The road to Berlin

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Bayern’s 2018/19 DFB Cup campaign has not been one for those of a nervous disposition: in their five games from the first round to the semi-final, the record cup winners have only scored one more goal than they’ve conceded. The only other times that a side has made it through to the final so narrowly were FC Schalke 04 in the 2010/11 season and SV Werder Bremen in the 1998/99 campaign. Both ended up lifting the trophy, and that’s exactly what Bayern’s aim will be on Saturday. reviews the Reds’ route to the final, as well as looking at how Leipzig got this far.

Bayern’s road to Berlin

1st round: 1-0 vs SV Drochtersen/Assel (A)
Bayern needed a bit of time before they were firing on all cylinders in this season’s DFB Cup. The record winners dominated their first-round tie at regional league side SV Drochtersen/Assel from the first minute, but it took until the 81st before Robert Lewandowski scored the only goal of the game in front of a crowd of 7,800 at the sold-out Kehdinger Stadion.

2nd round: 2-1 vs SV Rödinghausen (A)
Niko Kovac’s men faced regional league opposition again in round two as they travelled to Osnabrück to take on SV Rödinghausen. The Reds soon asserted their superiority with a Sandro Wagner goal and a Thomas Müller penalty putting them 2-0 up after just 13 minutes. However, the visitors squandered numerous chances to extend their lead and were even given a scare when Rödinghausen pulled a goal back in the 49th minute, but it ended 2-1.

Round of 16: 3-2 a.e.t. vs Hertha BSC (A)
FCB got a taste of the final atmosphere with a trip to Hertha BSC in the last 16. After Maximilian Mittelstädt put the hosts ahead in the third minute at the sold-out Olympiastadion, a brace from Serge Gnabry (7’/49’) turned the game around. Davie Selke’s 67th-minute equaliser then took the tie to extra time, during which Kingsley Coman scored the winning goal to take Bayern through.

Quarter-final: 5-4 vs 1. FC Heidenheim (H)
On paper, a home tie against 1. FC Heidenheim looked like a kind draw for Bayern, yet the second-tier side gave the record cup winners a real fight in what turned out to be a memorable match. Four minutes after Leon Goretzka had opened the scoring (12’), Niklas Süle was shown his marching orders for a professional foul. The Swabians made the most of their numerical advantage and took a 2-1 lead into the break after goals from Robert Glatzel and Marc Schnatterer. Bayern responded with goals from Müller (53’), Lewandowski (56’) and Gnabry (65’) but a quick-fire brace from Glatzel levelled the score again. However, Lewandowski had the final say with his 84th-minute penalty which sent Bayern through to the semi-finals for the tenth year in a row.

Semi-final: 3-2 vs Werder Bremen (A)
Another dramatic contest followed just three weeks later when the Reds met Werder Bremen in front of 42,100 fans at a sold-out Weser-Stadion. In what was largely an even affair, Lewandowski (36’) and Müller (63’) gave Bayern a comfortable lead which was cancelled out in a matter of seconds by goals from Yuya Osako (74’) and Milot Rashica (75’). Yet again, though, Lewandowski won it from the spot late on after Coman was brought down by Theodor Gebre Selassie in the penalty area. Bayern won 3-2 and became the first visiting team to progress in the cup at Bremen in 31 years.

RB Leipzig’s road to Berlin

Leipzig have seen off three Bundesliga rivals to reach the first cup final in the club’s history, although their journey started with a 3-1 victory at regional league side Viktoria Köln. The Red Bulls then beat TSG Hoffenheim 2-0 at home to advance to the last 16, where they hosted VfL Wolfsburg and made it through to their first quarter-final courtesy of a narrow 1-0 win. They then put another Bundesliga side to the sword, beating FC Augsburg 2-1 after extra time in a hard-fought clash, before booking their ticket to Berlin with a 3-1 victory at Bundesliga 2 outfit Hamburger SV in the semi-finals.

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