GERMANY: Bayern Clinch Historic Treble in Heynckes’ Swan Song

Germany

The curtain closer of the German football calendar, the DFB-Pokal Final or more commonly known as the German Cup Final promised a spectacle between Southern sides, Bayern Munich and VfB Stuttgart. Considering that Jupp Heynckes’ men had the opportunity to win a historic treble of trophies, and that it was the 68-year-old’s swan song, both sides duly delivered throughout the game, with Bayern surviving a late scare to edge Stuttgart 3-2.

The newly-crowned European Champions started off proceedings brightly with the likes of Ribery and Robben entertaining the massive crowd at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Constantly knocking on Stuttgart’s door, “Robbery” link up well, but their wastefulness was nearly punished by Stuttgart’s near-chance to stun the Berlin crowd, when Manuel Neuer was prompted to save two shots in a scramble at the 21st minute.

Alaba, Robben and Ribery were undoubtedly contributing a lot to Bayern’s attacking game but great displays of defensive work from Stuttgart were shown in scenes with Sven Ulreich constantly thwarting them. Clearly Stuttgart were not looking to award the Cup so nicely to Bayern.

However, a clumsy challenge from Ibrahima Traore on Philipp Lahm in the goalmouth opened up the game even further between the two sides. Traore received a yellow for his arm on Lahm’s shoulder and a penalty awarded to Bayern. Thomas Muller duly converted the penalty, sending Ulreich the wrong way and Die Roten look even more high value to win the “Triple”.

In the second half, Bayern Munich showed just how much they want it, starting off the best way possible. Chances after chances, in the 47th minute, a Robben run through to the right finds Lahm who in turn leaves it to Mario Gomez, with no one but the goal at this mercy.

One might assume that Heynckes specifically chose Gomez to start because of his expertise in scoring against his old club, with the “Forgotten Mario” taking the game in their hands with another goal on the 60th minute mark.

3-0 was the scoreline with half an hour left to play but somehow Stuttgart fought back to score as Gotoku Sakai’s floating ball finding Martin Harnik to put one past Neuer in the 70th minute.

Stuttgart fans were filled with belief with much of the noise coming from their side. A defensive nightmare on the 80th minute left Martin Harnik rather lonely in the right of Neuer’s goal, prompting him to try his luck with Neuer parrying it away back to Harnik. Virtually everybody on the pitch was in the penalty box, but Harnik received another chance and somehow managed to strike past a hapless Neuer, courtesy of a very slight deflection from Schweinsteiger’s boot. 3-2 it was, and game on, with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Stuttgart fought on and fans were ever hopeful, but alas, the clock wind down to injury time with Shinji Okazaki providing a wayward header meant for the goal deep into four minutes after regulation time. With that being the last strand of hope and chance of the game, FC Bayern Munich were officially crowned DFB-Pokal winners as well as “Triple” Champions.

A remarkable season, and  a dramatic ending to Jupp Heynckes’ supposed last match in football, this Hollywood ending is truly befitting of the sensational Bayern that rewrote the history books, possibly going down to be the best ever Bayern side. This season’s Bayern Munich become the first and only German club to win three major trophies in a single season, arguably cementing their status as the best side in the country’s footballing history.

AziziMuhammad

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