On-fire FC Bayern thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 6-2 on Tuesday night, advancing serenely to the DFB Cup final. Javi Martínez opened the scoring early in the contest, Robert Lewandowski soon doubling the lead before Leverkusen's Lars Bender pulled one back. Bayern's dominance paid off fully after half-time, Thomas Müller bagging a hat-trick, with Thiago and Leverkusen's Leon Bailey trading goals in between.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Martínez, Thiago and Müller took up station in midfield, with wingers Robben and Franck Ribéry looking to serve lone striker Lewandowski.
Heynckes made five changes to the XI that beat Gladbach on Saturday, Boateng, Martínez, Robben, Ribéry and Lewandowski taking over from Niklas Süle, Sebastian Rudy, Corentin Tolisso, Juan Bernat and Sandro Wagner. Rafinha came on for Alaba at half-time, James and Süle replacing Müller and Thiago in the closing stages.
The 30,210 capacity crowd at the BayArena saw the visitors signal their intent from the off, and barely two minutes had been played when Bayern's early pressure paid off. Netminder Bernd Leno made a strong save to deny Müller's header, but Martínez crashed home the rebound from the edge of the box. Ulreich soon denied a Kevin Volland header in a high-octane encounter that more than lived up to its billing.
The Bavarians doubled the lead when Ribéry charged down the left, wriggling his way past a number of defenders and shining with a brilliantly perceptive pass that found Lewandowski at the far stick, the striker slotting home. Leverkusen fought back and upped the pressure, Bayern easing off a little, and the hosts pulled one back when Lars Bender's fine header sailed past Ulreich after a free-kick that resulted in chaos in Bayern's box.
The pace dropped after the quarter-hour, with the hosts buoyed by Bender's goal but Bayern showing no intention to give away their lead. Ulreich proved equal to a Sven Bender effort after the half-hour, Müller testing Leno from distance at the other end. Ulreich stood out with a world-class save to deny a Karim Bellarabi effort and Martínez miscued a header, before match official Bastian Dankert blew for half-time.
Ruthless after half-time
Boateng with a last-ditch tackle and Ulreich with a fine save stood out after the interval before Bayern relieved the pressure by going on the attack, and they made it count when a fine Thiago pass found Müller, who excelled with a brilliant first touch, slotting past Leno. Thiago closed out the meeting on the hour mark, when a superb Ribéry pass found Robben in the box. The Dutchman slipped and fell, but the Spaniard was on hand to smash past Leno. Things got awkward for the hosts when Rafinha charged down the left, teeing up Robben, whose shot was deflected by Müller on its way into the back of the net.
Heiko Herrlich's troops pulled one back when a sublime Bailey free-kick left Ulreich without a chance, but Müller rounded off the scoring and completed his hat-trick with another world-class first touch, pirouetting around both the ball and a defender before beating Leno, before Dankert blew for full-time.
The Reds are back in action on Saturday, when they travel to face Hannover in the Bundesliga before entertaining Real Madrid in a mouth-watering Champions League semi-final first leg next Wednesday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
Bayer Leverkusen - FC Bayern 2-6 (H-T: 1-2)
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Leno - L. Bender, S. Bender, Tah, Retsos (Bailey 46) - Baumgartlinger (Alario 62), Aránguiz - Bellarabi (Henrichs 67), Havertz, Brandt - Volland
Özcan, Jedvaj, Kohr, Kießling
Ulreich - Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba (Rafinha 46) - Müller (James 80), Martínez, Thiago (Süle 85) - Robben, Lewandowski, Ribéry
Starke, Bernat, Rudy, Wagner
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
0-1 Martínez (3), 0-2 Lewandowski (9), 1-2 Lars Bender (16), 1-3 Müller (52), 1-4 Thiago (60), 1-5 Müller (64), 2-5 Bailey (72), 2-6 Müller (78)
Retsos, Aranguiz / Boateng