Borussia Dortmund full-back Marcel Schmelzer has admitted the DFB-Pokal finalists were physically fatigued in their clash with FC Bayern München on Saturday.
Thomas Tuchel’s men pushed Bayern all the way to the wire as the match went to penalties after a goalless 120 minutes of football in Berlin.
“We’ve just played our 56th competitive match of the season,” Schmelzer told the club’s official website.
“That’s demanding. Both teams had little left to give once it went to extra time. I don’t think it looked like that for Bayern as they had most of the ball.
“It was a difficult battle, that’s how it has to be in a final, you need to give it everything that you have. And that’s what we did until the end.
“Then when it gets to penalties there’s a fine line between fortune and misfortune.”
Explaining the delay prior to the penalty shootout, he added: “A lot of players were struggling physically before shooting.
“Some even injured themselves while shooting. At the end it was not football any more. It was similar for Bayern.
“It is difficult when exhaustion and cramp mean that you no longer feel like you are in the position to even take a run-up. Then it’s difficult to say, yeah I’ll shoot.”
In the shootout, Sven Bender was denied by Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer, while teammate Sokratis Papastathopoulos failed to hit the target.
Douglas Costa scored the decisive spot-kick as Bayern won 4-3 to collect their second piece of silverware for the season to give manager Pep Guardiola a fitting send-off.