Berlin, Feb 7 (IANS) A goal in extra time from France’s Kingsley Coman led Bayern Munich to a 3-2 victory over Hertha in Berlin, ensuring Munich’s qualification for the quarter-finals of the German Cup.
Bayern had to play without their main goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who is injured in one hand. Coach Niko Kovac also left Thomas Mueller on the bench and bet on Colombian James Rodriguez as creative midfielder and Serge Gnabry on the right flank, reported Efe news.
The match got off to a dizzying start. In the third minute, Leon Goretzka fell in Hertha’s area in a duel for the ball and the central referee considered the fall a simulation and showed the yellow card to the Bayern player.
When Bayern were still protesting the card, Hertha’s keeper, Rune Jarstein, kicked the ball way ahead enabling Maximilian Mittelstaedt to open the scoring with a low shot.
Bayern’s equaliser came four minutes later through Gnabry. The play began with a Joshua Kimmich cross from the right, Robert Lewandowski won the duel with Mittelstaedt and left the ball to Gnabry who scored with a first-rate shot.
After the draw, Bayern appropriated the match, arriving over the flanks and filling Hertha’s area with passes so they had to concentrate on defence.
In the 20th minute, Gnabry came close to a second goal with a shot that Jarstein deflected into a corner. It was Bayern’s best chance to take the lead in the first half, which had become a Bayern monologue with 71 percent ball possession.
At the start of the second half, in the 49th minute, Bayern’s second goal arrived, again by Gnabry who beat Hertha’s defence after a good pass from James Rodriguez, to finish with a low shot to the second post.
Bayern’s dominance remained almost absolute and there was nothing to suggest that Hertha could achieve a draw, but a blunder by Mats Hummels, in trying to head the ball back to Bayern keeper Sven Ulreich, gave the Berliners new life.
Hummels’ return got into the path of substitute Davie Selke who, in his first ball contact after coming in for Vedad Ibisevic, had no trouble defeating Ulreich in the 66th minute.
It was Hertha’s second on goal shot, and they had dedicated themselves first and foremost to defending their area. The Berlin goal made Bayern, who had previously shown great confidence, start to show nerves.
Hertha managed to take the game into extra time.
At the beginning of extra time Bayern took confidence again and put Hertha on the ropes and in the 98th minute when they went back to lead with Coman’s header.
The goal was the result of insistence. The French winger was surrounded by three Herta players when Lewandowski lifted the ball for Coman, from a short distance, to head the ball into the net.
Bayern still had two good attacks that did not bring another score but managed to take the game to the end.
Augsburg, who defeated Holstein Kiel away (1-0), RB Leipzig, who defeated Wolfsburg 1-0, and Schalke who defeated Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-1, also advanced to the quarterfinals.