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Cup Semi-Final

Full speed ahead for Berlin

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Thomas Müller described it as a “highlight”, Mats Hummels spoke of a “tough task” while chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said it’s “worthy of a final”! Wednesday evening’s DFB Cup semi-final between FC Bayern and Borussia Dortmund at the sold-out Allianz Arena (kick-off 20:45 CEST, live ticker and Webradio commentary) is a treat for all football fans. This is the sixth successive season in which the two sides have met in the competition.

“Bayern against BVB has become ‘der Klassiker’ and it’s a match that always catches the eye in any competition,” said Rummenigge looking forward to the clash with the Westphalians, who have reached the final of the DFB Cup in the last three years and are looking to do so again for the ninth time in total. For a FCB it would be their 22nd appearance in the final, which this season takes place on 27th May at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.

Robben predicts “fierce game“

“We know what a great experience the final in Berlin is, so we need to do everything we can to get there,” demanded Arjen Robben, who has scored more competitive goals against BVB than against any other side. His last goal in the competition was also against Dortmund. “It’ll be a fierce game,” he predicted, adding: “We need to give our all because there can only be one winner.”

While Robben has already appeared in the final five times, Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti could reach his first DFB Cup final on Wednesday. After being knocked out of the Champions League last week, the 57 year-old is aiming for a cup success to go alongside the league title which is almost secured. “The cup is very important, we want to get to Berlin and we need to win,” said the Italian, but he warned: “Dortmund are a very dangerous team.”

Alaba doubtful

This latest battle between the two sides comes just 17 days after FCB won 4-1in the Bundesliga. But Hummels made it clear that the last game shouldn’t be seen as an indicator for the semi-final: “We can’t let ourselves be blinded by that result and think it’ll be that one-sided again. It’ll be a really tough battle on Wednesday.”

On the personnel front, Ancelotti almost has a full squad to pick from. Other than Manuel Neuer, everyone took part in the final training session. While centre-backs Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Javi Martínez are all fit, there remains a question mark over David Alaba’s fitness. “We don’t want to take any risks. If he’s not 100% then he won’t play,” stated Ancelotti, who will make a decision on the day of the game.

Reus fit again

Injury problems have also eased for BVB since the two sides last met. Coach Thomas Tuchel is without Mario Götze, Andre Schürrle, Marc Bartra and Nuri Sahin but he has a key player back in the form of Marco Reus. “The chances are 50:50. We won there two years ago in a semi-final,” said Reus, recalling the unusual penalty shootout on April 28th 2015.

A win for Dortmund would make them the first team ever to reach the final four years in a row. The road to Berlin will be hard, though. “Munich is the biggest hurdle there is,” commented Tuchel. Everything is set up for a great evening of football at the Allianz Arena. “If you can’t get yourself 100% fired up for a game like this, then you don’t love the game,” underlined Müller.