Germany’s 2019/20 football season came to a spectacular end on Saturday night as Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.
Early goals from David Alaba and Serge Gnabry and a pair of awesome strikes from Robert Lewandowski chalked up Bayern Munich’s second consecutive domestic double as Die Roten easily contained what little threat Bayer Leverkusen provided.
Munich started on the front foot, eagerly seeking their 20th Pokal title. They worked the ball very well around the pitch and looked to utilise the pace of Kingsley Coman and Gnabry on either flank. Early exchanges saw Bayern try their luck on several occasions to no avail as Leverkusen’s experienced defence absorbed the pressure well, with
The breakthrough came after just a quarter-of-an-hour when Bayern’s Austrian centre-back, Alaba, curved home a beautiful free-kick from the edge of the box. Opting for the finesse of a well-placed strike over power, the 28-year-old left Lukas Hradecky hapless as he squeezed the ball just inside the right-hand upright.
Der FCB doubled their lead less than 10 minutes later when Joshua Kimmich blocked a flustered clearance and set 24-year-old Gnabry through with a clear sight on goal. The German rifled a neat strike into the bottom corner at the far post and delivered a knock-out blow to Leverkusen’s hopes of an upset.
Following an embarrassing open-goal miss from Kevin Volland on an explosive counterattack, it was Die Werkself ‘keeper Hradecky’s turn to blush as he made a mountain out of a mole hill in an attempt to bring Lewandowski’s 30-yard effort under control, just to parry it between his own legs and into the back of the net.
Leverkusen answered back with a goal of their own, when the unlikely source of 31-year-old Sven Bender met Kerem Demirbay’s corner with a towering header to rekindle a glint of hope for the acting home side. It was only his third goal of the season in all competitions.
Lewandowski sealed the win in the dying minutes of the game with a cheeky chip to convert sprightly substitute Phillipe Coutinho’s inch-perfect pass, leaving Hradecky stranded haplessly, six yards out of his goal.
In a moment of controversy, the last kick of the game was awarded as a penalty as Alaba was adjudged to have handled the ball during a goalmouth scramble. Youngster Kai Havertz stepped up to take the spot-kick and buried it with aplomb high into the top-left corner.
Takeaways from the match
Kai Havertz is too young to be relied upon
Kai Havertz, who was described by club managing director Rudi Voller as the “best player in Bayer Leverkusen’s history” in the week leading up to the tie, put in an uncharacteristically poor performance. When on the ball, he created very little. When off the ball, he was very static and failed to open up any opportunities for himself or his teammates.
As with many young players, when things were not going his way he seemed to sulk and subsequently played very little part in the potential comeback that lingered for most of the match.
Bayern Munich could well win the treble
Now with both major domestic honours to their name, Bayern’s attention turns to the Champions League. They showed tonight that they have the capability to go all the way, as Hans Flick’s side were a cut above Leverkusen on every inch of the pitch, and the pace with which they attacked was simply devastating.
Chelsea have an awful lot to worry about, particularly with a 3-0 deficit going into the second leg of their quarterfinal tie.
Man of the match
Gnabry displayed his awesome talent on Saturday night with a sublime performance that saw him rewarded with a great goal. He tore the defence to shreds with his brilliant pace and tricky feet, and created an awful lot of space and opportunities for Bayern.