BACK IN HIS PRIME

Ribery stars on comeback for Bay­ern in Ger­man Cup

New Straits Times - - Sport - AP

FRANCK Ribery starred on his re­turn from a thigh in­jury to help Bay­ern Mu­nich reach the Ger­man Cup semi-fi­nals with a com­fort­able 3-0 win over Schalke on Wed­nes­day.

Bay­ern could next face Borus­sia Dortmund af­ter be­ing drawn against the winners of the post­poned quar­ter-fi­nal in­volv­ing third-tier Sport­fre­unde Lotte.

Dortmund’s game at Lotte was called off on Tues­day due to heavy snow­fall and a wa­ter­logged pitch. A new date for the game has yet to be an­nounced, while the semi-fi­nals will be played April 25-26.

Also on Wed­nes­day, Borus­sia Moenchenglad­bach de­feated Ham­burg 2-1 away to line up a semi-fi­nal against Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt, 1-0 winners over Ar­minia Biele­feld on Tues­day.

Ribery made an im­me­di­ate im­pact in Mu­nich, set­ting up Robert Le­wandowski to open the scor­ing with a chip over goal­keeper Ralf Faehrmann in the third minute.

The French winger was in­volved again for Bay­ern’s sec­ond, send­ing through Le­wandowski, who drew Faehrmann away from goal and then crossed for Thi­ago Al­can­tara to head into the un­guarded net in the 16th minute.

It got worse for the vis­i­tors when Ribery pulled the ball back for Le­wandowski to shoot his sec­ond from a cen­tral po­si­tion in­side half an hour. It took Le­wandowski’s tally across all com­pe­ti­tions to 30 so far for the sea­son.

The 33-year-old Ribery hadn’t played since the end of Jan­uary af­ter pick­ing up the in­jury in train­ing, and was taken off for Kings­ley Co­man in the 67th minute.

Seem­ingly con­tent with their com­fort­able lead, Bay­ern kept Schalke at bay for the sec­ond half with­out ex­ert­ing the ef­fort that led to the goals in the first.

The vis­i­tors’ mis­er­able evening was com­pleted when Hol­ger Bad­stu­ber was sent off late in the game with his sec­ond yel­low card on his sec­ond re­turn to Mu­nich. For­mer team­mate Ar­jen Robben asked the ref­eree to re­con­sider but to no avail.

Bad­stu­ber, who joined Schalke on loan from Bay­ern in the win­ter trans­fer pe­riod, was cel­e­brated by the home fans as he left the pitch.

Ear­lier, two penal­ties were enough for Moenchenglad­bach in the other quar­ter-fi­nal.

The re­cently pro­lific Lars Stindl broke the dead­lock from the spot min­utes af­ter the restart, awarded when Mergim Mavraj brought Pa­trick Her­rmann down.

It was Stindl’s eighth goal in six games across all com­pe­ti­tions.

Raf­fael made it 2-0 with an­other min­utes later, this time af­ter Matthias Ostr­zolek fouled Jonas Hof­mann.

Amer­i­can for­ward Bobby Wood grabbed Ham­burg’s con­so­la­tion goal with a fine fin­ish in­side the far cor­ner in in­jury time.

EPA PIC Bay­ern Mu­nich’s Franck Ribery (cen­tre) con­grat­u­lates Robert Le­wandowski af­ter scor­ing against Schalke in the Ger­man Cup quar­ter-fi­nal on Wed­nes­day. Bay­ern won 3-0.

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