Berlin, Germany (Weltexpress). Is it hock or hen then? What went better with the beer and the jeer was the question even before the first semi-final this Tuesday between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen got going at Hofbräu Berlin. Sitting in front of one of many video screens we studied the menu and decided to take neither a hock with potato dumplings, dark beer and coleslaw nor half of a hen (really crunchy, by the way) with the potato salad. Instead, we ordered Original Wiener Schnitzel with Bavarian potato salad and resolved to be as neutral as the referee should be.
That “hax’n” means Munich is clear, but why is it hen for Bremen? Shouldn’t it be fish for the traditional club of this seafaring town? Not if the big money comes from a mass producer of poultry (that leaves those who don’t like these lines of business with a foul taste in the mouth). Wiesenhof is the main sponsor behind SV Werder, a firm we would never support. The hen in the Hofbräu, however, is not from there as far as we gather, what makes us feel glad.
Now to the game: kick-off around 8:30 pm, and both teams started powerfully, attacking and counter-attacking each other, although Bayern, playing at home in their stadium, seemed to have more of the game after ten or fifteen minutes. But for over half an hour the Red and Whites of Bayern didn’t get through, biting their teeth out at the Green and Whites of Werder, with strong central defenders Jannik Vestergaard and El Hadji Papy Mison Djilobodji. Middle of the field being barred, Bayern preferred the wings where Werders Theodor Gebre Selassie and Janek Sternberg were not able to stop them. In terms of tackling though Werder won lots of fights and it took time till Bayern scored at last. After a corner by Xabi Alonso, unlucky Clemens Fritz went for a slide, making it easy for Thomas Müller to get in possession of the ball and then secure the 1:0 with a header (33).
Werder did not give up, but countered. Sambou Yatabaré with a lob almost overcame Manuel Neuer (40). At the beginning of the second half, Bremen built up the pressure. The game swayed back and forth with chances on both sides, best were those for Robert Lewandowski (58) and Vestergaard (60). No question: Bayern had to work more than generally expected and Alonso was one of their best players. But even he could not prevent the own goal by David Alaba. That was the job of Tobias Stieler, a young referee without the experience needed and coming from rival town Hamburg, who saw a file foul by a Bremer and not just one of these never nice nor nasty clashes between players in the penalty area.
And there was far worse to come. Show-off Arturo Vidal went for a dive after having as the ref but no camera saw it been fouled by Sternberg. Penalty, Stieler stated – Vidal should have seen yellow, yeah! Müller was on the spot, shot and put Bayern 2:0 in the lead (74.). After that, the hens lost the lust to fight fiercely and thus in the end lost the game. Having won they could have met Hertha in the final. Who played the next day against Borussia Dortmund and went down 0:2 in their own stadium. But then Berlin is 16th in the league, not 4th like Werder Bremen. Or is it the other way round?
Stieler helps Bayern steal their way into the final. 12 against 11 – that’s unfair, but there’s no red in score for a ref with such a bad reference. However, Hofbräu Berlin is a restaurant, a pub, a great place with such a good reference that we will come to see Bayern play against Borussia in the cup final. Here in Berlin, but without security checks, stale food and tin beer. Come join us at Hofbräu!
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The result of the match: Bayern München vs Werder Bremen 2: 0 (1: 0)
The goals of the game: 1: 0 Thomas Müller (30) and 2: 0 Thomas Müller (71. after penalty)
The players of Bayern München: Neuer, Lahm, Martinez, Alaba, Bernat (58th Benatia), Alonso, Coman (67. Vidal), Thomas Müller, Götze (60th Thiago), Ribery and Lewandowski
The players of SV Werder Bremen: Wiedwald, Gebre Selassie, Vestergaard, Djilobodji, Sternberg, Fritz (83. Kleinheisler) Grillitsch, Yatabare (74th Öztunali), Junuzovic, Bartels, Pizarro (73. Ujah)
The “referee”: Tobias Stieler
The number of spectators: 75,000 (sold out)
The yellow card of the game: went to Clemens Fritz