FC Bayern on track for the final

It was football at the highest level -- an impressive performance by the two best German teams. The quarter-final summit in the DFB Cup provided an intensive, highly entertaining encounter, with FC Bayern Munich defeating their great rivals Borussia Dortmund 1-0 (1-0). In this “early final” the German record-winning champions won thanks to a fantastic goal from Arjen Robben (43rd minute), cheered on by 71,000 spectators at Allianz Arena. And on that red-and-white dominated evening the hopes of the black-and-yellow visitors were dashed. A successful defence of the national Cup, won with a 5-2 triumph over the Bavarians in May 2012, is no longer possible for Dortmund. And in the Bundesliga one of sport’s greatest miracles will have to occur if the reigning champions from the Ruhr Region, holding second position at present, were to overtake the leaders from Munich, who currently have a 17-point advantage.

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Bastian Schweinsteiger (right), here tackling Dortmund’s Neven Subotic, excelled in Bayern’s DFB Cup victory. (Photo: Firo/Augenklick)


In addition to 15-time DFB Cup champions Munich, southern rivals VfB Stuttgart (2-0 over second division VfL Bochum), VfL Wolfsburg (2-1 against third division Kickers Offenbach) and SC Freiburg (3-2 after extra time over 1. FSC Mainz 05) reached the semi-finals of the German Football Association, DFB, Cup competition, to be played on April 16 and 17. The draw for the two matches, with the winners meeting in the final on June 1, will be conducted by racing driver Timo Glock during the ARD Sport Show next Sunday (from 18hrs).

 “We have regained the supremacy in German football with this victory, that’s cleared up. We deservedly defeated Dortmund”, said a highly satisfied Bayern President Uli Hoeness after the win over the Westphalians, who denied them not just the championship title over the past two years. But Hoeness also praised the BVB for the competition which stimulated the Bayern team. “Dortmund have incited us to another level”. It was Munich’s second victory over Dortmund this season. As in the 2-1 in the Super Cup encounter last August, also a home match, the Bavarians ultimately deserved to win. A 1-1 draw in Munich then followed in the Bundesliga, but coach Juergen Klopp’s team had previously been victorious over Munich in all five competitive matches in the 2010-2011 and 2011-12 seasons. On the first weekend in May, the 32nd round, both competitors will meet again in Dortmund – most possibly in a then already marginal championship match. And there are also one or two possible meetings in the Champions League ...

Lahm: “We now want the title”"

“It was a very intensive match between two top teams. We may have been a touch greedier today”, said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. He had to make do without Franck Ribery who had been sent off against Augsburg in the round of 16. “Rib” was replaced by “Rob”, the Frenchman by the Dutchman Robben, who was highly motivated after his recent short appearances, and demonstrated his outstanding class when he hit the ball from 18 metres into the upper corner of the Dortmund goal. “It was an important goal, not just for me but for the whole team”, Robben said. “We wanted to show that we are currently on a roll. I think that’s what we accomplished”.

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Arjen Robben was the key player for FC Bayern, scoring the goal to bring the 1-0 win over Dortmund. Recently the Dutchman was often confined to watching from the bench. (Photo: Sampics/Augenklick)


Otherwise the outstanding BVB goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller saved every shot aimed at his goal. One handicap the BVB could not prevent was the withdrawal of German international defender Mats Hummels, who was taken ill on the morning of the match. The central defence with Felipe Santana and Neven Subotic did not play badly, but Hummels was missed, particularly because of his good build-up game. The Bavarians were lucky in the final stages, when Spaniard Javi Martinez brutally fouled BVB centre forward Roman Lewandoski, but was only shown a yellow card by referee Knut Kircher. Shortly afterwards satisfaction reigned among the currently best German team. “The victory doesn’t help us if we lose the semi-final. We now want to gain the title. Thank God, we beat Dortmund this time. It can go on like that for us”, said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm.

Stuttgart lack polish, Freiburg through after fighting

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The second match that evening was less brilliant, when 20,200 spectators watched Stuttgart beat Bochum 2-0 (1-0). The courageously fighting second division club pushed for the equaliser after being 1-0 down (Christian Gentner, 18th min.) until Vedad Ibisevic (81st) scored the decider for the three-time DFB Cup champions from Stuttgart. Four Bundesliga teams are now represented in the semi-finals, as other giant killers Kickers Offenbach failed to get through. The outsiders from the third division, who had previously eliminated higher ranked teams SpVgg Fuerth, Union Berlin and Fortuna Duesseldorf, lost 2-1 (0-0) after goals by Ivica Olic (49th) and Bas Dost (71st) at home at Bieberer Berg.

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Gotoku Sakai (left) of VfB Stuttgart tackled by Christoph Kramer of VfL Bochum. The Japanese and his Stuttgart side defeated the second division club 2-0. (Photo: Getty Images)

Marcel Stadel’s goal (81st) could not prevent VfL Wolfsburg’s fifth participation in the DFB Cup semi-finals.

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Daniel Caligiuri scores the winner in the 108th minute for SC Freiburg’s 3-2 victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 in the DFB Cup quarter-finals. (Photo: Kunz/Augenklick)


The most dramatic quarter-final was the one played in Mainz. Shawn Parker (2nd) and Niki Zimling (4th) gave hosting Mainz an early lead, but the final score after 120 minutes was 3-2 (2-2, 0-2) for SC Freiburg. Mainz’s Zdenek Pospech was sent off (65th) after fouling Daniel Caligiuri and a second yellow card. With an extra man, Freiburg pushed forward. Ivan Santini scored their first goal in the 86th minute. When half of the four-minute added time was already over, Mainz’s captain Radoslov Zabavnik fouled Santini in the box. Daniel Caligiuri, whose brother Marco had been sent on for opponents Mainz in the meantime, scored the equaliser for 2-2 from the penalty point. And Caligiuri also became the match winner for Freibug, and player of the evening, in the 108th minute when he netted the ball for 3-2. “No wonder”, said coach Christian Streich, maintaining that his players had fought passionately and played well after a weak beginning. Freiburg have reached the Cup semi-finals for the first time in the club’s history. It was a further triumph for the currently fifth-ranked team in the Bundesliga that appeared to be certain of relegation from the first division just a year ago.