FC Bayern have advanced to the DFB Cup quarter-finals after Tuesday's 1-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg. Douglas Costa's 20-yarder early into the contest proved to be the match-winner in a cup tie that was utterly dominated by the men from Munich, but for all their superiority Lewy & Co failed to give the scoreline a more realistic look.
The record cup winners started with Manuel Neuer in goal and a back four comprising Philipp Lahm, Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and David Alaba. Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal directed operations in front of the rearguard, with Bayern's attacking unit featuring Arjen Robben, Thiago, Costa and Robert Lewandowski up front.
Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to the XI from Saturday's draw against Schalke. Full-backs Alaba and Lahm took over from Rafinha and Juan Bernat, with Thiago, who made his first competitive appearance this year after recovering from injury, replacing Thomas Müller. Joshua Kimmich came on for Xabi Alonso with 20 minutes to go before wingers Robben and Costa gave way to Kingsley Coman and Renato Sanches.
The 73,500 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the German record champions roar off the blocks. Bayern's early pressure paid off when Douglas Costa, who had an insatiable hunger for the ball, appeared on the right, cut inside and unleashed a low drive that found the net with the help of a slight deflection off former FCB man Luiz Gustavo after the quarter-hour. The opener was typical of Bayern's play in the first half: Ancelotti's troops shone with positional flexibility, with Lahm and Robben setting up beautiful combinations up front, winger Costa racing down the middle and centre-back Mats Hummels occasionally popping up in the visitors' box, seemingly deputising for striker Lewandowski.
The Wolves had not gone absent without leave, with recent arrival Paul-Georges Nteb particularly industrious and repeatedly taking on alternating FCB defenders. But the visitors were ultimately toothless, and when match official Jochen Drees blew for half-time Bayern boasted eight shots on goal without reply.
Chances galore, scarce goals
After the interval the Reds picked up where they left off. Thiago headed over the bar before visiting netminder Casteels denied a Costa effort and Lewandowski failed to make the most of a mix-up in the Wolfsburg box. The Wolved picked up pace in the closing stages in a last desperate push for the equaliser, but Neuer preserved the lead with two fine saves from Yunus Malli and Daniel Didavi.
The result means Bayern have booked a berth in the quarter-finals for the tenth time on the bounce and will learn the identity of their next cup opponents on Wednesday night, with the last eight ties to be played on 28 February and 1 March. The Bavarians return to action on Saturday, when they travel to face Ingolstadt in the Bundesliga before crossing swords with Arsenal in the Champions League last sixteen a week on Wednesday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Gregor Salmen
FC Bayern - VfL Wolfsburg 1-0 (H-T: 1-0)
Neuer - Lahm, Martínez, Hummels, Alaba - Xabi Alonso (Kimmich 73), Vidal - Robben (Coman 89), Thiago, Costa (Sanches 87) - Lewandowski
Ulreich, Rafinha, Bernat, Müller
Casteels - Knoche, Luiz Gustavo, Rodriguez - Bazoer (Didavi 76) - Vieirinha, Seguin, Arnold, Gerhardt - Mayoral (Malli 46), Ntep (Gomez 61)
Benaglio, Bruma, Blaszcykowski, Guilavogui
Dr Jochen Drees (Münster-Sarmsheim)
|Goals||1-0 Costa (17)|
Gustavo (57) / Robben (72)