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Telekom Cup 2014

Reds book final showdown with Wolves

Bayern are on course to defend the Telekom Cup after a penalty shoot-out victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in Saturday’s second semi-final at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg. Superb finishes by Robert Lewandowski and fit-again Franck Ribery either side of half-time put FCB in the driving seat, but two Max Kruse penalties tied it up before the end. Gladbach were poised for victory in the shootout but a crucial Tom Starke save kept the Bavarians in it, before Javi Martinez put away the vital spot-kick that ultimately sealed the win.

Pep Guardiola’s men now play VfL Wolfsburg in Sunday’s final after the first semi of the day ended with the Wolves beating home side Hamburg SV on penalties following a goalless 60 minutes.

Guardiola again favoured a three-man defensive line for the one-hour meeting with Gladbach and fielded Javi Martinez at full-back alongside Holger Badstuber and David Alaba. Rafinha and Juan Bernat lined up as the nominal holding midfielders, although the Brazilian was handed a relatively free role and the Spanish newcomer often swapped places with Alaba.

The strong attacking unit featured Franck Ribery for the first time in pre-season, with Sebastian Rode, young Gianluca Gaudino and Claudio Pizarro supporting central striker Lewandowski.

Honours even after 60 minutes

Once referee Peter Gagelmann whistled play underway, the sides felt each other out for a spell but FCB soon gained the upper hand and created the first chance on ten minutes when Rafinha crossed towards Lewandowski, only for the Poland star to direct his header too high. However, Lucien Favre’s Gladbach looked lively on the break and Starke in the Bayern goal did well to save from new signing Ibrahima Traoré after Raffael’s reverse pass on 15 minutes.

The next opening came at the other end when Ribery wormed his way into the box, but Borussia fought back and Kruse broke down the left before finding Raffael, although the striker’s shot was never likely to trouble Starke. FCB made the breakthrough a minute from half-time when Gladbach keeper Janis Blaswich could only parry Rode’s shot, with Lewandowski showing exceptional composure to control the rebound, hold off a clutch of defenders and then flip a delightful lob over the Borussia throng and into the net.

Bayern doubled the lead four minutes after the restart with another glorious solo goal when Ribery streaked down the left channel before scooping the ball delicately across Blaswich and in at the far corner. Gladbach refused to give up and cut the arrears on 42 minutes after Badstuber was harshly penalised for handball and Kruse stroked home the penalty, but Munich sub Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg stiffened the midfield and Guardiola’s side seemed to be comfortably closing out the victory. However, Martinez was adjudged to have fouled Andre Hahn in the last minute and Kruse stuck again from the spot to level it up.

In the shootout, each keeper saved one of the first five penalties with Starke brilliantly keeping out Oscar Wendt’s fifth effort for Gladbach, before Martinez netted and Julian Korb missed his side’s sixth to hand FCB a 5-4 victory.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley