Created on 30-08-2013 at 22:38 PM
Treble winners Bayern added a first UEFA Super Cup to their collection with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over Chelsea in Prague on Friday night, after an always absorbing 39th edition of the traditional contest between the Champions League and Europa League winners turned into a thriller, with a sending off, chances at both ends, and a truly last-gasp Bayern equaliser seven seconds from the end of time added on at the end of extra-time.
The 21,000 capacity crowd at Eden Arena in the Golden City saw Fernando Torres shock Pep Guardiola’s men with an eighth-minute opener for José Mourinho’s side, and although FCB enjoyed most of the possession, the Premier League team defended stoutly and were always dangerous on the break.
Franck Ribery brought the fired-up Reds back on terms two minutes after the restart and Munich had their opponents on the rack for a time, but Chelsea fought their way back into it in a finely-poised second period. The Blues lost Ramires after 85 minutes to a second yellow card for a nasty foul on Mario Götze, but Mourinho’s men were undeterred and Eden Hazard skilfully restored his side’s lead four minutes into extra-time.
Munich now launched a relentless onslaught on the Chelsea goal, and although keeper Petr Cech made a string of outstanding saves, Javi Martinez deservedly equalised with the very last kick of extra-time. Manuel Neuer was Bayern’s shootout hero, saving the tenth and last penalty from Romelu Lukaku to seal one of Munich’s ‘missing trophies’ after a great night of football.
The treble winners have one more match before the international break, Sunday’s fund-raiser in Passau for victims of the summer flooding in Bavaria, and return to action in the Bundesliga at home to Hannover on Saturday 14 September.
Lahm in midfield
Compared to Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Freiburg, boss Guardiola made six changes to his team, with the likes of Daniel van Buyten, Xherdan Shaqiri and Mario Götze starting on the bench. Bastian Schweinsteiger did not even make it that far, as the medical staff judged the midfielder’s sprained ankle not yet strong enough to be risked in a big match. With Thiago a long-term casualty and Martinez still recovering fitness, captain Philipp Lahm deputised in the holding role.
It meant FCB began with Manuel Neuer in goal, and Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Dante and David Alaba in the back four behind Lahm. Arjen Robben and freshly crowned Best Player in Europe Ribery played out wide, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos took up station in the centre, and Mario Mandzukic returned at centre-forward.
Chelsea boss Mourinho included Germany international André Schürrle in his line-up, with long-serving stalwart Cech in goal, veteran skipper Frank Lampard pulling the midfield strings, and Torres, Hazard and Brazil hitman Oscar looking to make life difficult for Dante and Co.
After a brief opening ceremony, the teams paraded from the tunnel with the Champions League and Europe League trophies, before Swedish match official Jonas Eriksson set in motion a brisk opening spell, in which Mandzukic headed wide and Ribery dragged a shot across goal, but Chelsea struck to devastating effect on the break when Schürrle crossed for Torres to crash an unstoppable volley past Neuer on eight minutes.
FCB sought an immediate response and the bulk of the play was in the Blues’ half, but Lahm shot straight at Cech, who then saved at Müller’s feet. David Luiz rescued his keeper with a desperate lunge, but Cech needed no help in making a superb diving save to turn aside Ribery’s low 20-yard drive.
On the half hour, the Frenchman angled a shot just wide of the far post, but Schürrle and Torres were a threat when the west London side did get forward, and the Spain striker aimed only just too high from a tight angle. The entire Munich midfield combined well to set up Ribery after 35 minutes, but the Frenchman’s curler was well off-target. Robben then released Müller with a lovely lay-off, but Tim Cahill deflected the striker’s effort into the side-netting. Bayern continued to press and Robben tested Cech before Mr Eriksson blew for half-time.
Guardiola clearly found the right words at the break as Munich emerged for the second half in buoyant mood and were level on 47 minutes, Ribery lashing a drive past Cech from outside the box after good work by Kroos. The France star then skimmed an audacious volley from a looping Müller cross narrowly wide of the far post, and Robben just got underneath Ribery’s cunning free-kick variant, before Martinez took over from Rafinha after 56 minutes, with Lahm reverting to full-back.
It was all Bayern around the hour mark as the Reds pressed the Blues back into their own half, but the London side’s attacking pace could never be disregarded and Neuer made a huge save after 64 minutes when Dante slipped and Oscar fired goalwards, Lampard putting the rebound into the crowd. Ashley Cole nicked the ball off Müller’s toe with the striker set to score and Robben volleyed wide, but Neuer was in action again to save from Hazard as the pendulum swung the other way for a spell.
Götze replaced Müller for the last twenty minutes, with Kroos smacking a shot just past the post and Boateng firing straight at Cech, but at the other end big Serb Branislav Ivanovic crashed a header off the crossbar after a corner. Luiz diverted Kroos’ shot over the bar, and Neuer saved from the Brazilian, before Ramires was dismissed in the 85th minute for a second bookable offence after putting an upturned boot through Götze. Ribery shot wide after a fine exchange of passes with Robben, but it ended level after 90 minutes.
Javi and Manuel the heroes
Hazard’s fine solo and clinical finish in the 94th minute swung the balance back Chelsea’s way, with Shaqiri now taking over from Robben, but Cech clawed away the Swiss starlet’s first effort. Bayern swarmed around the Blues’ box but Luiz and Co stood firm and there was no way through in the first half of the additional 30 minutes.
With time running out, Guardiola’s men laid siege to the Chelsea goal, only for Cech to save brilliantly from Mandzukic and Martinez in quick succession. In a frantic finish, Shaq was denied just yards from goal, Alaba shanked wide from 20 yards, Cech saved Götze’s prod and a superb Ribery free-kick, and Boateng’s drive narrowly cleared the bar. The cause seemed lost, but with a mere seven seconds of extra-time stoppage time remaining, Martinez latched onto Dante’s knock-down and crashed the deserved equaliser past Cech.
In the shootout, the first in 39 editions of the Super Cup, the first nine penalties were all converted, by Alaba, Kroos, Lahm, Ribery and Shaqiri for Bayern, and by Luiz, Oscar, Lampard and Cole for the Blues. But young Belgian Lukaku struck a weak spot-kick too close to Neuer, and the trophy which had seemed destined to slip from Munich's grasp for the fourth time in their history was after all hoisted into the Prague night sky by Lahm shortly afterwards.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley