DFB Pokal: Bayern Munich 3 Stuttgart 2
By Football News
Bayern Munich claimed a historic treble with a thrilling 3-2 win over Stuttgart in Saturday's DFB-Pokal Final in Berlin.
After claiming Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League successes, the Bavarian giants sealed a near-perfect campaign thanks to a Mario Gomez double and Thomas Mueller's first-half penalty.
They were given an almighty fright though, on the way to winning the DFB-Pokal for the 16th time in their illustrious history, as a late double from Austrian Martin Harnik set up an exciting conclusion.
Bayern held on, as coach Jupp Heynckes finished his tenure at Bayern on a perfect note.
The 68-year-old Heynckes, who has managed the club on three different occasions, will be replaced by Pep Guardiola next season.
The victory was a fitting way to end Bayern's outstanding campaign, in which they lost just three matches in all competitions.
Heynckes made two changes to the side that beat Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final exactly one week ago, as forward Mario Gomez and defender Daniel van Buyten replaced Mario Mandzukic and Dante respectively.
Without a competitive match in a fortnight, Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia introduced Antonio Rudiger and Ibrahima Troare for Japanese pair Gotoku Saki and Shinji Okazaki.
The fixture looked a mismatch on paper – Bayern finished 48 points ahead of Stuttgart in the Bundesliga table and won the two league fixtures by an aggregate score of 8-1 – and Bayern fired a warning shot in the first two minutes.
A smart throughball released Arjen Robben and he charged down the wing before cutting inside, only to see his attempted cut-back - which hit the elbow of Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich - bounce just wide.
Maxim went close with a volley for Stuttgart a few moments after while Robben and Franck Ribery loomed as major threats with a series of damaging runs.
Stuttgart almost scored in the 23rd minute, as Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer failed to deal with a free-kick, but he was quick to react to deny Georg Neidermeier from a tight angle.
At the other end, David Alaba wasted a one-on-one for Bayern and they should have had a penalty when Serdar Tasci fouled Robben, but soon after they did get their spot-kick as captain Philipp Lahm was dragged down by Troare.
Mueller stepped up and dispatched the penalty comfortably as Bayern went in to the half-time break ahead. Bayern scored again just after the interval as Robben and Lahm linked nicely down the right before the latter crossed for Gomez to tap into an open net.
Javi Martinez then headed wide, but Bayern looked to have sealed the result when Gomez got his second just after the hour mark.
Again the goal came from the right, as Mueller's simple cut-back was well converted by Gomez.
Stuttgart gave themselves a lifeline with 19 minutes to play when substitute Sakai saw his left-foot cross superbly headed in by Harnik.
Labbadia's changes were making a difference, as Okazaki shot at Neuer following a terrific Harnik ball, and they thought they had a penalty when Jerome Boateng looked to have handled in the box, only for their appeals to be turned down. But with 10 minutes to play Stuttgart did get their second goal.
Okazaki's 20-yard effort crashed into the post, but Harnik was on hand – after having his initial effort blocked by Neuer – to smash the ball into the back of the net.
Heynckes introduced defensive midfielder Antoliy Tymoshchuk in a bid to stem the flow, but they did have time for one last chance.
It came in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but Okazaki was unable to head in a dramatic equaliser, as Bayern capped off their remarkable season in style.