Lewandowski in action against Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in Munich. AP
Bayern Munich remain on course for the double after the Bundesliga leaders squeezed past Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final behind closed doors, with both teams supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Bayern’s early goal by Ivan Perisic was cancelled out by a second-half equaliser from Frankfurt’s Danny da Costa, who had only been on for three minutes at the Allianz Arena.
However, Robert Lewandowski settled the matter with the winner 16 minutes from time to claim his 45th goal this season in all competitions.
Robert Lewandowski in action. AP
Bayern will face Bayer Leverkusen, who beat fourth-tier side Saarbruecken 3-0 on Tuesday, in the final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on July 4.
“We didn’t always make the right decisions in the area, we should have been three or four up at half-time, which would’ve made our lives much easier,” admitted Bayern’s Thomes Mueller, whose chip set up Perisic’s opening goal.
“You could feel the tiredness from both teams in the second-half when it got close, the will was there and we defended well, especially against the long balls.”
Mueller has been setting up goals ever since, winning his starting spot back and racking up 20 assists this season.
Hansi Flick-coached Bayern, who have a seven-point lead with four games left in the league, can wrap up an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title this weekend if they beat Borussia Moenchengladbach and second-placed Borussia Dortmund lose at strugglers Fortuna Duesseldorf.
However, Bayern will be without both Lewandowski and Mueller, who are both suspended.
“We need to rest up well and then go again on Saturday, the programme is punishing for all teams, so there is no whinging, but the tiredness is greater than the joy of reaching the final,” added Mueller.
Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores the 2-1 winning goal during the German Cup (DFB Pokal) semi-final football. AFP
Eintracht wore playing shirts supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, while Bayern warmed up in T-shirts bearing the same anti-racism message.
It was the latest show of solidarity in German football following the death of George Floyd in the US in late May.
Bayern routed Frankfurt 5-2 also at the Allianz Arena, when the sides met in the league just over a fortnight ago, and once again the hosts wasted no time asserting their authority.
Frankfurt midfielder Dominik Kohr cleared Mueller’s header off the line with only six minutes gone.
Eintracht had another let off two minutes later when Lewandowski, the league’s top-scorer with 30 goals, was inches from converting a Mueller cross.
However, Bayern took the lead when Mueller chipped the defence and Perisic powered his header past Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp on 14 minutes. The Germany goalkeeper had to pull of a point-blank save to deny Lewandowski moments later.
The team has won 24 of their 27 games under Flick, the best record ever by a new Bayern coach.
He was rewarded initially with a contract to the end of the season before signing a permanent two-year deal in April.
Bayern have been on a 12-game winning run in all competitions and are unbeaten in their last 21 matches, equalling a record set by Spanish coach Pep Guardiola during his spell in Munich.
It stayed 1-0 at the break, but Bayern found themselves under pressure in the second-half.
Frankfurt’s shock 5-1 drubbing of Bayern last November led to the sacking of Niko Kovac, Flick’s predecessor as head coach, and the visitors started to win more ball in midfield.
With 66 minutes gone, Frankfurt coach Adi Huetter boosted their attack with double substitutions bringing on Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada and Da Costa.
The move paid off almost immediately.
Kamada managed to beat three defenders in the area before his speculative pass across goal found de Costa, who smashed his shot past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on 69 minutes.
It was no more than Frankfurt deserved, but Bayern responded by moving up a gear.
Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies beat the defence in the area and squared to Lewandowski who was waiting to fire home his 45th goal in 39 matches this season.
Goals from Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski and Jamal Musiala sent Bayern an unassailable 12 points clear of second-placed Dortmund with three games of the season remaining.
Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick on Saturday as Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich romped to a 4-0 home win over Stuttgart despite having Alphonso Davies sent off in the 12th minute.
Making his first appearance at the Conference, Lewandowski, of course, will be one of the star attractions following a sensational season which saw the 32-year-old sharp-shooter score a staggering 55 goals in just 47 appearances for Bayern Munich.
Rodrigo Lasmar, the doctor for the Brazilian football federation (CBF), said the 30-year-old had suffered "ligament damage" and would miss the match against Switzerland on Monday.
The 10th edition of the tournament, its largest to date, saw a record participation of more than 1,500 female athletes who competed in 10 sports between Nov.7 and 21, 2022.
The main area includes many big screens and comfortable seating to host hundreds of supporters who will be watching and cheering for their favorite teams, in addition to spacious indoor and outdoor areas surrounded by gaming areas...