgame berths in 2022, and yes, dear Freiburgers and Mr. Streich, this is the evident conclusion of a longer continuous evolution.
Both leveraged and self-optimizing clubs have vanished.
Because a new generation of successful clubs, which can be loosely divided into two groups and occupy the top slots in regular league operations, is gradually pushing out the old establishment. On the one hand, there are artificial items that are partially funded from outside sources, such as a shower manufacturer (RB), a billionaire (Hoffenheim), or a car firm (Wolfsburg). Such a club can occasionally find itself in a relegation struggle, as Wolfsburg has this season. Their overall tendency, however, is upward.
The second kind is a relatively new occurrence that includes Freiburg, but also 1. FC Union Berlin, who were only narrowly eliminated in the end against Leipzig. What these clubs have in common is that they have optimized their own location, with coaches who are suited to the environment and squads assembled according to a set of rules. Furthermore, they do not destroy their few true locational advantages (quietness, patience, and frugality) by proclaiming that they must suddenly take the place of the long-established.
They are, however, no longer considered a one-hit wonder. As a result, no one should be astonished if Freiburg wins the cup next year and 1. FC Union reaches the final.