Berlin: Holders Bayern Munich reached the German Cup semi-finals after beating Bayer Leverkusen 5-3 in a penalty shoot-out on Wednesday as their last eight clash finished goalless after extra time.
Bayern Munich's players react after the penalty shoot out of the German Cup DFB Pokal quarter final football match Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich in Leverkusen. Pic/AFP
This is the sixth year in a row that Bayern have reached the semi-finals. Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was Bayern's hero at Leverkusen's BayArena after saving Swiss striker Josip Drmic's first spot-kick penalty to give Bayern the advantage. Thomas Mueller, Robert Lewandowski, Xabi Alonso, Mario Goetze and finally Thiago Alcantara, who is just back from a year's absence with injury, all then drilled home their spot kicks to put Munich in the last four.
"No-one deserved to lose a game like that," said Neuer. "You could really see that no-one wanted to make a mistake. "Of course, it's a bitter result for Leverkusen, they really put a lot into it." In the semi-finals, Bayern will host Borussia Dortmund with Wolfsburg home to third-division Arminia Bielefeld when the semi-finals are played on April 28 and 29.
"That's ok for us, if you want to win the cup you need to beat the best teams, so it's Dortmund for us," said Bayern coach Pep Guardiola. Earlier, minnows Bielefeld produced a classic German Cup upset by knocking out Bundesliga high-fliers Borussia Moenchengladbach as their quarter-final was also decided by a penalty shoot-out.
Lucien Favre's Gladbach, who are set to play Champions League football next season, become the third Bundesliga side after Werder Bremen and Hertha Berlin to lose to Arminia on their march to the semi-finals. Bielefeld held their nerve to win the penalty shoot-out 5-4 as it finished 1-1 after extra-time.
Arminia took the lead at their sold-out Schueco-Arena after midfielder Manuel Junglas fired home with 26 minutes gone. But Gladbach, who are third in the Bundesliga table, drew level six minutes later when striker Max Kruse converted a penalty. Third-division leader Bielefeld will pick up at least two million euros ($2.1m) for reaching the semi-finals.
On Tuesday, a thunderbolt of a shot from veteran midfielder Sebastian Kehl sealed Borussia Dortmund's 3-2 extra-time win over Hoffenheim to book their place in the last four. The 35-year-old Kehl's speculative half-volley flew perfectly off his boot and into the Hoffenheim net on 107 minutes to put Dortmund in the semi-finals for the third time in four years.
Dortmund had taken an early lead but Neven Subotic's 19th-minute goal was cancelled out by Hoffenheim's Kevin Volland just 102 seconds later. Brazil international Roberto Firmino put Hoffenheim 2-1 up at half-time before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised midway through the second-half as it stayed 2-2 at the end of normal time. Wolfsburg took a step towards their first silverware since winning the 2009 Bundesliga title when a Ricardo Rodriguez penalty sealed their 1-0 quarter-final win at home to Freiburg.