Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski on fire as Bayern Munich smash Leverkusen
Eighteen-time winners Bayern Munich cruised into their 22nd DFB Pokal Final with a thumping 6-2 win over Leverkusen, courtesy of a first-half double from Robert Lewandowski and a second-half hat trick from Thomas Muller, sandwiched between Thiago Alcantara's strike. Lars Bender and Leon Bailey scored for the well-beaten home side.
In their ninth straight domestic cup semfinal, Treble-seeking Bayern easily brushed aside the challenge of Leverkusen with a breathtaking display of attacking football.
Bayern did everything but let slip a two-goal lead and will need to be warier of Real Madrid's threat next Wednesday and not rely on Sven Ulreich to bail them out of trouble again.
Manager rating out of 10
10 -- Heynckes remained serenely on course for the treble in his fourth spell in charge, reaching his third cup final with Bayern following back-to-back trips to Berlin in 2012 and 2013.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Sven Ulreich, 9 -- Produced a string of fine saves, the best of the bunch denying German internationals Kevin Volland and Karim Bellarabi (twice). Another boost to Ulreich's confidence before Bayern face Real.
DF David Alaba, 6 -- Started off brightly but can only assume his back injury flared up again towards the end of the first half as the Austria international made way for Rafinha.
DF Jerome Boateng, 7 -- Rested at the weekend and soon produced a Beckenbauer-esque diagonal ball for the opener. He continued in that vein, confidently spraying passes all evening. Revitalized under Heynckes, Boateng has not tasted defeat in 28 appearances for Bayern this season and failed to feature in any of the German champions' losses to Paris Saint-Germain, Leipzig, Hoffenheim and Gladbach.
DF Mats Hummels, 7 -- Shorn of his hair but not of his consummate defensive prowess.
DF Joshua Kimmich, 7 -- Brilliant going forward, but suspect defending at times. Must defend better against Cristiano Ronaldo and Co.
MF Javi Martinez, 7 -- Rested at the weekend and thought he had fired Bayern into an early lead but Lewandowski applied a faint touch to his fierce drive inside three minutes.
MF Thiago, 8 -- After a quiet opening period, Thiago produced a great pass for the third and decisive goal which Muller took full advantage of, before getting in on the act himself with a composed finish into the corner of the net.
MF Franck Ribery, 7 -- His cute floated delivery found Lewandowski at the back stick as Bayern threatened to run riot early on.
MF Arjen Robben, 7 -- Toiled industriously for the whole 90 minutes but couldn't quite crown his efforts with a goal. Rewarded with the captaincy for the final 10 minutes after Muller made his way off.
MF Thomas Muller, 9 -- Denied by Bernd Leno in the opening minutes but Martinez (technically Lewandowski) was on hand to open the scoring. Largely anonymous in the first half, captain Muller killed off any vague Leverkusen hopes with the third goal, as Bayer soon dissolved quicker than an aspirin.
FW Robert Lewandowski, 8 -- Sporting a black eye, Lewandowski fired goals number 37 and 38 in 42 games this season -- applying a faint touch on Martinez's drive after only 125 seconds. Bayern's top scorer then grabbed his second inside the opening 10 minutes with a typically composed finish to double the lead. Will be interesting to see how a fit Lewandowski fares against Real Madrid next week.
DF Rafinha, 7 -- The game was hanging in the balance at half-time but following Heynckes's masterstroke of putting Rafinha on for Alaba at the break. The result was never in doubt -- the Brazilian has played 25 German Cup games for Bayern and never finished on the losing side. Rafinha set-up Muller's second and Bayern's fifth with a surging run and pull-back.
MF James Rodriguez, N/R -- The Colombia international replaced Muller to allow the captain a standing ovation from the travelling faithful when he came off with 10 minutes remaining.
DF Niklas Sule, N/R -- Replaced Thiago with the game well and truly done and dusted.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.