BREMEN, Germany – Bayern Munich prevailed 3-2 over Werder Bremen on Wednesday in a German Cup semifinal that was decided by a controversial penalty call.
For Bayern, it means a 23rd trip to the final of a competition they have won 18 times. Bremen, who came back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the contest with 15 minutes left, and their supporters can only fume over the penalty and think about what might have been.
Both sides started aggressively and much of the action consisted of battles for possession in midfield.
While Bremen’s Max Kruse tried his luck in the 8th minute, the first real chance materialized two minutes later with a back-heeled shot from Bayern’s Thomas Müller, which rolled just outside the far post.
The hosts were full of fight, but Bundesliga leaders Bayern demonstrated why they separated from eight-place Bremen by 24 points.
Kingsley Coman was the playmaker for the visitors, creating chances in the 16th minute for Müller – whose shot was sent away for a corner by defender Moisander – and another in the 22nd for Thiago Alcantara, who fired wide.
The breakthrough came in the 36th minute, after Jerome Boateng’s cross found Müller in scoring position.
Though Müller’s header bounced off the post, Robert Lewandowski was there to knock in the rebound with his right foot.
Bremen were more ambitious on the attack after falling behind, yet Bayern continued to get the better chances and Müller made it 2-0 in the 63rd minute.
The home side continued to press and Bayern gradually pulled back, which proved to be a mistake.
In the 74th minute, Bremen’s Yuya Osaka scored from close range with an assist from Milos Rashica, who brought the hosts level a minute later.
The deadlock last only until the 80th minute, however, as the referee pointed to the spot after a collision in the area between Coman and defender Theodor Gebre Selassie. Despite loud protests from Bremen, the Video Assistant Referee declined to review the call.
Lewandowski stepped to the spot and converted to put Bayern up 3-2.