Shaqiri shines, Gomez glitters, Bayern brilliant

After delving into his squad on the weekend - a move that proved fruitful - Jupp Heynckes put his trust back in virtually his best eleven, Diego Contento the odd one out after a late illness to David Alaba. A weak Bundesliga has been mentioned as a reason for Bayern's rampant form but that detracts from just how sensational this Bayern team have been this year.

There was a different feeling inside Bayern's home ground on Tuesday night and the sun of Saturday had been replaced by the drizzle of Tuesday evening as VfL Wolfsburg arrived to spoil the so far immaculately executed plan. So loud was the home support that the offside whistle for the away side's first attack was drowned into insignificance. The result was however, far from that. Wolfsburg's season has been so inconsistent it was genuinely hard to know what to expect of Dieter Hecking's team. Vieirinha's solo run summarised it perfectly in one play. Having beaten two players, the attack filled with menace before coming to nothing following a disappointing fall to the floor from the midfielder.

Xherdan Shaqiri would be a starting winger in nearly any other team but being in this Bayern team means he has to impress when given the chance. Shortly after the quarter-hour mark, he did just that by slicing the Wolfsburg defence in two, releasing Arjen Robben down the right flank. His first time ball into Mario Mandzukic meant only one thing and although it wasn't inside the first ten minutes, it was another clinical display of attacking football from Heynckes' side. Wolfsburg sought an immediate response but a combined effort from Manuel Neuer and a number of defensive bodies prevented it from coming to anything.

Top gear was being used in fits and starts and it was effective but it wasn't the same ruthless, gung-ho side that has become almost an expectation this year. Ten minutes before the break though and top gear was found again. In similar fashion to his first, Shaqiri removed the Wolfsburg defence from the equation with an exquisite pass, allowing Robben to time his run perfectly and clip the ball over a helplessly exposed Benaglio.

Commanding centre-back Naldo couldn't take a chance, firing a free header wide from a corner before Vieirinha's low volley forced a save from Neuer to keep Bayern comfortable. For all of the lack of composure in front of goal from Wolfsburg, they can, and regularly have, relied on their Brazilian playmaker. A slightly obstructed Neuer was left grasping for air when Diego rifled a screamer across goal into the far corner shortly before the break. It was a goal to spoil an otherwise patient first-half display from Bayern but it was also more than that. It was proof that in cup competitions, Bayern are just as mortal as every other team.

That cup mortality was threatening to be exposed even more as Hecking's side came out in the second half as if the first hadn't even finished. Xherdan Shaqiri clearly felt the same way though, because a short corner found its way to him on the edge of the area where he smacked a perfect strike into the bottom corner. It was almost an identical strike to the one he scored on the weekend but tonight, in the absence of the suspended and somewhat forgotten Franck Ribery, he was running the show.

With their two-goal lead restored, Bayern were comfortable all over again. Both sides reshuffled, Wolfsburg in hope of a way back into the game, Bayern in the hope of stopping them. Unsurprisingly, the latter looked the more likely prophecy and with Berlin looming, the home crowd whirled a few Mexican waves around.

The game had all but been decided after Shaqiri's early second-half goal and with ten minutes to go, there was only one thing left to happen. Mario Gomez replaced the hard-working Mandzukic in search of his customary goal and thanks to another moment of selfless play from Shaqiri, he got it, tapping in from four yards out.

With the opposition deflated, Bayern's, and above all Gomez's, ruthlessness reappeared as Bayern ran out 6-1 winners. Gomez's arrival proved to be less of a change and more of a reload for Bayern as the striker completed a six-minute hat trick after cooling finishing off two consecutive passes from Schweinsteiger. And with that, Heynckes' men steamrolled to within one step of the second part of the treble.

Another spate of goals, another dominant win and another example of how utterly clinical this Bayern side are. There's only one team left to beat really...

Bayern Munich: Neuer - Lahm, van Buyten, Dante, Contento - Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez - Robben (74' Rafinha), Mueller (63' Luiz Gustavo), Shaqiri - Mandzukic (77' Gomez)

VfL Wolfsburg: Benaglio - Fagner (61' Dost), Naldo, Madlung, Rodriguez - Medojevic, Polak (73' Traesch) - Vieirinha, Diego, Hasebe - Olic (73' Helmes)

Goals: 1-0 Mandzukic (17'), 2-0 Robben (34'), 2-1 Diego (45'), 3-1 Shaqiri (51'), 4-1 Gomez (80'), 5-1 Gomez (83'), 6-1 Gomez (86')

Referee: Knut Kircher
Attendance: 71,000


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