Bayern Munich beat spirited Stuttgart in German Cup final | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 01.06.2013
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Bayern Munich beat spirited Stuttgart in German Cup final

Bayern Munich have won the German Cup final 3-2 in Berlin, completing the treble of the German Bundesliga, the cup and the Champions League. No German side, including Bayern, had ever managed this.

Stuttgart made Bayern Munich sweat on their way to their 16th German Cup crown, but ultimately could not match Germany's strongest side. Thomas Müller scored one and set up another, while Mario Gomez bagged a brace to seal the deal. Stuttgart's attacking talisman Martin Harnik willed two goals home late in the game to quicken Bavarian pulses but his side couldn't find an equalizer.

Bayern Munich's coach Jupp Heynckes celebrates with team their victory over VfB Stuttgart in their German soccer cup (DFB Pokal) final match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin June 1, 2013. (Photo via REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz)

Heynckes' lads held him aloft one last time

Bayern's players were able to shower their outgoing coach Jupp Heynckes with vast glasses of hefeweizen beer, while Mario Gomez took a sly swig for himself instead.

Strong Stuttgart start

Arjen Robben nearly put Bayern ahead with his right foot in just the second minute but was denied by Stuttgart keeper Sven Ulreich.

The underdogs started strongly too; Romanian Alexandru Maxim missed an early volley in the ninth minute. Half way through the opening period, a Maxim set piece caused chaos in the Bayern box. Manuel Neuer saved a wayward header from his teammate Bastian Schweinstieger and then scrambled across goal to thwart Georg Niedermeier from point-blank range.

Still, Bayern were frequently harrying Stuttgart down both wings with full backs David Alaba and Philipp Lahm frequently popping up in space. Eventually, their forays down the flanks bore fruit.

Lahm burst into the box, Ibrahima Traore trailing in his wake trying to track back. The attacker's challenge was as clumsy as one might expect, and referee Manuel Gräfer awarded a penalty. Bayern might have felt particularly entitled to the spot kick, minutes after a strong Arjen Robben appeal was waved away by Gräfer.

Thomas Müller was cool as ice from 11 yards, sending Sven Ulreich the wrong way and nonchalantly nestling the ball in the bottom corner. Somehow, Stuttgart weathered the storm for the remaining eight minutes before the break.

Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm lifts up the trophy as the team celebrates victory over VfB Stuttgart in their German soccer cup (DFB Pokal) final match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin June 1, 2013. (Photo via REUTERS/Michael Dalder)

Lahm and friends sealed the title after the break, surpassing even Bayern's '70s golden generation with a treble

Bayern find top gear

Bayern asserted their authority early in the second half, again focusing their attacks down either side of Stuttgart's defense. In the 48th minute, Arjen Robben cut in from the right before playing a splendid reverse pass to the overlapping Lahm. The Bayern captain crossed low, negating Ulreich, and Mario Gomez gratefully accepted the open goal.

Less than a quarter of an hour later, Bayern scored a goal that was made in Germany. Internationals Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and Mario Gomez moved the ball from one third of the pitch to the other in three passes, with Gomez again the recipient of a pinpoint cross.

Bayern's second-choice striker for much of the season was subbed out for his namesake Mario Mandzukic seconds later. Gomez played 134 minutes in Bayern's entire German Cup campaign this season; in that time, he cadged six goals and topped the competition's scoring chart.

VfB Stuttgart Martin Harnik celebrates after scoring a goal against Bayern Munich during their German soccer cup (DFB Pokal) final match at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin June 1, 2013. (Photo via REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

Martin Harnik did his level best to spoil the party

Müller, meanwhile, has become something of a Stuttgart specialist. He scored four times and set up three goals in Bayern's three encounters with the south-western outfit this season.

Late revival

It briefly seemed that Bayern were set to bury Stuttgart, but the underdogs bit back. From nowhere in the 71st minute, substitute Gotoku Sakai lofted in a cross from the left and Martin Harnik put an unstoppable header past goalie Manuel Neuer.

Neuer was just as helpless with Harnik's second nine minutes later. After a scrappy corner and a shot that rebounded off the post, Neuer did brilliantly to parry Harnik's first strike. The ball ricocheted back to the Austrian, whose second attempt took a wicked deflection and beat the wrong-footed goalie at the near post.

Stuttgart sought to tie the score, with keeper Ulreich bouding forward in stoppage time - but their set pieces were never accurate enough to cause real problems at the death.

The game was Jupp Heynckes' last as Bayern head coach, his final season could scarcely have been better. Bayern become only the seventh European team ever to win the domestic top league and cup and either the Champions League or its previous guise the European Cup in a single season. Inter Milan (2009/10), Barcelona (2008/9), Manchester United (1998/9), PSV Eindhoven (1987/8), Ajax Amsterdam (1971/2) and Glasgow Celtic (1966/67) are the other members of one of football's most exclusive clubs.

Barcelona achieved the feat under the stewardship of Bayern's incoming coach, Josep 'Pep' Guardiola. As for Heynckes, he said after Saturday's triumph that he would announce his plans for the future - a source of feverish speculation - on Tuesday.

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