Werder Bremen 2-3 Bayern: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Lewandowski Double Seals DFB Final Spot

Bayern Munich sealed their place in the DFB Pokal final after a scintillating 3-2 victory over Werder Bremen in their semi final clash at the Westerstadion on Wednesday night.

?Having met just four days ago in a Bundesliga game that Bayern dominated, it was in fact the home side who started on the front foot, moving the ball across the pitch with pace and posing a repeated threat in the final third.

Werder Bremen v FC Bayern Muenchen - DFB Cup

The hosts’ attacking prowess continued to show but Davy Klaassen could only blaze an effort over the bar at the near post following good work down the byline from Milot Rashica. Despite Bremen having the better opportunities, it was ?Die Roten who struck first 36 minutes in.

?Jerome Boateng’s cross-field pass was kept alive by Thomas Muller, whose looping header hit the far post and fell kindly for Robert Lewandowski to tap home.


In a first half full of chances for both sides, it was the visitors who looked the more likely to extend their lead as Kingsley Coman was denied by the quick reactions of Jiri Pavlenka.

Their dominance paid off on 63 minutes as Muller controlled Leon Goretzka’s shot and his excellent side footed finish was too strong for Pavlenka, nestling in the top corner.

However, in an astonishing turnaround when the game looked finished, the home side struck twice inside two minutes through Yuya Osako and Rashica’s brilliant solo goal to stun the visiting side.


The show was not over there though, as drama continued to unfold. Coman was adjudged to have been fouled in the box with the referee awarding the spot kick, a decision VAR reaffirmed to put Bayern back in control.

It was backs against the walls stuff for the visitors from the remaining ten minutes, but they held on to book a DFB final date with RB Leipzig.


WERDER BREMEN

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Pavlenka (6); Gebre Selassie (6), Veljkovic (7), Moisander (7), Augustinsson (7); Eggestein (7), Mohwald (7), Klaassen (6); Kruse (7), Rashica (8), Osako (7)

Substitutes: Pizarro (6), Eggestein (N/A), Harnik (N/A)


BAYERN MUNICH

Key Talking Point

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After a start to the season that was well below the standard set by the ?Bundesliga giants, Niko Kovac has turned things around with Bayern and put them on course for a league and cup double.

In a pulsating first half full of chances, this semi final clash could have gone either way, with Die Roten relieved to see a combination of wayward finishing and poor decision making keeping them in the tie. They had chances of their own, mind, with Muller’s improvised finish floating just past the post.

The deadlock was broken soon after though as a certain Polish frontman capitalised on some poor goalkeeping to edge his side in front with ten minutes left of the half. Then Muller seemingly wrapped up the win with a well taken finish before the game turned on its head. 

Robert Lewandowski

A quick-fire double from the hosts stunned everyone before VAR got involved to confirm the referee’s initial decision to award Bayern a penalty, an opportunity Lewandowksi didn’t refuse. 

It was end-to-end, it was full of chances, and it was a cracking game. Kovac will not care one jot, however, as Bayern stay on course for a league and cup double.


Player Rating?s

Starting XI: Ulreich (7); Kimmich (6), Hummels (7), Boateng (7), Alaba (8*); Martinez (6), Thiago (5), Coman (7), Muller (8), Gnabry (7); Lewandowski (8)

Substitutes: Goretzka (7), Rafinha (N/A), Rodriguez (N/A)


STAR MAN – Austrian full back David Alaba’s future in Bavaria looks bleak at Bayern after the club obliterated their transfer record to sign Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid for £72m. 

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That said, the 26-year-old was a constant menace down the left hand side for the visitors, overlapping at every opportunity and even registering a few efforts during the game.

There will surely be plenty of suitors waiting in the wings for the versatile man, should Hernandez become the club’s regular left back.


Looking Ahead

Werder Bremen return to Bundesliga action as they travel to the Merkur Spiel-Arena to take on Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday afternoon.

It’s a return to nail biting league action for Bayern Munich as they look to continue their surge towards to the league title when they take on Nurnberg at the Max-Morlock-Stadion on Sunday.

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Transfer Rumours: Varane to PSG, Coutinho to Chelsea, City Join Bruno Fernandes Hunt & More

Have we ever seen a transfer window like the one this summer is shaping up to be?

