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Mueller helps Bayern battle past Dortmund

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Bayern Munich’s striker Thomas Mueller (R) is congratulated by his teammate Colombian James Rodriguez (L) after scoring the second goal during their match against Borussia Dortmund on December 20, 2017 in Munich © AFP/File / Christof STACHE

BERLIN, Germany, Dec 20Thomas Mueller scored the decisive goal as Bayern Munich fought to a 2-1 victory over rivals Borussia Dortmund to reach the German Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Goals from Jerome Boateng and Mueller gave Bayern a comfortable lead before half-time, but Andriy Yarmolenko’s second-half header made it a nervy last 15 minutes for Bayern.

“We’ve stumbled into the quarter-finals,” said Bayern defender Boateng. “We played well in the first half, but we should have decided it earlier.”

After several gilt-edged chances in the opening minutes, Boateng headed Bayern into the lead on 12 minutes. Niklas Suele guided a James Rodriguez free-kick onto the bar, before Boateng emerged to nod the ball past Roman Buerki.

With star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out injured, it wasn’t until the 35th minute that Dortmund created a significant chance. Stand-in front man Yarmolenko found space in the box, only to see his shot cleared off the line by David Alaba.

Minutes later, Bayern doubled their lead in style. Played through by Robert Lewandowski on the right wing, Mueller sent an elegant chip over Buerki and into the far corner.

Two brilliant saves from Buerki kept Bayern from running riot just after half-time, but Bayern looked ever more comfortable as the game wore on. When Franck Ribery was substituted off on the hour mark, the win appeared to be secure.

Bayern were shocked into life on 76 minutes, though, when Yarmolenko pulled a goal back for Dortmund.

Shinji Kagawa whipped in a cross, and home goalkeeper Sven Ulreich couldn’t deny the Ukrainian at the far post.

Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng celebrates after he scored the first goal during their match against Borussia Dortmund on December 20, 2017 in Munich © dpa/AFP / Tobias Hase

Dortmund could muster little more than a handful of half-chances as they pushed for the equaliser. Only in injury time did they create a golden opportunity, as Alexander Isak’s shot was deflected just inches past the post.

“If we had played the whole game like we did in the last half an hour, we might have taken something away from this game,” said Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer.

Elsewhere, Leon Bailey netted the winner as Bayer Leverkusen beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 1-0 to book their place in the quarters.

Goalless until the 71st minute, the game burst into life when Bailey broke down the left to pick up Kevin Volland’s through ball and fire past Yann Sommer.

Werder Bremen also progressed to the last eight by beating Freiburg 3-2.

After goals from Ishak Belfodil and Florian Kainz had put Bremen two goals up, Nils Petersen pulled a goal back from the penalty spot.

With 20 minutes to play, Philipp Bargfrede swept the ball in for Bremen’s third, the referee overruling the linesman’s offside flag. A late goal from Yoric Ravet proved too little for Freiburg.

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