Thu, Apr 19, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Bayern make final with decisive win

OPTIMAL CONDITIONS:Fans enjoyed a flurry of goals in Bayern’s 6-2 win, with Leverkusen playing a ‘decent game’ despite a shaky defensive show against Robben and Ribery

AP, LEVERKUSEN, Germany

Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara, left, celebrates scoring their fourth goal against Bayer 04 Leverkusen in their DFB Pokal semi-final on Tuesday in Leverkusen, Germany.

Photo: Reuters

Thomas Mueller on Tuesday scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich booked their place in the DFB Pokal final with a 6-2 win at Bayer 04 Leverkusen.

Bayern, who eased to the league title with five rounds left, are to face Schalke 04 or Eintracht Frankfurt — who were to meet in the other semi-final yesterday — in the season-ending showpiece at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on May 19.

“The conditions are optimal,” Mueller said of the side’s remaining objectives, which includes facing Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes said before the game that Leverkusen could rival the Bavarian powerhouse for the Bundesliga title next season, but it seemed little more than platitudes as the visitors raced into a two-goal lead against his former side.

Javi Martinez scored after two minutes on a rebound after Bernd Leno blocked Thomas Mueller’s effort.

Six minutes later it was 2-0. Franck Ribery eluded two defenders and floated over a cross for Robert Lewandowski to shoot inside the far post against the retreating Leno’s direction.

However, Leverkusen did not buckle and Lars Bender pulled one back shortly afterward, heading in over the helpless Sven Ulreich after a scramble.

Karim Bellarabi drew a brilliant save from Ulreich before the break, but Leverkusen looked shaky in defense — especially on the wings, where Arjen Robben and Ribery were causing problems.

Kevin Volland and Bellarabi missed good chances after the break, before Mueller restored the visitors’ two-goal cushion.

Thiago Alcantara ended the home side’s hopes of a comeback on the hour mark, minutes before Mueller grabbed his second.

Leon Bailey gave the home fans a reason to cheer with a brilliant free-kick, but Mueller had the Bayern fans singing again with his third.

“We played a decent game, even if the end result is bitter for us,” Volland said.

Bayern are going for a repeat of the treble they secured in 2012-2013 in Heynckes’ previous stint in charge.

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