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Hat-trick could score Gómez top spot against Barcelona

Klaus Bergman

Mario Gómez's hat-trick has probably put him in the starting line-up for Bayern Munich's Champions League duel next week against Barcelona.

Mario Gómez. (AFP)

This, after Gómez's six-minute hat-trick nine minutes into his substitution on Tuesday's 6-1 German Cup semifinal demolition of Wolfsburg.

With first-choice striker Mario Mandžukić suspended for Tuesday's first-leg match in Munich, Gómez is vying with Claudio Pizarro for a place in the starting line-up.

Pizarro rather than Gómez came on for Mandžukić to score in Bayern's 2-0 win at Juventus in the previous Champions League round, although both started in Saturday's 4-0 defeat of Nuremberg.

On Tuesday, it was Gómez's turn to come off the bench for Mandžukić, taking just three minutes to score in the 80th minute before adding two more in the 83rd and 86th minutes to help book Bayern a place in the final in Berlin on June 1.

"Gómez gigantic" was a headline the Wednesday's Bild newspaper, which said it normally did not give marks to late substitutes but this time was awarding Germany's striker the top mark for "world class."

Gómez, who has a contract with Bayern until 2016, has been frustrated by his role this season as a substitute, and left the ground without comment.

'He is a top man'
"He was quietly happy. He is a top man," coach Jupp Heynckes, while teammates also praised the player who scored 26 goals in 33 games last season.

"Sensational," said captain Philipp Lahm, while Thomas Müller said: "That's outstanding. We know his qualities. If he has room then the net rattles," he said.

The Gómez hat-trick was not quite the quickest in Bayern history: Carsten Jancker scored three within five minutes in a record 16-1 victory over lower league DJK Waldberg in the cup in 1997.

Record 15-time cup winners Bayern are now in their 19th cup final, meeting either VfB Stuttgart or Freiburg who play on Wednesday, with Mandžukić, Arjen Robben and Xherdan Shaqiri also on target.

Gómez was not the only stand-out figure: Switzerland's 21-year-old midfielder Shaqiri, starting for the suspended Franck Ribery, was the pick of the Bayern team to earn a "world-class" accolade from sports director Matthias Sammer.

"The whole team is in great shape," Shaqiri said.

"It's been a wonderful evening. We were utterly determined to make the final, and we're there. We put in a really good performance, had the game under control, and we've deservedly made the final."

'We were hit on the break'
Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking was left ruing individual mistakes in a team performance which was better than the scoreline suggested.

"We were hit on the break for three of the first four goals. But Bayern are ruthless and it's hard to defend against that," he said.

"What remains is the 6-1 scoreline, two or three goals too many in my opinion." – Sapa-dpa

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