Money looks set to be thrown around all over the shop, and the landscape of the footballing world as we know it could soon change. 

Here are six rumours for you to look out for.


Real Madrid Offer Ajax Discount on Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard

Martin Odegaard seemed to fall out of the spotlight almost? as quick as he entered. The ?Real Madrid starlet has spent the last season rebuilding his reputation on loan with Vitesse, and it looks like it’s worked.

?De Telegraaf claim Ajax are keen to sign him permanently, but the ?Champions League semi-finalists have refused to meet their €20m asking price. Fortunately, Los Blancos have offered them a chance to negotiate that price, and Ajax officials are keen to take them up on that.

Odegaard impressed in Tuesday’s 4-2 defeat to Ajax, and all the signs suggest he could end up at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in the very near future.


AC Milan Eye €50m Deal for Malcom as Sporting Director Meets With Agent

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?AC Milan are on the lookout for some new attacking stars to help restore the Rossoneri to their former glory. The likes of ?Richarlison and Gerard Deulofeu have been linked, but Milan want just one man – Malcom.

?Calciomercato state that the ?Serie A side are desperate to lure him away from ?Barcelona, but may have a problem meeting their €50m asking price. This is backed up by ?Gazzetta dello Sport, who add that director of football Leonardo met with Malcom’s representatives to find out whether a deal could be reached.

A loan with a right to purchase looks to be a likely solution, and they must now work to convince Malcom that a move to Milan would be right for him. 


Man City Join Man Utd in Race for £87m-Rated Bruno Fernandes

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Sporting CP star Bruno Fernandes is a wanted man. The midfielder has been linked with ?Manchester United as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s massive squad overhaul, however, their path to sign him just got a whole lot tougher.

According to ?The Sun, cross-town rivals ?Manchester City have entered the fray, and they have stepped up their pursuit of the 24-year-old. Sporting director Hugo Viana has flown to Manchester to meet City’s Txiki Begiristain to discuss the possibility of negotiating a discount on his £87m release clause.

Fernandes wants the move to the ?Premier League, but United may have to act soon if they want to win him over.


Napoli Ready to Sell Lorenzo Insigne as Premier League Giants Prepare for Bidding War

Lorenzo Insigne

The transfer saga surrounding Lorenzo Insigne has been going on for as long as most of us can remember. However, it looks like we could finally be nearing the end, as the ?Napoli man is said to have grown frustrated with life at San Paolo.

??Corriere dello Sport state that Insigne’s relationships with both Carlo Ancelotti and the fans have completely broken down following Napoli’s Europa League elimination at the hands of ?Arsenal. The Partenopei are ready to part ways with him, and there is no shortage of suitors.

?Liverpool?Chelsea and United are all said to be considering launching bids of over €70m, but they could face competition from both Paris Saint-Germain and ?Bayern Munich. It won’t be easy, but it looks like somebody could finally lure Insigne away from Napoli.


Philippe Coutinho’s Chelsea Move Hinging on Decision Over Blues’ Transfer Ban

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho’s time at Barcelona looks to be nearing its end, and a return to the Premier League seems almost inevitable. Chelsea have been heavily linked with the Brazilian as a replacement for ?Eden Hazard if he joins Real Madrid, but their transfer ban could scupper their plans.

The Blues are so determined to sign Coutinho that, according to Sport, the only thing that will stop Coutinho turning out for Chelsea next season is their impending transfer ban. If they cannot get their ban frozen, they will almost certainly sign the Brazilian, given Hazard seems close to joining Los Blancos.

If FIFA refuse to delay the punishment, Coutinho may be forced to stay at Camp Nou, even though his relationship with the fans seems to be crumbling with each passing day.


PSG Monitor Raphael Varane Situation & Consider Summer Bid

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Raphael Varane’s future could be one of the major talking points of the summer. Rumours have emerged suggesting he is ready to leave Real Madrid in search of a new challenge, and he would certainly have plenty of options to choose from.

One of which is PSG who, according to reliable fan page ?Paris United, ?are now closely monitoring his situation, in case Los Blancos accept defeat in their attempts to retain him.

The 25-year-old has already tasted glory in ?La Liga and the Champions League, and even added the World Cup to his trophy cabinet last summer. Could it be time to test himself elsewhere?

