BERLIN — Bayern Munich reached the quarterfinals of the DFB Pokal with a 3-2 defeat of Hertha Berlin after extra-time, with Robert Lewandowski turning in a performance that could silence some recent criticism of him in the media.
Poland international Lewandowski had his hand in all three Munich goals, with Serge Gnabry’s brace and Kingsley Coman’s extra-time strike securing the passage to the next round.
Having been criticised by former Bayern player Didi Hamann for “turning into a problem for Bayern” earlier this week, Lewandowski came through with a strong performance as he captained Bayern for the first-time ever.
He then hit out at the former Liverpool midfielder turned pundit after the match.
“I am always focused on my job. And cup games are alway difficult to play,” Lewandowski told ESPN FC after the match. “We won that match. And I am not interested in what someone says about me. Even more so if that’s just flat-out stupid. I don’t think [Hamann] knows much about tactics.”
At the weekend, Bayern suffered their first defeat in the league after seven-straight wins and Lewandowski said he was delighted how Bayern bounced back.
“We fought really well. We scored in extra time. And this could be a signal for us that we are on a good path again,” Lewandowski said. “It’s important for our self-confidence that we reached the next round.”
Bayern boss Niko Kovac also praised Germany international Gnabry for his role in the hard-earned victory.
“He was our man of the match,” Kovac said in his postmatch news conference. “Not only because of his goals, but also because of his force he brings to the pitch.”
Gnabry started his first match in 2019 and Kovac said: “It was time to up the pressure on the wings today. Not only with Kingsley Coman, but also with Serge. He did a really, really good job.”
Gnabry replied to Maximilian Mittelstadt’s third-minute goal with a brace in the seventh and 49th minute and Bayern looked the likely winners.
But Germany international Mats Hummels allowed Hertha Berlin back into the game when his clearance was intercepted by attacker Davie Selke after 67 minutes, but Bayern stayed in control of the match despite needing extra time to seal the win.
“It does not matter who was at fault for the goal,” Kovac said. “We just make too many mistakes. It’s not only Mats. There’s no need to put everything on him now. But if we want to achieve things this season, we must make less mistakes.”
Bundesliga sides RB Leipzig, FC Schalke, Augsburg and Werder Bremen as well as Heidenheim, Paderborn and Hamburg from the second tier join Bayern in the chase for one of the two spots in the DFB Pokal final at the Olympiastadion on May 25.