Wir Fahren Nach Berlin! Bayern Pick Apart Wolfsburg en Route to Cup Final

Alex Grimm

A six-minute hat-trick and solid play from halftime on sees the Bavarians advance to their second DFB-Pokal final in as many years

Not very many people predicted such a frantic and disorganized first half from Bayern, but Wolfsburg proved that they have the personnel to be fighting for much more than to comfortably stay in the Bundesliga for next season. And then promptly displayed why they aren't competing for much more than pride in April during the second half on their way to final elimination from all competitions.

The team with the third-best away record in Germany (and, unfortunately for them, the second-worst home match point total) played a fearless first half at the Allianz that left them open at the back but gave them decent opportunities going forward.

Despite their goal coming from Diego, the Northerners had plenty of chances, most notably off of a corner kick which saw Naldo's free header beat Neuer but miss the posts, gliding across the face of goal.

Bayern dictated the first twenty minutes of play, including a Mario Mandzukic goal in the seventeenth.

In-form Xherdan Shaqiri made a perfectly-weighted pass from a central position to a dashing Arjen Robben on the right flank, who played a ball across the box to the Croatian Mario, resulting in a thumping shot that was struck with such force it managed to bounce out of the goal after hitting the net.

Mandzukic appeared to have pulled a muscle in his leg during the play, and spent the time he would have been celebrating on the turf, surrounded by teammates and Kult-Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt.

He would eventually come back on with the referee's permission and continue uninhibited by the brief injury scare.

A few minutes later, Wolfsburg nearly capitalized on a Neuer mistake to tie the game, but the shot that would have drawn the match level was deflected by Dante.

In the 35th minute, Alexander Madlung's errant pass was intercepted by Shaqiri who once again found Arjen Robben in behind the defense for the two-nil. It was the best kind of goal for Robben, one that was above all criticism from his detractors.

Ten minutes later at the stroke of halftime, Diego scored what can only be described as a world-class goal. There wasn't that much space for him to work with, and there was nothing Neuer could do about it in goal. At the time, it looked like Wolfsburg could seriously threaten the Bayern lead in the second half, and they certainly had the momentum heading into the locker rooms for halftime.

Despite Andries Jonker's best efforts, Dieter Hecking's side did nothing of the sort in the second 45 minutes.

Just five minutes into the second half, the Reds blew the match wide open for good.

Shaqiri, who had been the architect of the first two goals, now got his reimbursement from Robben in the form of a goal for his own ledger. The Dutchman found an open Shaq at the top of the box, and with no Wolves pressuring him, sent a solid left-footed strike past Benaglio to double the lead for the home side.

The pace of the match slowed down as Bayern took the contest by the neck when thirteen minutes from time, Heynckes brought on Mario Gomez for Mandzukic in what looked like another typically late substitution that wouldn't result in much more than playing time for the allegedly discontent German striker. However, Gomez had something else in mind entirely.

Just three minutes after coming on, Gomez would find himself with a sitter of all sitters that was a result of stunning play from teammates Schweinsteiger and Shaqiri.

Bastian, as he often does to little credit, held the ball in the midfield for just enough time to release Shaqiri down the left side. Shaq had nobody in front of him by the time he received the ball, and got into a position from which he could have likely scored himself, but elected to play it across the box once he had drawn Benaglio out of his goal. Gomez was on the other end of the pass, and scored a goal that I feel confident in saying any of you could have knocked in to make the score (4-1).

Three minutes after that, Gomez cut out the middle man (Shaqiri) and received a sublime pass directly from the source (Schweinsteiger) in a combination that any economist would be proud of. Once behind the defense, he had no problem slotting it past the keeper once again for his second on the day.

The man with "33" on his back worked in three's yet again, as three minutes after his second goal, he netted his third in much the same fashion to complete a six-minute hat-trick.

Got that? Number 33 comes on for Mandzukic, whose number (9) is equal to three added thrice, and scores three goals, all three minutes apart from each other with the first coming three minutes after entering the match in the first place. All while putting the team that much closer to their ultimate goal: Three trophies.

Bayern have a league match on the weekend against Hannover 96 before their much-anticipated UCL match up with Barcelona.

Pack Ma's.

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