Berlin: Bayern Munich geared up for Wednesday’s German Cup quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund with a 6-1 win over Werder Bremen as coach Jupp Heynckes revelled in his decision to make sweeping changes.
Bayern’s win left them 18 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga as Heynckes made six changes from the team which won 3-1 at Arsenal in the Champions League last Tuesday.
“The coach chose to rotate his squad, but the players who came in were focused and there was no difference to the performance against Arsenal,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
Dutch wing Arjen Robben and Germany striker Mario Gomez were given rare starts and the pair rewarded Heynckes’ faith with three goals between them.
France star Franck Ribery and Spain’s Javi Martinez also scored in the rout, while Bremen defender Theodor Gebre Selassie netted an own goal.
Kevin de Bruyne, on loan from Chelsea, pulled a goal back for Werder who finished the game with 10 men.
Bayern are desperate to end their three-year wait for silverware and Heynckes showed how important the Bavarians are treating Wednesday’s cup clash against the defending champions by resting Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Mario Mandzukic.
“We saw some nice goals out there, but we didn’t reckon with conceding one, that was annoying,” added Heynckes, whose team last leaked a league goal on December 14 in a 1-1 draw against Moenchengladbach.
“Those players who came in justified my confidence in them. The game on Wednesday will be a real cup battle.”
Having made only his fourth league start of the season, Robben said the team were disappointed to concede only their eighth league goal this season.
“There were six new players on the field, so huge credit to all the players,” said Robben.
“After going 4-0 up we weren’t as focused and we eased off by a couple of per cent. You can always let in a goal in those circumstances, but it’s a shame, especially for [goalkeeper] Manuel [Neuer], who obviously wants to keep clean sheets.
“It was important to win again and maintain our rhythm. A score of 6-1 sounds easy, but it’s obviously not if you come into a game like this without match practice.”
With Wednesday’s clash a repeat of last year’s German Cup final, which Bayern lost 5-2, Robben said the quarter-final will be a tough match.
“It’ll be a totally different game at a very high level. It’ll come down to tiny details,” he predicted.
The two teams closest to Bayern in the league, Dortmund, who are at Moenchengladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen, at bottom side Greuther Fuerth, need to pick up wins on Sunday to cut Bayern’s huge lead.
Gladbach host Dortmund without Venezuela midfielder Juan Arango, who failed a fitness test on Saturday with an ankle knock.
The hosts are already without suspended forward Patrick Herrmann in their depleted attack.