Treble-chasing Bayern into Cup final

DIE WOLFE AT BAY::Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich made the German Cup final with a 6-1 rout of Wolfsburg as they prepare for their Champions League semi-final

AFP, BERLIN

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - Page 20

High-flying Bayern Munich kept alive their dreams of becoming Germany’s first team to win the treble by booking their German Cup final berth with a 6-1 win at home to VfL Wolfsburg in Tuesday’s semi-final.

Having already won this season’s Bundesliga crown, Bayern are bidding to become the first German side to win the European Cup, cup and league titles as they face Barcelona at home in the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Bayern will discover their opponents for the cup final, which takes place on June 1 at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, when Stuttgart host Freiburg in yesterday’s other all-Bundesliga semi-final.

Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, in for suspended French winger Franck Ribery, impressed as he set up three of Bayern’s goals for Mario Mandzukic, Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez, then scored one of his own.

“We definitely wanted to reach the final. It was hard to concentrate when all the talk has only been about Barcelona, but we had the game under control,” Shaqiri said.

However, Gomez was the star of the night as he warmed up for Barcelona by coming off the bench to score three goals in six minutes to double Bayern’s tally in the last 10 minutes.

“You could see that we have three top strikers, I’m really pleased for Mario that he managed a hat-trick,” said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who would have been pleased to see his other strikers, Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro, also in goal-scoring form.

Bayern started without leftback David Alaba, who was suffering from a stomach infection, while Ribery was suspended, having been sent off in the last-16 win over Augsburg in December last year.

Having started with just under 70 percent possession, Bayern needed just over a quarter of an hour to take the lead as Shaqiri’s pass gave Robben acres of space down the right wing to square for Mandzukic to fire home.

The Croatian striker, who is suspended for the Barcelona game on Tuesday, pulled up clutching his thigh immediately after scoring, but played on until the last 15 minutes.

Shaqiri helped double Bayern’s lead on 35 minutes when he picked up a loose ball and threaded his pass through the Wolfsburg defense to find Robben in space, who knocked his shot past goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

Die Wolfe pulled a goal back just before the break, when Brazil midfielder Diego slammed home a superb goal after his marker, Diego Contento, failed to close him down. However, Shaqiri restored Bayern’s two-goal cushion when he slotted home from 20m with the Wolfsburg defense beaten.

After Mandzukic made way for Gomez, Shaqiri rounded off an impressive display by sprinting down the left wing and then supplying the final pass for Gomez to tap home on 80 minutes.

Gomez grabbed his second and Bayern’s fifth when Bastian Schweinsteiger put in a well-timed pass for the Germany striker, and another slick pass from Schweinsteiger allowed Gomez to complete his six-minute hat-trick and compound Wolfsburg’s misery.