FC Bayern München are into the DFB-Pokal final for the 23rd time. The record champions beat Werder Bremen 3-2 in a classic semi-final and will now face RB Leipzig in the showpiece in Berlin on 25th May 2019. The result means SVW’s run of 37 cup games at home without defeat has come to an end, while the Munich side have extended their unbeaten run on the road in the cup to 30 matches. Only Leipzig now stand in Bayern’s way of a 19th DFB-Pokal title.
Just four days had passed since the two sides met in the Bundesliga and it was another hard-fought encounter with chances for both teams. Just like in that league match, it was Bayern who struck first, with Robert Lewandowski giving them a 1-0 lead at the break. Thomas Müller marked an impressive display with FCB’s second after 63 minutes and they looked to be in total control, but two goals in two minutes from Yuya Osako and then Milot Rashica got Werder back on level terms. Bayern and Lewandowski had the final say, however, when the Pole converted from the penalty spot in the 80th minute to send the Munich side into the final.
“It was just as tough as we expected it to be,” said Man of the Match Thomas Müller. “Playing in an atmosphere like this was a lot of fun. It was a fiery and thrilling encounter that demanded absolutely everything of us.” Bremen captain Max Kruse was unsurprisingly in a different mood: “It was an all-or-nothing match. To come back against Bayern like that is great, but we lost the game, and at the end of the day, that’s all that counts.”
Werder made a strong start with the loud home fans roaring them on and had the first real chance when Rashica headed back across goal to Kruse, but he failed to keep his volley down. Bayern responded instantly with a dangerous attack down the left and the ball made its way through to Müller, who only just missed the target with an artistic back heel. The 29-year-old came even closer to scoring in the 16th minute, only for Niklas Moisander to block his shot on the line.
Chances continued to come at both ends. Osako fired just over the top with a long-range effort, before Coman once again caused problems down Werder’s right-hand side, although Thiago wasn’t able to make the most of the attack. Davy Klaassen then had the best chance for the home side, but his volley from eight yards cleared the crossbar.
Around halfway through the opening 45 minutes, Bayern began to take more and more control of proceedings and a goal soon followed. Jérôme Boateng’s long, diagonal ball to the far post was headed towards goal by Thomas Müller, and when the ball bounced back into the six-yard box via the upright, Robert Lewandowski was in the right place to snap up the chance after 36 minutes. The record champions almost doubled their advantage moments later when Müller’s shot flew into the top corner, however, Lewandowski attempted to flick the ball on with his head from an offside position and the goal didn’t count. The half ended with a deflected Kruse shot that Ulreich just about managed to hold on to, but it was Bayern who were in the ascendency at the break.
The fast pace of the game carried on into the second half and both teams had half-chances in the first exchanges following the switch of ends. Thomas Müller and Kevin Möhwald both came close, before the former finally got his deserved goal around the hour mark. Substitute Leon Goretzka’s sliced shot was quickly taken under control by Müller just inside the box and, in one sweeping motion, he turned and fired the ball into the top corner to make it 2-0.
Bremen refused to give up though and fought back in remarkable fashion. After brilliant work down the right from Rashica, his ball into the centre was turned home by Yuya Osako to haul Werder back into the contest. Bayern barely had time to react before Werder were level. Milot Rashica went solo this time, dribbling through the Munich defence before finishing past Sven Ulreich off the inside of the far past. Parity lasted for just five minutes though as the drama continued. Theodor Gebre Selassie was judged to have brought Kingsley Coman to ground inside the area and Lewandowski stepped up to convert the resulting penalty in the 80th minute. He almost wrapped up his hat-trick in the closing stages as Werder opened up in search of another equaliser, but was denied by the post. Bayern did hold on, however, to set up an intriguing clash with RB Leipzig in Berlin’s Olympiastadion next month.###more###