Created on 28-04-2015 at 22:20 PM
Bayern missed out on a fourth DFB Cup final on the spin with an agonising penalty shootout defeat at home to arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund in Tuesday night’s semi-final. The result, FCB’s first defeat in 18 ties in the domestic knockout competition, was a travesty based on events during the match, but the Reds were ultimately punished for missing a string of perfectly good chances and were also denied a clear penalty in the second half of normal time.
The 75,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw a cagey start between the cup holders and the side lying eighth in the Bundesliga, but Pep Guardiola’s team steadily upped the pressure and took a 29th-minute lead through ex-BVB striker Robert Lewandowski. The Pole hit the bar ten minutes after the restart as the home team looked to wrap it up, but out of the blue and against the run of play, the visitors equalised on 75 minutes through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The game was abruptly turned on its head and Manuel Neuer made two great saves to see his side through to extra-time, with BVB reduced to ten men 13 minutes from the end when sub Kevin Kampl saw a second yellow card. Munich had much the better of the half-chances in the 30 additional minutes but there were no further goals and the outcome was decided in the shootout, where the Bavarians failed to convert all four of their spot-kicks and exited the competition.
The champions’ next match is the league trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday evening, after which all eyes turn to the Champions League semi-final first leg away to Barcelona eight days from now.
Mehdi returns, Arjen on the bench
The injury situation has eased a little at FCB over the last few days with Mehdi Benatia reporting fit for the cup clash and Arjen Robben taking a seat alongside the likes of Sebastian Rode on the bench. Guardiola opted to keep the faith with Mitch Weiser after the young winger’s stirring display against Hertha on Saturday, with full-backs Rafinha and Juan Bernat returning from injury. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Götze joined Robben and Co in the dugout at the start.
The cup holders began with Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng and Benatia in defence, Xabi Alonso in the holding role, Thiago and captain Philipp Lahm in midfield, Bernat and Weiser in wide positions, and Thomas Müller and Lewandowski as the front men.
For his last match in Munich as BVB coach, Jürgen Klopp gambled on Marco Reus’s fitness and preferred the pacy striker to Armenian schemer Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with Germany international Ilkay Gündogan returning to midfield. In goal, Australian shot-stopper Mitch Langerak deputised for injured number one keeper Roman Weidenfeller.
Robert’s deserved opener
After referee Peter Gagelmann whistled play underway on a fine spring evening in the Bavarian capital, the big crowd was treated to a cautious opening with neither side prepared to take risks early on and a few passes going astray on the wet surface.
But Guardiola’s men upped the ante on the quarter-hour, Müller heading wide from an Alonso corner, Lahm forcing Langerak into a diving block, the lively Weiser having a fair shout for a penalty waved away, and Benatia steering a header wide from a very good position.
FCB had the momentum and then the lead on 29 minutes when Benatia intercepted Shinji Kagawa’s loose pass and aimed a long ball at Lewandowski, whose scooped first effort beat Langerak but rebounded off the post. The Pole kept his cool, returning the rebound behind the stranded Aussie keeper and over the line from the tightest of angles.
Lahm and his men had proceedings well under control now and Lewandowski was not far off with an audacious lob from near the touchline, before Weiser put the last opportunity of the first half into the crowd.
Reds pegged back
Langerak denied Müller from Weiser’s reverse pass as the first chance of the second period fell to Munich, and although Reus whipped a shot wide of Neuer’s goal, the goalmouth action was all at the other end with Lewandowski crashing a shot off the bar from Bernat’s brilliant pass on 55 minutes and FCB being denied a clear penalty when Marcel Schmelzer blatantly handled Müller’s follow-up, only for Mr Gagelmann to wave play on.
Langerak saved sharply after Müller deftly set up Thiago, but the game entered a scrappy phase with a string of niggly fouls. Guardiola responded in the 68th minute by bringing on Robben for Thiago, as the Spaniard was limping slightly after taking a knock. Aubameyang did direct a header straight at Neuer, but the Gabon international then forced the ball over the line from sub Mkhitaryan’s cross to level it up with Borussia’s first clear-cut chance 15 minutes from time.
Schweinsteiger took over from Müller but suddenly the game was turned on its head, with Neuer twice reacting brilliantly to deny Mkhitaryan and Reus in quick succession. There was another blow when Robben limped off only a quarter-hour after coming on, his place going to Mario Götze, but Neuer again had to save from Reus. Weiser’s cross-cum-shot tested Langerak, but there were no further goals and the game went into extra-time.
Extra-time and penalties
Despite obvious exhaustion FCB picked themselves up and fashioned the best two chances in the first ten additional minutes, but Benatia and Schweinsteiger both sent headers wide. There were no takers for Lewandowski’s dangerous cross, but there was another dramatic development on 108 minutes when BVB sub Kampl was dismissed for a second yellow card.
Langerak reacted superbly to block Schweinsteiger’s point-blank header from Boateng’s terrific centre, and the keeper just beat Lewandowski to the next ball into the box, leaving the striker dazed from the impact. FCB’s nerves deserted them in the shootout as all four takers missed, so that goals from Gündogan and veteran enforcer Sebastian Kehl were enough to send Guardiola’s men tumbling out.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley