FC Bayern downed Hoffenheim 1-0 in the Telekom Cup semi-finals, demonstrating a blistering early form. Robert Lewandowski fired the Bavarians into the final with a spectacular sideways scissor-kick six minutes into the contest.
Carlo Ancelotti fielded a strong line-up with Tom Starke between the sticks and Rafinha, Mats Hummels, Javi Martínez and Juan Bernat and in a back four. Corentin Tolisso, making his maiden appearance for Bayern, and Thiago featured in a twin holding role behind Thomas Müller. The native Bavarian wearing the armband was flanked by Kingsley Coman and Franck Ribéry, looking to serve lone striker Robert Lewandowski.
Lewy crowns barnstorming performance
Once referee Sascha Stegemann whistled play underway, Ancelotti's troops signalled their intent from the off, using the full width of the pitch, with wingers Ribéry and Coman particularly industrious. The Bavarians' relentless early pressure paid off after six minutes, when Tolisso spotted Ribéry and Bernat charging down the left. The Spaniard, who regularly popped up at the right place, recuscitating dying moves, found Lewandowski at the back stick. The striker unleashed a stunning sideways scissor-kick that crashed into the far corner of the net, opening the scoring in style.
The Reds refused to ease off, camping out in their opponents' half. The one-way traffic resulted in a couple of half-chances before Ribéry and Lewandowski shone with a one-two in Hoffenheim's box after 25 minutes. The Frenchman could have fired, but chose to tee up Müller, who found Thiago at the far post, the Spaniard's header crashing off the woodwork.
Netminder Starke barely touched the ball owing to the Bavarian dominance, whereas his Hoffenheim counterpart Gregor Kobel kept his side in the game, making impressive saves against Müller and Tolisso. Hoffenheim upped the ante in the dying embers of the match, but further goals refused to come before Stegemann blew for full-time.
The Reds cross swords with Werder Bremen, who downed hosts Borussia Mönchengladbach earlier on Saturday, at 17.45 CEST.
Greg Salmen reporting from the Borussia-Park for fcbayern.com.
FC Bayern line-up: Starke - Rafinha, Hummels, Martínez, Bernat - Thiago, Tolisso - Coman, Müller, Ribéry - Lewandowski
Goals: 1-0 Lewandowski (7)
Yellow cards: Tolisso, Bernat / Szalai