‘You have to hand it to this team’
FC Bayern reached the semi-finals of the DFB Cup for the sixth time in a row with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday evening. "You have to hand it to this team," declared Matthias Sammer following a courageous and energetic display. Despite the pleasure of winning, Manuel Neuer paid tribute to the home team: "Neither side deserved to lose this match."
Reaction to Bayer v Bayern
Matthias Sammer: "You have to hand it to this team. We're pulling even closer together due to the injury situation. It was important not to fall behind in the first 30 minutes. The Bundesliga is the most important trophy. You try to usher everything else along with it."
Pep Guardiola: "It was a very good game. Leverkusen are one of the quickest teams in the world but we did well stifling their counter-attacks. Our build-up play was good and we made chances. Both teams were good in the shootout but at the end of the day we've won."
Manuel Neuer: "Neither side deserved to lose this match. The penalties were well-taken. The armband applies a bit of pressure so I asked the ref if I could take it off. You do everything you can to feel good."
Thomas Müller: "Penalties are always a mix of training, technique, the right decisions and more than anything else luck. It was a nerve-shredding match. I counted a couple more chances for us, but Leverkusen certainly could have scored too. We threw ourselves into it and so did Leverkusen."
Jérôme Boateng: "Having Manuel in goal is a huge advantage. It makes the takers uneasy. He stays on his feet for a long time because his range is so big. It helped us today, and our takers were good too."
Dante: "We know we have the best keeper in the world. We're delighted to be through, but now we have to recover ready to face Frankfurt."
Rudi Völler (Bayer Leverkusen sporting director): "It was incredibly evenly-matched. Bayern had more of the game at times but we had a couple of chances on the break. If Bayern are missing three really good players, you have a chance and you have to take it, but we've not done so."
Roger Schmidt (Bayer Leverkusen coach): "It's no shame to be knocked out this way but it obviously hurts. We're proud of how we played against this great team. It was a fantastic game, but there's never any justice in penalties."
Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen keeper): "We pushed Bayern close to a defeat. We maintained our momentum of recent weeks. It's a shame we couldn't score in normal or extra time. We deserved better."