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Niko Kovac: Why Bayern Munich’s Manager Deserves to Be Kept on Regardless of Bundesliga Outcome

?It’s been a tough year for Niko Kova? in his first season under the spotlight at Bayern Munich.

The club have found themselves in a title race for the first time since rivals Borussia Dortmund last lifted the Meisterschale in 2012, while their journey in the Champions League came to an abrupt end in the first round of the knockout stage.

And while their perceived ‘failings’ on the pitch has left many to call Kova?’s future into question, the 47-year-old’s success which landed him the job in the first place should still offer the Croatian a mandate to be in the dugout in Bavaria.

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In a lesser extent to what Unai Emery has faced at Arsenal, Kova? had an impossible job of succeeding one of European football’s most successful managers and a certified Bayern Munich legend, Jupp Heynckes.

But it was his work with Eintracht Frankfurt which convinced the Bayern Munich hierarchy that Kova? was the right man for the job, not just his close relationship with Bayern’s sporting director and former teammate Hasan Salihamidži?.

Even earlier in his managerial career, Kova? planted the seed that he could one day take over at his former club. He spent two years in charge of the Croatian national team, guiding the likes of Luka Modri?, Ivan Rakiti? and Bayern’s own Mario Mandžuki? during the 2014 World Cup tournament.

While their performances on the pitch in Brazil left a lot to be desired – they only beat Cameroon during the group stages – his work with Croatia’s biggest players (and egos) offered fans an insight into a potential future at the Allianz Arena.

But it wasn’t until Kova? landed his first ever job as a manager in senior club football in Frankfurt that the Croatian really started to make a name for himself.

He was brought in in the latter stages of the 2015/16 season and helped keep the club in the Bundesliga by the skin of their teeth, finishing three points above the automatic drop before beating FC Nürnberg 2-1 in the two-legged relegation play-off match.

Kova?’s next test came during the summer transfer window, as first-team goalkeeper Kevin Trapp upped sticks to join Paris Saint-Germain. 

In his place, Lukáš Hrádecký was brought in from Denmark for just €2.5m, while Mijat Ga?inovi? – now a regular part of their senior squad – was plucked from relative obscurity for half that amount.

Niko Kovac

In his first full season in charge, the Eagles registered a solid mid-table finish, but it was their run in the DFB-Pokal which was the most impressive, only coming unstuck in the final against Borussia Dortmund.

Another impressive summer followed, as Ante Rebi?, Jesús Vallejo, Marius Wolf and Omar Mascarell arrived, while only (with the benefit of hindsight at least) Luca Waldschmidt’s exit has come back to bite them on the backside.

The 2016/17 campaign wasn’t the only time that “Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin” would be heard around the Commerzbank-Arena either, as the following year Eintracht Frankfurt once again found themselves walking out in a cup final at the Olympiastadion.

This time, Frankfurt had an eighth-place finish to their name in the Bundesliga, but they knew that only winning the DFB-Pokal final against Kova?’s future employers – he was announced as Heynckes’ successor at Bayern Munich some two months earlier – would guarantee Europa League football for them.

Bayern Munich were the favourites, but Rebi?’s early goal set the tone for a potential giant killing. Robert Lewandowski levelled the scoreline shortly after half-time, but Rebi? popped up once again with 10 minutes to go to swing the pendulum back in Frankfurt’s favour.

Then, with every Bayern Munich player attacking a late set piece, the aforementioned Ga?inovi? broke away, ran the entire length of the pitch before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Mijat Gacinovic

It was pandemonium in the capital. The Eagles were in Europe. And Kova?’s parting gift? Ending a 30-year wait since Eintracht Frankfurt last won the Pokal.

Within the blink of an eye, Kova? had gone from a bold managerial appointment at Bayern Munich to an inspired one, and only now are the Bavarian giants enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Despite a nervous start to this season, Bayern Munich have been back to their best for the majority of the Rückrunde. They’ve been blowing teams away like Gladbach, Wolfsburg and even Borussia Dortmund, whilst also edging past Werder Bremen and Augsburg.


It hasn’t been vintage, but Kova? hasn’t been brought in to replicate the short-term success of Pep Guardiola (at his best) or Heynckes (at his best).

Instead, he’s been brought in to set up the foundations of Bayern Munich’s new generation of players for tomorrow’s managers to dominate in Europe for another generation.

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James Rodriguez Edges Closer to Real Madrid Return After Niko Kovac Makes Transfer Decision

?Bayern Munich manager Niko Kova? has given the all-clear for the club’s decision-makers to pass up the opportunity to sign Real Madrid loanee James Rodriguez on a permanent basis at the end of the season.

The Colombia international has had a mixed time in Bavaria since arriving on a two-year loan deal in 2017, struggling to establish himself under Carlo Ancelotti and current manager Kova?, but thriving under legendary boss Jupp Heynckes last season.

Bayern Munich can make James’ move permanent at the end of this season if they meet Real Madrid’s €42m clause – which is on top of the €13m loan fee – but Marca report that returning to the Spanish capital is back on the cards.

James Rodriguez,Keylor Navas

It had appeared that James’ career at the Santiago Bernabéu would officially be drawing to a close this summer, having failed to live up to expectations following his performances during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The 27-year-old made 111 appearances for the club during his three years, scoring 36 goals and claiming 40 assists, before Europe’s biggest club’s cued up to sign James in a loan deal away from the Spanish capital.

Bayern Munich eventually won the race and he would go on to be one of the Bundesliga’s best players during his first year at the club, but a change in management has seen the playmaker fall back down the pecking order.

Manager Kova? is said to see a clash with James’ style compared to what he’s trying to implement in their team with the likes of Corentin Tolisso and Leon Goretzka.

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Werder Bremen vs Bayern Munich: Niko Kovac’s Best Available Die Roten Lineup

?Bayern Munich travel to Weser Stadium to face Werder Bremen, hoping to reach the final of the DFB-Pokal for the 23rd time.

Bayern have won the competition a record 18 times but haven’t lifted the trophy since 2016, when they beat Borussia Dortmund on penalties.

Niko Kovac’s men are a point clear of Borussia Dortmund, at the top of the ?Bundesliga, a win here could take them a step closer to a league and cup double – something they haven’t achieved in three seasons.

If they progress, Bayern will face Hamburger or RB Leipzig in the final on 19 May at the Olympiastadion.

Here’s how Kovac could set his side out for this important match. 


Goalkeeper & Defenders

David Alaba

Sven Ulreich (GK) – A calf injury sidelined starting keeper Manuel Neuer in the league match against Fortuna Dusseldorf and he is unlikely to be fit for this game. Ulreich started the round of 16 and quarter-final matches and is a capable deputy for the 2014 World Cup winner.

Joshua Kimmich (RB) – The 24-year-old was rested in the early rounds of the tournament but has started every game since the round of 16, as Kovac realised the importance of the competition.

Jerome Boateng (CB) – With Niklas Sule suspended, ?Boateng should slot into his place seamlessly. The veteran defender has won 12 cups during his career and will want to add a lucky 13th in May.

Mats Hummels (CB) – Entering a decade at ?Bayern, Hummels may not be at the peak of his powers but is still the best defender at the club.

David Alaba (LB) – When fit, the Austrian international starts, nothing changes here. One of Bayern’s most consistent performers this season, he’s one of the first names on Kovac’s team sheet.


Midfielders

Thiago Alcantara,Max Kruse

Serge Gnabry (RW) – Leaving Arsenal was the best thing to happen to the 23-year-old, as his career has gone from strength to strength since. 12 goals and nine assist this season is evidence of that and he will be confident of adding to that tally against the team he netted twice against earlier this campaign

Thiago Alcantara (CM) – The former Barcelona man has featured in every DFB-Pokal tie this season, and that run should continue against Werder Bremen.

Leon Goretzka (CM) – Since arriving from ?Schalke in the summer, Goretzka has made an immediate impact at Bayern – contributing towards 14 goals in 37 appearances. 

?Thomas Muller (CAM) – The vice-captain is an ever present in the cup this year, and is still an important part of Kovac’s plans.

Franck Ribery (LW) – With his contract expiring at the end of the season, the 35-year-old will want to end his 12 years at the club with his 21st trophy. 


Forward

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski (ST) – 186 goals in 236 games shows all you need to know about Lewandowski’s finishing prowess. He’s Bayern’s top scorer this season and has scored three goals in as many games in the cup.

Let’