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Cup fight in Bochum

Müller: We were never knocked out of our stride

When Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer & Co looked out of their hotel windows on Thursday morning, things seemed pretty much the same as the day before. It rained again in the Ruhr valley during the night, so the streets were wet and the sky foggy at first before the weather finally cleared. But this morning the Bavarians felt a palpable sense of relief: after a hard-working 3-0 victory away to VfL Bochum, FC Bayern are through to the DFB Cup semi-finals for the seventh season in a row.

“Hats off to the team,” a delighted Thomas Müller said after the “cup fight in Bochum,” in which the second-tier opponents put up stiff resistance against the record cup winners, especially before half-time. “We knew it wasn't going to be a walkover,” explained Müller, “Bochum did a good job.” That was especially true in the first half, when the hosts kept FCB away from their own goal and played attractive football on the break.

“We knew they always want to attack quickly, and that they're dangerous, especially Simon Terodde,” added Joshua Kimmich. The VfL striker tested the Munich defence twice (8, 10) before the German record champions steadily took control of the game. “We were never knocked out of our stride,” commented Müller.

Lewandowski shows the way

Shortly before the break and despite a slippery surface, the Bavarians’ passing masterclass paid off thanks to Müller and Robert Lewandowski, who once more put the Bavarians in the lead (38). “It wasn't easy until the first goal, Bochum played well,” the Poland striker explained. Arjen Robben too paid a “compliment” to the Ruhr valley outfit. “It was crucial to be in the lead,” declared Lahm, whereas Lewandowski thought right after his goal: “Score another one straightaway if possible!”

Bayern almost succeeded at that towards a turbulent end to the first half, when match official Bastian Dankert sent off Bochum defender Jan Simunek and awarded a penalty for the home sub’s foul on Arjen Robben (43). But VfL keeper Manuel Riemann saved Müller's spot kick. Munich thus failed to hand themselves a more comfortable cushion, but knew it would be “easier” against ten men, revealed Lewandowski.

Bremen? 'We need a top performance'

The German record champions focused on driving home their advantage after the break. “We were able to control the game and tried to make it two,” said Lewandowski. The second goal duly arrived when Thiago netted on the hour (61). “The goal was important for the team, but the main thing is that we're through to the next round,” the Spaniard summarised. Lewandowski rounded off the scoring shortly before the final whistle with his second goal (90).

FCB have to clear one more hurdle on their way to the final in Berlin: they will cross swords with Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena in the semi-finals (19 or 20 April). “You always hope for a home match of course,” Robben commented, but warned: “It's a tough step. Bremen won away to Leverkusen, and we'll need a top performance.” Skipper Lahm announced that the Reds are hungry for more: “We'll keep it up and work hard.”

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