Leverkusen, having just beaten Leipzig and Frankfurt 4-1 respectively, entered this match high on confidence. Bayern on the other hand were well-rested, with most of the team following the league win over Gladbach from the bench. This was promising to be a thrilling one.
1. Real headache?
The issues in defensive transition have already been obvious throughout the entire Bayern season, but here they have once again been underlined. Any turnover turned into a boomerang when the aggressive and incomplete counter-pressing did not work out. In some cases, Leverkusen’s counter-attacking force even managed to outnumber the Bavarian defense.
There were two main reasons as to why this weakness did not end up fatally: the relentless Jerome Boateng and the solid game with the ball. For all the problems in defense, it should also be emphasised that Bayern were positioned cleanly in possession and did not shy away from any dribbling. The weaknesses of the Werkself defense were attacked and exploited.
Nevertheless, if you look a week ahead, you still have some worries. Bayern have already experienced what Real Madrid can do on the counter. Against a revitalized Cristiano Ronaldo, allowing such spaces should lead to elimination. The European final cannot be reached with such a defensive performance.
2. Always Ulle
There have been more than enough articles about Sven Ulreich in the past weeks and months. But in this game, the Neuer backup was again a key to success. The clear result easily disguises the fact that this game was completely open for 50 minutes.
At the score of 2:1, Ulreich showed two outstanding saves against Bellarabi. Before the break he grabbed a powerful flat shot, shortly after the restart he reacted brilliantly from a short distance.
After the game, hardly anyone will talk about the goalkeeper whose team just won with a four-goal difference. But if Ulreich hadn’t been in top form, which he has been for months, the course of the game would have been completely different.
What else did you expect? Jupp Heynckes will end his coaching career with a final.
It generally comes as no surprise that Bayern reach the final of the DFB Cup. That they make it this season, which shows such a low level nationally, is almost a given. But one should not forget one thing: This time, the road to Berlin was probably one of the toughest in Munich’s long cup history. Leipzig, Dortmund and Leverkusen were three of the four biggest competitors in German football – the fourth (Schalke) could wait depending on the result in the other semi on Wednesday.
Heynckes could win a trophy in the last game. Or will the DFB Cup just be a rehearsal?
|Bayer Leverkusen – FC Bayern 2:6 (1:2)|
|Bayer Leverkusen||Leno – L. Bender, Tah , S. Bender , Retsos (46. Bailey) – Baumgartlinger (62. Alario), Aranguiz – Bellarabi (67. Henrichs), Havertz, Brandt – Volland|
|Bank||Özcan, Jedvaj, Kohr, Kießling|
|FC Bayern||Ulreich – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba (46. Rafinha) – Martínez – Thiago (85. Süle), Müller (80. James) – Ribéry, Robben – Lewandowski|
|Bank||Starke, Bernat, Wagner, Rudy|
|Goals||0:1 Lewandowski (3.), 0:2 Lewandowski (9.), 1:2 L. Bender (16.), 1:3 Müller (52.), 1:4 Thiago (60.), 1:5 Müller (64.), 2:5 Bailey (72.), 2:6 Müller (78.)|
|Yellow cards||Retsos, Aranguiz / Boateng|
|Referee||Daniel Siebert (Berlin)|
|Attendance||30.210 (sold out)|