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Berlin, Berlin!

‘The final really is something special’

Berlin, Berlin, wir fahren nach Berlin!” – “We’re going to Berlin!” Some 74 minutes had been played in Tuesday’s hard-fought DFB Cup semi-final at home to Werder Bremen before the Bayern fans took up the legendary chant. Thomas Müller had just put his side 2-0 up from the penalty spot and made a trip to the capital in May a near-certainty. FC Bayern duly progressed to the domestic knockout cup final for the fourth time in the last five years and the 21st time in their history.

Relief was the main emotion among the players at the final whistle. “That was hard work. Bremen made it very difficult for us,” reflected Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “They were a tough nut to crack,” agreed captain Philipp Lahm. As for Müller, he was “just overjoyed. The final really is something special. We’re delighted we get to experience this fantastic event once again. It’s terrific for our fans and the staff at the club. But we’ve definitely played better than we did today.”

Especially after the interval, FCB were forced onto the back foot by a brave and energetic Bremen team. “Werder were certainly determined, but we made too many errors, meaning we let Bremen back into the game over and over again,” Müller observed. Lahm voiced a similar opinion: “If we’d been better at letting the ball do the work and in our movement, our opponents couldn’t have got near enough to tackle. That obviously has to improve. We’re capable of playing better and we will play better.”

Match-winner Müller

In the light of 70 percent of the possession and 13 shots to Bremen’s eight Bayern were certainly worthy winners, although the decisive second goal resulted from a refereeing error, as the FCB players and officials freely acknowledged after watching replays. “It wasn’t a penalty,” Pep Guardiola confirmed. “The ref doesn’t have to give that. There’s nothing to debate,” said Rummenigge. “It was close to a foul, but it wasn’t a foul,” Müller said, reflecting on the slide tackle made by Bremen’s Janek Sternberg on Arturo Vidal.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the decision, Müller accepted the invitation and made the score 2-0. The same player had handed his side a 30th-minute lead with a header from a corner. “He’s knows exactly what to do in the box. He has an incredible nose for goal,” remarked Lahm. The match-winner was pleased afterwards: “We’ve done what matters most to me which is to go through.”

Rummenigge also went home in a satisfied frame of mind: “The result matters more than the quality in matches like that. The south terrace summed it up well: Berlin, Berlin, we’re going to Berlin! That’s what counts.”