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Bayern 2 Eintracht Braunschweig 0

Holders safely through to last eight

DFB Cup holders Bayern comfortably negotiated the next hurdle on the road to a 21st appearance in the final with a 2-0 win over second division Eintracht Braunschweig in Wednesday evening’s Round of 16 clash. Seventeen-time winners FCB are now undefeated in 15 games in the knockout competition and will be the side the others want to avoid in the draw for this season’s last eight.

The 75,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw Pep Guardiola’s men plug away at the visitors’ massed defence from the start but make little headway until David Alaba stunningly broke the deadlock with a sumptuous direct free-kick in first-half stoppage time. Mario Götze doubled the advantage and sent FCB into the comfort zone just short of the hour, with the home team content to see it through to the finish after that.

The Reds return to Bundesliga action away to Hannover on Saturday afternoon, before the do-or-die Champions League return against Shakhtar Donetsk a week from today.

Starts for Dante and Xabi

Guardiola made two changes to the team that beat Köln 4-1 last Friday, with Dante in for Holger Badstuber and Xabi Alonso replacing Thomas Müller. However, the coach decided against the wholesale rotation many observers were predicting as the likes of Sebastian Rode, Mitch Weiser and Claudio Pizarro started on the bench.

It meant the home team lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Dante and Alaba in defence, Schweinsteiger and Alonso in central midfield, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery on the flanks, and Götze tucked in behind centre-forward Robert Lewandowski.

Deadly David

After referee Dr Jochen Drees whistled play underway, the Bundesliga leaders comfortably dominated possession but found themselves embroiled in a game of patience as Torsten Lieberknecht’s well-drilled visitors parked the proverbial bus.

Eintracht keeper Rafal Gikiewicz enjoyed a moment of early good fortune when Ribery’s angled cut-back slithered from his grasp and through his legs but away to safety on the far side of goal. Robben’s first-time strike from a seventh-minute free-kick skidded narrowly wide, but another ten minutes had been played before Rafinha twice came close, first with a header and then from long range.

Ribery tested Gikiewicz, but the second division team also ventured forward on occasion and Seung-Woo Ryu, on loan for the season from Leverkusen, hit Neuer’s side-netting from the tightest of angles. Lewandowski cracked a shot over the bar and Benjamin Kessel looped a header wide at the other end, but it was Alaba who finally broke the deadlock when he brilliantly converted a direct free-kick from 25 yards out with the last kick of the half.

Mario’s solo

The Reds settled for an easy pace in the first ten minutes of the second half, although the intensity was always there and the home side looked capable of shifting up through the gears at any time. Götze showed how it could be done on 57 minutes with a superb solo effort, leaving three defenders trailing in his wake before beating Gikiewicz and doubling the lead with a low drive from ten yards out.

Juan Bernat took over from Ribery now, before Gikiewicz saved from Alaba, Robben aimed just a yard or so too high, and Schweinsteiger failed to get any power on a header from a corner. Rode and Müller replaced Schweinsteiger and Robben, with Bernat’s shot fizzing across the face of goal and Müller putting three efforts just wide as Guardiola’s troops cruised to the final whistle.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley