Bayern Munich secured an incredible 6-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the semi final of the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday to move one step closer to securing the treble this season.
Thomas Müller scored a hat-trick for the visitors as they close in on a domestic double, while a brace from Robert Lewandowski, as well as Thiago Alcântara’s strike, helped round off the scoring against an impressive Leverkusen side.
The Reds have won nine league cups since the turn of the century and they will now have the chance to reach double figures in May, with either Eintracht Frankfurt or Schalke 04 also set for an appearance at the Olympiastadion next month.
Both sides came into this game with a lot of confidence after last weekend’s round of Bundesliga fixtures. Bayern thumped Borussia Mönchengladbach 5-1 on Saturday, while Leverkusen secured back to back 4-1 wins last week against RB Leipzig and Frankfurt.
Leverkusen started on the front foot and Karim Bellarabi – a surprise inclusion for the hosts – threatened the visitors’ goal in the first minute of the game.
But it was Bayern who took the early lead. After Thomas Müller saw his header saved by Bernd Leno from a free kick, defensive midfielder Javi Martínez stroked the ball into the far corner of the net, via the slightest of touches from Robert Lewandowski, from the edge of the box.
Jupp Heynckes’ side then doubled their advantage just six minutes later. Franck Ribéry effortlessly walked through the Leverkusen defence and the Frenchman dinked a ball to the back post where Lewandowski was left unmarked to side-foot the ball past Leno.
A frantic opening 15 minutes was rounded off by Leverkusen clawing their way back into the game. Much like with Bayern’s opener, a deep free kick was poorly dealt with by the defending team and Lars Bender directed a header past Sven Ulreich to give fans at the BayArena a much need lift.
The rest of the half was mostly spent with both sides jostling between attacks, with Leverkusen’s best chance of grabbing an equaliser coming from a long-range effort from Bellarabi. Bayern created a few openings of their own but Leno remained largely untroubled until the break.
Both Kevin Volland and Karim Bellarabi should have brought Leverkusen back on level terms shortly after the restart but Bayern’s goalkeeper Sven Ulreich sensationally kept the two forwards out.
And it was Ulreich’s heroics that allowed Bayern Munich to go up the other end and double their advantage over Leverkusen soon after.
An inch-perfect pass from Thiago Alcântara opened up space for Thomas Müller inside the area and the Raumdeuter made no mistake in firing the ball underneath Bernd Leno.
Leverkusen thought they’d found another lifeline just before the hour mark when Volland tucked the ball into the back of the net but the 25-year-old was correctly adjudged to have been standing in an offside position.
Bayern then responded instantly to put the game out of reach for Heiko Herrlich’s side when an incredible passing move around the hosts’ penalty area was neatly converted by Thiago – a deserved goal for the former Barcelona midfielder.
Jupp Heynckes’ side went on to compile further misery onto Leverkusen three minutes later when Müller unintentionally got the last touch on a goal-bound effort from Arjen Robben.
The goals continued to fly in and this time it was Leverkusen’s fans who had something to cheer. Half time substitute Leon Bailey stepped up to a long-range free kick and somehow squeezed the ball beyond Ulreich via the inside of the post.
But even the most optimistic of Leverkusen fans would have had their hopes dashed with just 10 minutes remaining, with Thiago and Müller combining once more to allow the Germany international to complete his hat-trick with ease.
As well as booking their place in the German cup final next month, Bayern Munich’s incredible win in the DFB-Pokal semi final on Tuesday will be a huge warning to their upcoming Champions League opponents, Real Madrid.