Bayern treblemakers in Berlin

Celebrations all around for a historic achievement. Photo: Bundesliga FanaticIt was fitting that Bayern Munich sealed an historic treble in a city steeped in its own history by downing VfB Stuttgart 3-2 in a gripping German Cup final in Berlin.

Bayern's Thomas Müller talked pre-match about "re-writing history" and the Bavarians were as good as their word, becoming the first ever German side to win a treble of league, cup and Champions League (European Cup in old money) in the same season with a tense victory over their southern German rivals in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

Having clinched the Bundesliga in record fashion and after last week's dramatic victory against Borussia Dortmund in 'El Teutonico', the all-German Champions League final at Wembley, the focus now switched to capping a remarkable season with an expected victory over underdogs Stuttgart in the German Cup Final.

Even the staunchest Stuttgart fan doubted their credentials against the seemingly unstoppable Munich machine. Coach Bruno Labbadia joked that perhaps the Swabians wouldn't bother turning up at all, before suggesting his side was a "small-vehicle manufacturer" compared to Bayern's "Mercedes-Benz". It seemed to be a case of damage limitation for VfB, who finished in a lowly 12th place in the Bundesliga.

Some small Swabian crumb of comfort was the fact that Bayern were deprived of their Brazilian contingent of Dante and Luiz Gustavo - forced to depart on Confederations Cup duty in their homeland. Daniel van Buyten deputised for Dante at the heart of the defence and the other "Super Mario" - Gomez - replaced Mandzukic as Bayern made two changes from the Champions League winning starting line-up.

At a damp, sell-out Berlin Olympic Stadium, Bayern were indebted to goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for some fine reflex saves as VfB rose to the occasion, matching their all-conquering opposition. The match hung in the balance until the 37th minute, when Traoré tangled with a rampaging Bayern captain Philipp Lahm in the penalty box. Local referee Gräfe immediately pointed to the spot for a foul. Müller comfortably sent Ulreich the wrong way to put the Reds ahead. The Stuttgart resistance was broken.

Gomez added a brace of trademark goals after the break to put the Bavarians 3-0 up. The former VfB striker opened his account just three minutes after the interval, bundling home from close range after a brilliant one-two between Arjen Robben and Lahm. His second was similar on 61 minutes, as Lahm fed Müller and Gomez slotted home with the minimum of fuss. Job done for Gomez, who immediately gave way to the Croatian Mandzukic. Gomez looked to be saying his goodbyes to the Bayern faithful on being substituted.

At 3-0 down the game was seemingly over as a contest but a stubborn Stuttgart side were simply not willing to lie down and accept their fate. Austrian Martin Harnik reduced the arrears, nodding home at the far post on 72 minutes after a cross from substitute Sakai. When Harnik grabbed his second with ten minutes remaining, Stuttgart sensed the impossible. But Bayern had enough left in the tank to hold on for an historic victory.

The Reds become the seventh European club to win a treble after Celtic in 1967, Ajax in 1972, PSV Eindhoven in 1988, Manchester United in 1999, Barcelona in 2009 and Inter Milan in 2010.

It was a fitting tribute for outgoing Bayern coach Heynckes as he brought down the curtain on his coaching career in Germany. Although Heynckes is saying 'Auf Wiedersehen' in the summer, don't be surprised to see him pop up in somewhat warmer climes, having already coached in Spain and Portugal.

I close by pouring praise on Bayern as a club for recovering so well from those multiple second-placed finishes last season, especially the painful defeat against Chelsea in their own backyard. Lesser clubs might have crumbled after such set-backs. Not these Bayern treblemakers.

VfB Stuttgart: Ulreich - Rüdiger, Tasci, Niedermeier, Molinaro (Sakai 67') - Gentner, Boka - Harnik, Maxim (Okazaki 61'), Traoré (Cacau 73') - Ibisevic

FC Bayern Munich: Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, van Buyten, Alaba - Javi Martínez, Schweinsteiger - Ribéry (Shaqiri 90'), Müller, Robben(Tymoshchuk 83'), - Gomez (Mandzukic 62')

Goals: 1-0 Müller (pen.) (37'), 2-0 Gomez (48'), 3-0 Gomez (61'), 3-1 Harnik (71'), 3-2 Harnik (80')

Attendance:
74,244 (capacity)
Referee: Manuel Gräfe (Berlin)


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