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Cup gala in Hamburg

A job for specialists

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This season’s number one cup specialist did not make an appearance last night. Thomas Müller, the leading goalscorer in the DFB Cup this term with six goals to date, was on the bench for the duration of the 5-0 thrashing of Hamburg SV. But he’s not the only cup specialist at Bayern.

Mario Mandzukic for example. Goalscoring is his speciality as he confirmed with his hat-trick at Hamburg. The Croatia striker has netted 18 goals in competitive matches this season (one more than Müller). No other player in the Bundesliga has found the back of the net more often.

Mandzukic is on top of his game ahead of some crucial matches. Pep Guardiola was unhappy with Mandzukic' performances on the training ground a few weeks ago and left him out of the side at the start of the second half of the season. “You have to show a reaction and that’s what Mandzu did,” said a happy Matthias Sammer. Mandzukic has started the last three games, scoring five goals and providing three assists along the way.

A goal to order

Arjen Robben is also a specialist in front of goal. He netted the goal of the game against Hamburg in combination with Toni Kroos, the specialist for top assists. Robben chested down Toni’s measured and accurate 30-yard pass before firing the ball into the net to put FCB 3-0 up. “Before the game, I said to Toni: if I make a run like that I only need the pass. And he said: get running and I’ll give you the ball,” explained Robben, “and it worked!”

That was Robben’s thirteenth DFB Cup goal in his sixteenth cup game. The Dutch wizard on the wing has set up another seven goals in the competition. He has been involved in twelve goals in the last seven cup ties (seven goals, five assists). “It’s good fun. We’ve got a great team,” said Robben after the match, expressing the enjoyment shared by the whole team.

Kroos and Götze deliver

Kroos also set up another goal from a corner (Dante to make the score 2-0), had the second most touches of the ball (135) after Dante (140) and a fantastic number of passes with a 96 percent completion rate. “I’m fascinated by players who want to play football and take the ball and try to do something with it,” said Guardiola a couple of weeks ago when assessing Kroos' qualities.

The FCB head coach described Mario Götze as a “special player” a while ago. The 21-year-old continued his impressive form since the winter break with a fine display in Hamburg to showcase his outstanding talents. He provided two assists after some outstanding dribbles and he set up seven shots on goal, the most of any player on the park. The 5-0 gala in Hamburg was a job for specialists.