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Man of the Match

A 'Müller classic' paves the way to Berlin

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Thomas Müller knows these special semi-final nights – like the one in Bremen on Wednesday – better than anyone. That’s because no other player in the history of the competition has experienced them as often as he has. The 3-2 win over Werder Bremen was a match full of drama and emotion between two teams who gave everything to get to the final. Since spring 2010, Müller has experienced this “brilliant atmosphere” – as he later described it – every year and with his 10th appearance in the penultimate round of the competition, he’s now surpassed the record he previously shared with Philipp Lahm and Ulrich Borowka (nine each).

And yet again, the 29-year-old was instrumental in turning the tie in Bayern’s favour. First he teed up the opening goal, heading Jérôme Boateng’s deep cross onto the post from a tight angle for Robert Lewandowski to bundle in (36’). The native Bavarian then bagged the second goal himself when he trapped Leon Goretzka’s shot and drove the ball into the corner in his typical manner.

Seven goals in cup semi-finals

“My friends would say it was a classic Müller goal, and those who don’t like watching me as much might say so too. I liked it,” said the attacker, describing his seventh goal in DFB Cup semi-finals. Only Hannes Löhr (10) has netted more times in the last four in the competition’s history. “He scores the most difficult ones,” said Niko Kovac with a grin, after Müller had missed a number of earlier opportunities. “It goes to show you can’t really predict Thomas. He does things that aren’t normal,” added the 47-year-old.

One thing that can be relied upon, however, is that Müller’s cup goals bring success to Bayern. The Reds have won all 20 of the cup matches in which the 2014 World Cup winner has scored – another record that Müller holds. It wasn’t just his goal which drew praise from his boss later: “He ran everywhere tonight and he kept going until he was on his knees, which I expect from him.”

Müller was a constant menace for the Bremen defence, which is also why he was named ‘Man of the Match’ by the DFB – a selection backed up by the statistics. Together with Lewandowski, the Bayern forward had the most shots on goal and his four crosses were also the most among those in red. He even came within a whisker of bagging a brace when Niklas Moisander deflected his cross onto the bar in the 68th minute, with goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka helpless.

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