Bayern Munich beat Wolfsburg 1-0 at the Allianz Arena courtesy of a first-half goal from Douglas Costa to book their ticket for the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal.
The Brazil international found the net early in the first half with a low shot from 20 yards out that took a deflection off Luiz Gustavo on its way past Koen Casteels.
All eyes were on Costa ahead of Tuesday’s game following his recent comments that he could be on the move come the end of the season in order to get more playing time elsewhere, even if Carlo Ancelotti was quick to downplay suggestions the winger could leave.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk star was unperturbed by all the commotion, though, as he put in a fine performance against a weakened Wolfsburg.
Head coach Valerien Ismael opted to rest players such as Diego Benaglio, Jeffrey Bruma and Mario Gomez with an eye on his side’s upcoming Bundesliga game against Hoffenheim and the absence of their stars showed on the pitch.
Wolfsburg struggled to create any chances of note as they seemed happy to sit back and defend, even after Costa’s early opener, and Bayern thus cruised to a comfortable, yet narrow, victory.
Bayern dominated play right from the start and deservedly went a goal up in the 17th minute when Costa found the net in somewhat fortunate fashion.
The Brazilian winger opted to try his luck from the edge of the box after being played in by Thiago Alcantara and his low shot took a deflection off former Bayern midfielder Luiz Gustavo to leave goalkeeper Casteels without a chance.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) February 7, 2017
The home side had an opportunity to double their lead 10 minutes before the break when Xabi Alonso found Mats Hummels in a dangerous position with a clever free kick, but the unmarked centre-back failed to get his header on target from eight yards out.
Bayern remained firmly in charge after the interval and Thiago was next to threaten when he headed just over the crossbar after some good work from Costa down the left.
The titleholders kept on pushing for a second goal and Casteels did well to deny Costa when the winger unleashed a powerful shot from a narrow angle, before David Alaba sent a long-range strike just wide.
Wolfsburg brought on Gomez in an attempt to get back into the game, but it was fellow substitute Yunus Malli who had his side’s biggest chance in the closing stages of the game, firing straight at goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after a quick break.
The visitors finally started pushing forward in the final five minutes, but Neuer proved to be too much of an obstacle as he kept his first clean sheet of 2017 to help his side progress.
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