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DFB Cup success

Composed Reds ease into semi-finals

Bayern are through to the semi-finals of the DFB Cup for the seventh season in a row after Wednesday night’s hard-earned but ultimately convincing quarter-final win away to determined second-tier opponents VfL Bochum, who were reduced to ten men for more than half the match following Jan Simunek’s 44th-minute red card. The record cup winners thus remain on course for an unprecedented 18th triumph in the domestic knockout competition.

The 28,000 full house at the Rewirpower Stadion saw Pep Guardiola’s team and the side lying fourth in Bundesliga 2 play out a typically rousing cup contest in the first half, Robert Lewandowski opening the scoring for the favourites six minutes before half-time, but Thomas Müller missing a penalty four minutes later after the incident which saw sub Simunek dismissed for a foul as last man. At a goal and man up, the second period was an altogether more relaxed affair for the men from Munich, with Thiago making it two on the hour and Lewandowski scoring in the last minute to wrap up the win.

The draw for the last four later on Wednesday evening handed FCB a home tie against Werder Bremen, with the semi-finals to be played on 19 and 20 April. The German champions are back in action on Sunday evening in the Bundesliga trip to Bavarian neighbours FC Augsburg.

Two new faces for FCB

Guardiola made two changes to the team that played out a goalless draw in Leverkusen on Saturday, with Müller and Thiago coming in for Arturo Vidal and Kingsley Coman. Joshua Kimmich and Holger Badstuber again formed the central defensive pairing in the absence of Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and Serdar Tasci, while Xabi Alonso remained eligible for the cup despite his league sending off at the weekend.

The cup’s most successful team began with Manual Neuer in goal, David Alaba, Badstuber, Kimmich and captain Philipp Lahm in the back four, Alonso in central midfield, and Thiago, Müller, Douglas Costa, Arjen Robben and Lewandowski in the forward line.

Lewy on target, Thomas denied

After referee Bastian Dankert whistled the match underway on a wet and chilly evening in the Ruhr Valley, the visitors settled at once and pieced together some fluid passing moves, but the second division side made the early running with Simon Terodde’s eighth-minute curler drifting narrowly wide and Badstuber forced into a desperate lunge to deny the same player two minutes later.

But Guardiola’s men soon had the match under control and began patiently picking away at the deep-lying home defence. Robben made several dangerous runs down the right only to be crowded out, Müller failed to get power on a header midway through the first half, and Robben’s shot from distance was straight down the throat of VfL keeper Manuel Riemann.

But the men in red were rewarded for their patience in the 39th minute when Müller’s clever lay-off released Lewandowski to fire across Riemann and in off the far post, the first goal conceded by Bochum in this season’s DFB Cup. The lead was deserved and ought to have been a comfortable two before the break, but Riemann diverted Müller’s spot kick onto the crossbar and away to safety after the incident which saw Simunek dismissed for his foul on the charging Robben.

Reds see it home

As expected, the Bundesliga leaders enjoyed far more space right from the start of the second half and the chances came thick and fast. The pressure was relentless but Robben contrived to miss from point-blank range, the marauding Kimmich headed wide, and Alaba’s drive from a quick free-kick sailed harmlessly into Riemann’s arms.

The second goal looked overdue and duly arrived on 61 minutes, Thiago meeting Müller’s centre eight yards out and sliding the ball home with the help of a deflection. Rafinha replaced Alonso after 64 minutes but the home side were visibly deflated now and Riemann performed wonders to keep out Müller, Lewandowski skied a clear shooting chance, and Costa missed a sitter at the back stick from Rafinha’s cross.

Juan Bernat replaced Lahm for the last 15 minutes, with Vidal on instead of Badstuber for the closing stages, in which the pace dropped but Robben still drew a sharp save from the excellent Riemann and Lewandowski netted with the last kick of the game from Müller's lay-off as the men from Munich wrapped up a hard-fought but merited victory.

Chris Hamley reporting from the Rewirpower Stadion for