Bayern reaches German Cup final with 6-2 win in Leverkusen

Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, center, receives a goal by Leverkusen's Lars Bender during the German soccer cup semifinal match between Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich in Leverkusen, Germany, Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) Thomas Mueller scored a hat trick as Bayern Munich booked its place in the German Cup final with a 6-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

Bayern, which eased to the league title with five rounds remaining, will face Schalke or Eintracht Frankfurt – who meet in the other semifinal on Wednesday – in the German season-ending showpiece in Berlin’s Olympiastadion on May 19.

It will be Bayern’s 22nd German Cup final.

”The conditions are optimal,” Mueller said of the side’s remaining objectives. Bayern also faces Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes had warned before the game that Leverkusen could rival the Bavarian powerhouse for the Bundesliga title next season, but it seemed little more than platitudes as the visitors raced into a two-goal lead against his former side.

Javi Martinez scored after two minutes on a rebound after Bernd Leno blocked Thomas Mueller’s effort.

Six minutes later it was 2-0. Franck Ribery eluded two defenders and floated over a cross for Robert Lewandowski to shoot inside the far post against the retreating Leno’s direction.

Leverkusen didn’t buckle, however, and Lars Bender pulled one back shortly afterward, heading in over the helpless Sven Ulreich after a scramble.

Karim Bellarabi drew a brilliant save from Ulreich before the break but Leverkusen looked shaky in defense – especially on the wings, where Arjen Robben and Ribery were causing problems.

Kevin Volland and Bellarabi missed good chances after the break, before Mueller restored the visitors’ two-goal cushion.

Thiago Alcantara ended the home side’s hopes of a comeback on the hour-mark, minutes before Mueller grabbed his second.

Leon Bailey gave the home fans some reason to cheer with a brilliant free kick, but Mueller had the Bayern fans singing again when he claimed his third.

”We played a decent game, even if the end result is bitter for us,” Volland said.

Bayern is going for a repeat of the treble it secured in 2013 in Heynckes’ previous stint in charge. The veteran coach was coaxed back out of retirement in October for his fourth stint following Bayern’s all but forgotten lackluster start.