Created on 13-02-2014 at 14:10 PM
Bayern are rolling from one win to the next in the second half of the current campaign. After four victories in the Bundesliga, last season’s treble winners followed up with an impressive and unstoppable 5-0 demolition of Hamburg SV in the DFB Cup to progress to the semi-finals. Looking to keep their hands on the Cup, Pep Guardiola’s team face FC Kaiserslautern on 15 or 16 April. The second division side secured their place in the last four with a surprise win at second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.
“I’m happy with my team’s performance, we produced a great display,” declared Guardiola after the final whistle in front of the capacity 57,000 crowd at the Imtech Arena. “It’s my first time in the DFB Cup. A lot of people have told me how good it is in Berlin and now we’re just one game away. It’s very special for me,” said Guardiola, who won the Spanish Copa del Rey four times as a player and manager, as he looked forward to a possible final in Germany’s capital.
Too good for Hamburg
The 43-year-old did not have to spend too much time reviewing the 90 minutes in Hamburg as his team were too hot to handle for an unsettled HSV who did not create one single clear-cut chance throughout the game. Hamburg ended up losing by a record margin in a cup home tie. It was a different story for the Reds who have now gone seven games on the road without conceding and are in the last four of the DFB Cup for the fifth year in succession.
“HSV were very compact and aggressive in the first 20 minutes. We made it difficult for ourselves,” admitted Dante who followed the opening goal from Mario Mandzukic on 21 minutes with his first ever strike in the DFB Cup. “We had a couple of problems early on but it was easier for us after we went 2-0 up,” said Guardiola. Goals after the break from Arjen Robben (54) and Mandzukic (74, 76) ensured Bayern deservedly won by such a big margin.
The vice-captain is back
“Hamburg played very, very deep without a real striker up front. The two offensive midfielders were covered by our holding midfielders so it wasn’t easy as there wasn’t a lot of space. It was relatively straightforward at the back,” added skipper Philipp Lahm. And sporting director Matthias Sammer was keen to praise the players: “Of course, you need a bit of time early on. Then we got into our stride and played well for the rest of the game. The team worked brilliantly together to get the result.”
Sammer was almost more pleased with the return of Bastian Schweinsteiger after a three-month injury lay-off: ”Bastian is back and Javi Martínez also played again. That’s good for us. Let’s hope it carries on like that.” Lahm agreed: “The whole team is happy Basti is back after such a long time.” Manuel Neuer was just as heartened by the return of the vice-captain, who came off the bench on 65 minutes: “It’s great he’s back on the pitch,” the keeper said.
Clear targets this season
“It’s really good to be back in the side and to get such a great reception,” declared the returnee. “There are some crucial games coming up where it may well turn on minor things. Obviously, we’re very confident at the moment. We know what we can do and what level of performance we’re capable of producing. But now we’ve got to show it on the pitch.” Arjen Robben shares that view: “We want to raise our game and keep on improving. We’ve got clear targets this season and we need to carry on working hard.”