FC Bayern have advanced to the DFB Cup semi-finals for the eighth season on the bounce after Wednesday's convincing 3-0 victory over Schalke. Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the early stages, with Thiago doubling the lead after the quarter-hour and Lewy rounding off a brace in a first half utterly dominated by the German record champions.
The record cup winners started with Manuel Neuer between the sticks and a back four comprising Rafinha, Javi Martínez, Mats Hummels and David Alaba. Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal featured in a twin holding role, with midfield maestro Thiago, wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry and lone striker Lewandowski in the attacking unit.
Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to the XI that thrashed Hamburg 8-0 on Saturday, maintaining a 4-2-3-1 formation. Rafinha and Alonso replaced Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller, with Ribéry taking over from Douglas Costa on the left wing. At half-time Hummels gave way to birthday boy Juan Bernat as a precautionary measure after sustaining a slight thigh problem, whereas Coman and Kimmich came on for Ribéry and Vidal midway through the second half.
Bayern settle it in whirlwind first half
The 75,000 capacity crowd saw the German record champions roar off the blocks, and the home side made their dominance count shortly after the opening whistle. Just 139 seconds had been played when Ribéry set up Lewandowski who ghosted past Schalke's rearguard to open the scoring with a fine lob over visiting netminder Ralf Fährmann, crowning an attack that was remarkably similar to the Pole's opener against Schalke in the Bundesliga meeting a few weeks ago.
Ancelotti's troops continued to hamper Schalke's play by high-octane pressing, and after the quarter-hour they sliced through the visitors' lines, Lewandowski setting up Thiago, who headed home from point-blank range.
The Royal Blues seemed to get a grip on the contest now, Goretzka aiming too far to the left. But Bayern soon closed out the meeting, Ribéry racing clear on the left and cutting inside to set up a lurking Lewandowski, who slotted home from the edge of the box as the home side reasserted their dominance.
Relentless Reds refuse to ease off
Many expected the pace to drop after half-time in light of the current phase of midweek matches for both sides, Bayern content to contain their opponents and Schalke noe focused on their next league appointment. While the latter was true, the German record champions proved relentless, Bernat testing Fährmann and Vidal aiming too high before the Chilean saw another effort blocked.
However, a fourth refused to come as the focus shifted to pleasing the home crowd rather than fighting to advance to the next round in a do-or-die clash. With no further goals to come the home faithful applauded again when a man wearing Schalke colours was sent off. What is usually inappropriate was actually a sporting gesture on Wednesday night as the fans expressed their respect for Holger Badstuber, who has joined Schalke on loan from Bayern, but earned his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
The result means Bayern have booked a berth in the semi-finals for the eighth time on the bounce, setting a new record in the domestic knock-out competition. They will learn the identity of their next cup opponents shortly after the final whistle, former FCB sporting director Matthias Sammer drawing the lots, with the semi-finals to be played on 25 and 26 April.
The Bavarians return to action on Saturday, when they travel to face Köln in the Bundesliga before taking on Arsenal in the Champions League last sixteen return next Tuesday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - FC Schalke 04 3-0 (H-T: 3-0)
Neuer - Rafinha, Martínez, Hummels (Bernat 46), Alaba - Alonso, Vidal (Kimmich 76) - Robben, Thiago, Ribéry (Coman 67) - Lewandowski
Ulreich - Costa, Lahm, Müller
|FC Schalke 04||
Fährmann - Höwedes, Badstuber, Nastasic - Stambouli - Schöpf, Goretzka, Bentaleb, Kolasinac (Kehrer 60) - Meyer (Caligiuri 46), Burgstaller (Choupo-Moting 79)
Nübel - Huntelaar, Aogo, Geis
Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
|Goals||1-0 Lewandowski (3), 2-0 Thiago (16), 3-0 Lewandowski (29)|
Ribéry / Badstuber
|Yellow-red card||- / Badstuber|