Tuesday 16 January 2018

Bayern stay right on track for treble

German champions Bayern Munich clinched the German Cup with a crushing 4-0 win over holders Werder Bremen yesterday to stay on track for a treble.

Bayern, who face Inter Milan in the Champions League final on May 22, took the lead through Arjen Robben's first-half penalty before striker Ivica Olic doubled their lead in the 51st minute.

Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger added two more to put the seal on a memorable domestic season for Bayern.

Bayern, riding a wave of euphoria after their Bundesliga title and their qualification for their first Champions League final in nine years, outplayed Werder for their 15th cup victory.

Bremen squandered their biggest chance in the eighth minute when Bayern keeper Hans-Joerg Butt first denied Claudio Pizarro, then Torsten Frings' rebound before Aaron Hunt's third attempt was deflected wide.

Robben should have scored on the half-hour mark when he combined beautifully with Thomas Mueller but his fine curled shot sailed just over the bar.

But the Dutch winger, who is enjoying a superb first season at Bayern, got what he wanted in the 35th minute when he thundered in a penalty, awarded for a handball by defender Per Mertesacker.

With their fans chanting 'The Tulips from Amsterdam', a nod to Robben and Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, the rampant Bavarians stepped on the gas.

Olic put the game beyond sluggish Werder when unlucky Germany international Mertesacker cleared only to see his header deflected directly into the path of the Croat, who had no trouble tapping home from close range.

Ribery, in what could be his last match for Bayern as he is suspended for the Champions League final, got on the score sheet when he sprinted to pick up a well-timed Van Bommel pass and thread it past Wiese in the 62nd minute.

Frustration boiled over 15 minutes later when captain Frings was sent off with a second booking for a foul on Schweinsteiger.

The Bayern midfielder then completed the rout eight minutes from time, chesting down a cross to fire home powerfully.

Sunday Independent

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