Bayern meets Wolfsburg in German Cup semifinals
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Bayern Munich’s record-breaking season could give Jupp Heynckes a title he has never won as a coach — the German Cup.
Little more than a week after clinching the Bundesliga championship and one week before hosting Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals, Bayern faces Wolfsburg in the final four of the German Cup.
In last year’s final, Bayern was humiliated 5-2 by Borussia Dortmund.
Bayern’s redemption came this season, taking the Bundesliga title from Dortmund and becoming the first team to win the championship so early in the season.
While the Champions League remains the target, Heynckes is not overlooking the German Cup. He won the competition as a player with Borussia Moenchengladbach in 1973.
“I definitely want to reach the final, that’s one title that’s missing in my collection,” Heynckes said ahead of Tuesday’s match in Munich. “It’s not going to be a piece of cake. Every team wants to go to Berlin badly.”
Bayern will be without the suspended Franck Ribery.
As coach, Heynckes lost both German Cup finals — the first in 1984 with Moenchengladbach against Bayern and last season against Dortmund.
Heynckes could end the season with three titles before he turns over the club to Pep Guardiola, who will become Bayern coach.
The 67-year-old veteran coach has not said whether he intends to continue coaching somewhere else, but he could go out with a bang.
Bayern’s remarkable season comes after a very frustrating one, Heynckes’ first in his return as coach of Bayern. But the team has been so dominant that Heynckes left out nine regulars on Saturday against Nuremberg and his team still won 4-0.
Wolfsburg, on the other hand, had to settle for a 2-2 draw at home against relegation-threatened Hoffenheim.
“We’ve played better on the road this season than at home,” Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofs said.
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking said his team can win the cup and shouldn’t have too much respect for Bayern.
“That’s a justified target, I mean it,” he said. “You have a chance in every game, although I am not going to go as far as to say we’ll rout them 4-0.”
In the other semifinal match on Wednesday, Stuttgart hosts Freiburg, one of the surprises of the season.
The small provincial club is fifth in the Bundesliga and looks set to earn a place in the Europa League next season — if not even a slot in the Champions League.
Stuttgart’s inconsistent season could finish on a high note with a trip to Berlin for the cup final.
For both Stuttgart and Freiburg, reaching the final would mean a slot in the Europa League if Bayern also advances, since Heynckes’ team will go to the Champions League as the Bundesliga winner.