Bayern overcome multiple setbacks
After a memorable night at the Allianz Arena, everybody involved searched for an answer and the right words. Bayern coach Niko Kovac talked about a "wild game", Thomas Müller of a "mad match" and the Heidenheim coach Frank Schmidt "a crazy night." At the end of 90 hectic minutes, FC Bayern progressed through the highest-scoring DFB Cup quarter-final in 30 years with a 5-4 win against the second division side to make the last four for the tenth time in succession.
"I've never experienced a game like that with such a result," said Kovac clearly relieved that his team came out on top at the end in a match that had everything: excitement, goals, a sending off, shots against the woodwork, penalties, VAR decisions and the ability of both Bayern, playing with ten men for 77 minutes, as well as the underdogs from Heidenheim to get back into the game.
"A 5-4 win, with a red card and penalties etc -- that can only happen in the cup," said Müller just after the final whistle. "I've no idea how to assess that." Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic went a step further: "You can't analyse a game like that and you shouldn't try to. We've gone through and that's the positive and you can quickly forget and put aside everything else. We've got an important game on Saturday."
After a "great start" (Müller) with an early lead through Leon Goretzka on 12 minutes, it looked like the tie would proceed as expected. "After my opening goal I thought it would be a relaxed early evening. But then we tripped ourselves up," admitted Goretzka. What followed was a surprise to the protagonists on the pitch and the 75,000 crowd at the sold-out Allianz Arena.
„"A 5-4 win, with a red card and penalties etc – that can only happen in the cup,"”
After Niklas Süle was sent off on 13 minutes for a professional foul (Süle: "I think you could give a red card") Robert Glatzel (26') and Marc Schnatterer (39') exploited the ensuing lack of organisation in FCB's game and turned the match round before half-time. "We definitely didn't play well after the sending off," complained Müller. "We can't let that happen, we have to get back into the game quicker and be more dominant," said Goretzka.
Kovac opted to play three at the back in the second half and to strengthen the attack with the addition of the slightly off-colour Robert Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman. Müller (53') Lewandowski (56') and Serge Gnabry (65') made it 4-2 for the hosts within 13 minutes. "When you can come back so well in the second half with a man down and losing 2-1 then that not only shows desire but also quality. It was brilliant," said Müller about the game appearing to be wrapped up.
But Heidenheim hit back with a double whammy from Glatzel (74', 77' pen.) before Lewandowski settled the result of a "crazy game" with a penalty on 84 minutes that was the reward for the record champions' energetic and determined performance. "We can't be happy after a hard-fought 4-2 lead to let it get to 4-4 even though we were a man down," declared Müller. According to Goretzka, it was "not Bayern like to let the opposition level after we were 4-2 up. We need to be more assertive."
Saturday (18.30 CET) brings the Bundesliga top match against league leaders Borussia Dortmund. Before that it's a matter of analysing mistakes and putting them right. "Now we have to use the moral plus we've perhaps earned for the next few days," demanded Müller. And Goretzka added: "We'll talk about the things that didn't go right today and then show our true colours at the weekend. I'm sure we can produce a different performance."