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Bayern 5 Kaiserslautern 1

FCB set up cup final showdown with BVB

Holders Bayern took another step towards retaining their historic treble on Wednesday night with an ultimately routine DFB Cup semi-final victory over courageous second-division outfit Kaiserslautern, setting up a mid-May showdown in Berlin with chief domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund.

It took until midway through the first half before Bastian Schweinsteiger had the bulk of the 71,000 full house at the Allianz Arena on their feet with the opening goal, but Pep Guardiola’s men pushed on from there and Toni Kroos made the lead comfortable before the break. Thomas Müller increased the advantage from the spot five minutes after the restart, and although Simon Zoller pulled one back on the hour, Mario Mandzukic restored the three-goal margin and sub Mario Götze made it an emphatic victory before the end.

The result sees FCB safely through to the final most observers wanted, a mouth-watering clash with BVB in Berlin on Saturday 17 May, where the Reds aim to seal their 17th domestic knockout title. The Bavarians are next in action on Saturday away to bottom club Braunschweig in the Bundesliga, before the clash of the Champions League Titans against Real in Madrid the following Wednesday.

Raeder for Neuer, three other changes

Guardiola brought in four new faces compared to the previous match, the 3-0 home defeat to Dortmund last Saturday. The one enforced change saw Lukas Raeder replace the injured Manuel Neuer, just as he did at half-time in the BVB clash. Elsewhere, Jerome Boateng, Kroos and Müller took over from Javi Martinez, Götze and Rafinha.

The champions began with Raeder in goal, captain Philipp Lahm, Boateng, Dante and David Alaba in defence, Schweinsteiger and Kroos in central midfield, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery out wide, and Müller in the hole behind centre-forward Mandzukic.

FCK coach Kosta Runjaic was more then realistic about his side’s chances beforehand – ““We’re aware of our inferiority,” said the Vienna-born supremo – but the team that knocked out top-flight Hertha BSC and then Leverkusen away from home in the last eight approached the tenth cup meeting between the clubs determined to give a good account of themselves.

Comfortable half-time lead

After referee Thorsten Kinhöfer whistled the match underway on a fine but chilly evening in Munich, the visitors pressed the Bundesliga champions vigorously and high up the field, with the result that chances were thin on the ground to start with. Müller blazed a shot high and wide of FCK keeper Tobias Sippel’s goal after five minutes, but the first real chance came four minutes later when the visitors’ Florian Dick looped a header onto the top of his own crossbar under pressure from Mandzukic.

The Reds slowly but surely seized the initiative as the first half wore on and took the lead after 23 minutes with a goal that was simplicity in itself: Robben floated a corner to the edge of the six-yard boss where Schweinsteiger thrust past his marker and headed home.

Mandzukic was hustled off the ball as he shaped to shoot following great play from Kroos and Müller, but the second goal was only delayed until the 32nd minute when Kroos threaded a right-footed shot just inside Sippel’s left-hand upright from a Robben lay-off. FCB sat back now and Lautern enjoyed a good spell through to the interval, but Raeder did not have a shot to save in earnest as the sides turned round with the holders well on course for Berlin.

Safely in the bag

The second half started with the lower league side on the attack, but Müller killed off the revival with Bayern’s third from the penalty spot on 50 minutes after the irrepressible Robben was tripped in the box by centre-back Dominique Heintz.

FCB threatened to run riot for a spell but Ribery fired over the bar with the goal gaping following a fine interchange between Robben and Müller. The underdogs commendably stood their ground and were rewarded on the hour when Zoller stole in front of Boateng and flicked a header past Raeder from Dick’s pinpoint cross.

Guardiola sent on Götze for Robben now and the new man soon caused panic in the Lautern area with Müller looking hard done by not to be awarded a penalty of his own. Martinez and Rafinha replaced Schweinsteiger and Alaba for the last 15 minutes, before Munich struck again in the 78th minute when Mandzukic bustled his way down the inside-right channel and arrowed a drive across Sippel and in off the far stick.

The Croat inexplicably missed the target with a close-range header as FCK heads finally went down towards the end, with Götze applying the icing to the cake with a stoppage-time tap-in for the fifth from Ribery’s cunning backheel.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley