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FCB aim to shift up through the gears

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When referee Thorsten Kinhöfer blew for full time at twenty past ten on Wednesday night at the Allianz Arena it signalled a 5–1 victory for Bayern against FC Kaiserslautern and sent the Reds through to the DFB Cup final for the third time in a row - and the 20th time in all. “It’s a good result,” stated chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. Club captain Philipp Lahm agreed: “The team showed we were determined to make it to Berlin.”

The second division visitors made life hard for the Bundesliga champions at the start. “It certainly wasn’t easy, especially to begin with,” confirmed Arjen Robben. The underdogs invested a prodigious amount of energy and showed great discipline to stifle Bayern’s attacking efforts at source. However, the cup holders refused to be knocked off their game, “and we had more bite than in our last few matches,” observed Robben. The first chance came after nine minutes but Thomas Müller’s effort looped onto the crossbar.

Pressure released

“We weren’t bad today,” reflected the striker. Once Bastian Schweinsteiger had opened the scoring with a 23rd-minute header FCB never really looked in trouble. However, thought Müller, “we were still a little hesitant in one or two situations.” As a result FCK continued to take the game to their illustrious opponents, before Toni Kroos made the lead much more comfortable with just over half an hour played.

“The goals obviously did us good. It took a lot of the pressure off and we played better football,” Kroos summarised afterwards, “you could see we were totally up for it and wanted to go to Berlin.” Müller made it safe with a 50th-minute penalty, before Mario Mandzukic (78) and Mario Götze (90+1) rounded off the scoring. Simon Zoller headed the courageous visitors’ consolation goal on the hour.

Up through the gears

“We’ve done what you would expect: we’ve beaten a second division club and made the final. That’s okay, no more and no less,” ventured Rummenigge. Board director for sport Matthias Sammer said he was “delighted we’re through to the final,” but was not entirely satisfied with what he saw: “We lost concentration on numerous occasions and we have to work on that.” Rummenigge voiced a similar opinion: “We’re capable of criticising our own performance and we know we have to shift up through the gears again.”

A good place to start would be Braunschweig on Saturday. “We always have to give it everything we’ve got,” urged Robben, “we need to keep on improving. You always need 100 percent commitment.” Dante called for the players “to keep our heads up and go for it.” Sammer feels the belief in the dressing room remains intact, “and we have total faith in this team. If we play like we were doing before we wrapped up the Bundesliga title, we’re capable of achieving everything.”