Berlin, 5 July 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Relentless Bayern Munich sealed a second straight double with an easy 4-2 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup final on Saturday.
David Alaba, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski (2) scored in front of empty stands at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium as Hansi Flick’s side lifted the Cup for a record-extending 20th time and secured a 13th league-and-cup double.
Bayern now have the chance to go for a second treble after their 2013 triumph when the Champions League resumes following the coronavirus hiatus in August.
One of Bayern‘s four league defeats this term came against Leverkusen but this result was never in doubt as Peter Bosz’s side laboured in their bid to repeat their sole 1993 Cup triumph.
“We have to stick to the hygiene rules but we’ll find a quiet place which we can turn into a loud place,” Bayern‘s Thomas Mueller told ARD.
Bayern had wrapped up an eighth successive Bundesliga title last month while Leverkusen just lost out on fourth spot and a Champions League berth – though they can still qualify by winning the Europa League in August.
Bayern coach Flick again went with Leon Goretzka in midfield with Thiago Alcantara, who is mulling a move away, starting on the bench alongside Niklas Suele – back in the squad for the first time since knee ligament damage in October.
Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz led the line in a slightly unaccustomed position in what could be his final game for the club with several of Europe’s top sides ready to swoop – although Bayern say they cannot afford him after the capture of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.
Bayern had the upper hand from the off and went ahead after Lewandowski won a debatable free-kick on the edge of the box.
Austria defender Alaba is fast becoming one of Europe’s top deadball specialists and he nonchalantly clipped the ball beyond Lukas Hradecky on 16 minutes.
“Of course we would rather have had our fans here,” Alaba said.
“We wanted to try something different with the free-kick, but then I decided otherwise.”
At times the lack of atmosphere and Leverkusen’s struggle to get into the game made it feel like a training match rather than a Cup final, with Havertz in particular not getting enough service.
It was no surprise when Bayern made it 2-0 midway through the first half, Joshua Kimmich producing typically good work to set up Gnabry, who was unerring with his shot into the opposite corner of the net.
Leverkusen brought on forward Kevin Volland for the second half to try to offer more of a threat. He had a glorious chance to pull one back on 57 minutes but completely missed his kick.
Soon afterwards Lewandowski extended Bayern‘s lead following poor goalkeeping from Hradecky.
The Poland striker let fly with a speculative effort from distance and the Finland keeper somehow allowed the ball through his grasp and it squirmed over the line.
“They are so strong,” said Hradecky. “Naturally it wasn’t easy from the very beginning. We did better in the second half and then my mistake ruined everything. I’m sorry.”
Bayern then eased off a little too much and after great defending by Jerome Boateng – whose renaissance this term sums up the Bavarians’ season – Sven Bender headed in the resulting corner on 64 minutes to give Leverkusen a glimmer of hope.
They kept pushing but without coming especially close and Lewandowski then dinked in his second for Bayern late on.
Havertz got on the scoresheet with a penalty in stoppage time but it was the last kick of the game.
Bayern are a machine and are so used to winning, but still sacked Niko Kovac in November despite sealing the double last term.
A Champions League quarter-final beckons with Bayern 3-0 up against Chelsea after the last-16 first leg.
But whatever happens in Europe, the remarkable job Flick has done in this coronavirus-hit season will still go down in club history.