Bayern Munich made short work of a vigorous but thoroughly outclassed Kaiserslautern in their German Cup semi-final. The Bavarians trounced the Red Devils 5-1 at home, setting up a final against Borussia Dortmund.
With the Bundesliga wrapped up weeks ago, Pep Guardiola could afford to field virtually his strongest team for the game against second division Kaiserslautern. The only notable absence was goalkeeper Manuel Neuer still out with a muscle injury he picked up in last weekend's defeat to Dortmund. He was replaced by rookie Lukas Raeder.
Kaiserslautern, meanwhile, could only hope to raise the ghost of the 1997/1998 season - the last time they had beaten Bayern in Munich. That was the first match day of what became a legendary campaign, when the Red Devils became the first ever promoted club to become German champions.
Repeating that win was always going to be tough against the treble-defending, all-conquering Bayern of 2014, but the visitors invested plenty of energy in the opening exchanges, pressing with vigor and attempting to harry the Bavarians off their game.
Even so, they were only able to keep the cup-holders out for 23 minutes, after Arjen Robben had won a corner with a typical marauding run down the right. He took the set-piece himself and found Bastian Schweinsteiger, who escaped his marker with majestic ease and slammed an unstoppable header low into the goal.
The second goal, nine minutes later, was almost equally simple, and again Robben was the instigator. This time the Dutchman turned in for one of his trademark runs across the edge of the penalty area, where he was immediately closed down by three Kaiserslautern defenders - but not before he laid the ball off to Toni Kroos exploiting the space as he arrived from midfield. The German curled a sweet shot around the outstretched arm of Tobias Sippel from the edge of the area.
Bayern did not relent in the first part of the second half, and for a third time Robben was instrumental Bayern's lethal attack. After the corner and the pass for Kroos, this time the flying Dutchman won a penalty by tripping over a foolishly extended trailing leg. Thomas Müller did the honors from the penalty spot and despite Kaiserslautern's efforts they were 3-0 down with just 50 minutes played.
The second division side kept up the pace though, and were rewarded with a brilliant consolation goal in the 60th minute through Simon Zoller, who rose above Jerome Boateng to glance the ball past Raeder.
But Bayern simply ramped up the pressure in response. With Guardiola having withdrawn Robben, it was up to his replacement Mario Götze to provide the goals - first by setting up Mario Mandzukic in the 78th minute in acres of space. And in injury time, Götze benefitted from a lovely but thoroughly superfluous back-heel from Franck Ribery to bundle the ball home.
The win sets up yet another "Klassiker" - Bayern will face Dortmund at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on May 17.