Berlin! Berlin!

Posted by Susie Schaaf

Fielding a generally full strength line up, Bayern Munich annihilated Wolfsburg, 6-1, to progress to the DFB Pokal final. Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben scored in the opening 45 minutes, but Diego would bring the Wolves to life with a thumping goal to end the first half - the first cup goal Bayern has conceded this season. Xherdan Shaqiri and (fantastic) super-sub Mario Gomez added four more in the second, sealing another emphatic performance. Bayern now awaits the result of the Stuttgart - Freiburg match on Wednesday for their opponents in Berlin June 1st.

How do you not give Mario Gomez- who scored a hattrick in six minutes - man-of-the-match honours? Because Franck Ribery's replacement for the day, Xherdan Shaqiri, scored one and set up four.

Jupp Heynckes changed his Startelf drastically, once again, following his "B-squad's" dismantling of Nurnberg on the weekend. Diego Contento, Shaqiri and Daniel van Buyten would be the only holdovers.

Manuel Neuer was back between the posts, with a back four of captain Philipp Lahm, van Buyten, Dante and Contento. Javi Martinez partnered Bastian Schweinsteiger as a holding midfielder, while the attack was comprised of Robben, Thomas Mueller, Shaqiri and Mario Mandzukic.

A tights-less Robben meant spring had sprung in Munich, but a dewy pitch left 22 players adjusting. It took a few minutes before Schweinsteiger opened the scoring chances for Munich, the vice-captain slotting just wide of Diego Benaglio's goal from a Lahm cross.

Three minutes later Makoto Hasebe made Neuer save low, before Bayern got their engine rolling. My little honeybadger, Shaqiri, released Robben down the right; the Dutchman serving up a tap-in for Mandzukic. Mario would hurt himself on the play - receiving treatment on the sidelines - but was ultimately able to continue.

The inevitable "Berlin! Berlin!" chants started, but Dieter Hecking's Wolves would not be cowed. Wolfsburg's Hasebe was blocked by Dante, while Neuer scooped a Ricardo Rodriguez shot before Bayern doubled their total on the night. Shaqiri grabbed a misplaced Alex Madlung pass, slotting perfectly for an on-rushing Robben; his 10th goal in 12 Pokal matches in a Bayern kit.

Wolfsburg would not yet surrender, having another nice run of play which culminated in their lone goal of the match - a thumping drive from Diego that caught Neuer ball-watching just before the half.

A torrid second-half opening for the Wolves ensued, with Bayern saving free kicks, but five minutes in to the second period, Shaqiri would get on the scoreboard himself after a Robben short corner found him able to strike low after a rebound past Benaglio.

Vieirinha and Diego took a nose at goal before Heynckes subbed on Luis Gustavo for Thomas Mueller, and Rafinha for Robben, to kill action. However, his third sub would prove to be the difference maker as Mario Gomez came in with 13 minutes left to play.

Six touches, three goals, six minutes.

The first Gomez goal was a lovely give-and-go with Shaqiri. The second came from a Schweinsteiger service after the defence triangled themselves out of danger. And his third would be a carbon-copy of the second; striking low against Benaglio.

Bayern Munich - fifteen-time winners of the DFB-Pokal - are through to their 19th final. And the dreams and hopes for a treble are still alive. Watching this match, I realised how stunning this team actually is.

Wow.

It's been a pleasure to be able to express my thoughts, hopes and dreams this season. This feels so much different than last year. 2012 was "panic mode" all the time. And this version? Business-like, happy, confident. I will never be a supporter of another club, but it does feel damn good to support Bayern Munich this year.

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