Like a boxer hitting a punching bag.
Bayern Munich sail into the DFB Pokal semifinals with a 5-0 victory over Hamburger SV. The Rekordmeister looked at their best, further puncturing the hull in Hamburg's sinking ship.
After a staunch Hamburg defense through the first 20 minutes, FC Bayern broke the deadlock when Mario Götze dribbled past Zhi Gin Lam on the left and served up an unmarked Mario Mandžukić. Dante doubled the advantage five minutes later off of a Toni Kroos corner kick, beating Hamburg youngster Jonathan Tah to bop a header past René Adler in goal.
Arjen Robben provided additional insurance, receiving a rainbow shining off the foot of Kroos before securing his pot of gold into the back of the net. Mandžukić hammered home two more to complete his hat trick, with Götze and David Alaba taking turns on the assist, to put the game completely out of reach. Hamburger SV had no response, providing only four shots during the entire 90 minutes.
Here are some thoughts on the match, the fourth consecutive victory over the Rothosen:
- It does not matter who a club plays. If the opponent sit behind the ball barely venture into the attacking half of the field, then there is no doubt the side will have difficulty getting anything forward. Once FC Bayern broke down the draw bridge, it took and ransacked the entire Hamburg castle.
- After a whole diatribe on how FC Bayern attacks more from the right when Franck Ribéry is not in the side, Götze attacked magnificently from the left flank. His link-up play with Alaba and Mandžukić was an impactful and entertaining exhibition, even if you take the first goal out of the picture. The second half saw Götze swap roles with Thiago Alcântara, an interesting tactical change that proved inconclusive for Thiago played more as an attacking midfielder than a winger. Xherdan Shaqiri eventually got his crack, coming on in the 65th minute for the Spaniard.
- No wonder Hamburger SV has not scored once since the Rückrunde started. The attack has no unity, with players having no idea what to do with the ball once it crosses the halfway line. There is a reason geese fly in a gaggle, fish swim in a school, and wolves travel in a pack; everything is done better as a group effort.
- As impressive as a hat-trick is, Mandžukić did not do anything different than what he has done for FC Bayern over the past year and a half. His spatial awareness in the box was once again top-class, and he finished home his chances better than anyone else on the pitch. Considering Hamburger SV is so clueless on defense, his exploit comes with an asterisk, but it will still count when everyone looks at the box score.
FC Bayern now will face either 1. FC Kaiserslautern, Borussia Dortmund, or VfL Wolfsburg in the semifinal, scheduled for the middle of April. The match replay is available on WatchESPN.
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