Bayern Munich are into the DFB-Pokal semi-finals for an 11th successive season thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win at Bundesliga rivals Schalke on Tuesday.
David Wagner’s Schalke certainly had their moments at the Veltins Arena, especially in the first half, but Bayern were more clinical and their superior quality told in the end to continue the defence of their crown.
Despite having far more of the ball, Bayern were fortunate to survive a few first-half scares as Guido Burgstaller proved particularly dangerous when hitting the crossbar and having a goal chalked off, but the visitors went into the break ahead thanks to Joshua Kimmich’s strike.
The home side were significantly less effective going forward in the second half and Bayern should have increased the advantage, but the one-goal lead was enough to secure progression.
Schalke had the better of the thrilling early exchanges, as Alessandro Schopf curled just wide before Burgstaller struck the bar and then also had a goal disallowed for straying marginally offside.
Bayern dominated possession, having 83 per cent of it in the first half, but their first genuine chance actually came via a Schalke defender – Jean-Clair Todibo back-tracking to meet Kimmich’s cross and his headed clearance forced Markus Schubert into a wonderful acrobatic stop.
Schubert was helpless from the resulting corner, however, the set-piece cleared as far as Kimmich on the edge of the box and his effort found the bottom-left corner through a crowd of players.
Philippe Coutinho almost extended Bayern’s lead just past the hour, his long-range curling effort coming back off the bar a few minutes before Benito Raman shot tamely at Manuel Neuer when one-on-one following a bursting run from Rabbi Matondo.
Former Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka went close to a remarkable goal 18 minutes from time – his overhead-kick from about 16 yards clipping the bar, but Bayern were not made to rue that misfortune.
— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 3, 2020
What does it mean? Bayern unconvincing at the back
Although Bayern managed to hold on to a clean sheet, they were caused genuine problems in the first half against a Schalke team struggling for form – indeed, they had won only once in the regulation 90 minutes since the turn of the year.
Schalke arguably did enough to lead at the break, with Bayern’s backline lacking concentration at times. A better team might not have been as wasteful.
All-action Kimmich is everywhere
It is nothing new to anyone accustomed to watching him, but there seems to be nothing Kimmich cannot do. He attempted – and completed – more passes than anyone else, had the most touches, created the joint-most chances (two) and got the winning goal.
Muller offers little
Thomas Muller got the nod ahead of youngster Joshua Zirkzee in the absence of Robert Lewandowski, but the experienced forward was quiet, having just a single shot – which he should have done better with – in the entire game. A hapless short-corner attempt summed up his day, as he failed to even get the pass in play.
Bayern host Augsburg as they return to Bundesliga action on Sunday, while Schalke will be hoping to end their miserable form at home to Hoffenheim the day before.
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