Created on 01-08-2014 at 16:49 PM
Robert Lewandowski. Franck Ribéry. Claudio Pizarro. David Alaba. All of them big names in world football. It's all very well watching them on TV, but witnessing these stars ply their trade from just a few yards away is another thing altogether. “Awesome!” declared a patently thrilled local Bayern fan clad in a Germany replica shirt, as he watched events unfold at the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Thursday evening. “It's a shame Schweinsteiger and Müller can't be here, but luckily you have so many unbelievable players,” the fan told fcbayern.de.
Bayern’s first friendly match on the Audi Summer Tour 2014 was a huge success. “It's wonderful to see how enthusiastic the fans are,” said sporting director Matthias Sammer after FCB’s 1–0 victory over CD Guadalajara in the Audi Football Summit. “I think football definitely has real potential here,” observed Sebastian Rode. Alaba was just as pleased: “We're enjoying being here and there were lots of Bayern fans. It's great to feel this level of support in America.”
A crowd of more than 25,000 flocked to the stadium and ESPN broadcast the match live. Even in the absence of the Germany World Cup winners, Arjen Robin and Dante, Bayern showed they are “heading in the right direction” in the pre-season period, as goalscorer Pizarro said. Coach Pep Guardiola praised his team for a “very good” performance. “We were tired and it wasn't easy because of jetlag. I'm proud of my lads.”
Chivas certainly proved a tough test for the German double winners. The Mexicans are already up and running in their domestic league and took the so-called friendly encounter very seriously – too seriously at times, Pizarro thought: “It got a bit tasty from time to time,” the Peru veteran said. Bayern, again lining up with a three-man rearguard, ultimately deserved to claim the Audi Cup awarded to the winners.
Guardiola’s praise for Gaudino
Unfortunately, Julian Green was unable to feature due to a knee problem. “It's a shame, because I know how much the crowd was looking forward to seeing him,” Guardiola remarked. Against that, Gianluca Gaudino may only be 17 but showed “huge talent. It would be hard for a young player to do better than he's done in our friendly matches,” Guardiola enthused.
Promising starlet Gaudino stands a very good chance of playing a part in the MLS All-Star Game on 6 August when FCB take on a Major League Soccer XI. The missing World Cup participants will be present in Portland but will certainly be in no position to turn in a top performance. “I'm taking it as it comes,” reflected Gaudino, “the chance to experience all this is just massive.” That was a feeling shared by the boisterous New Jersey crowd.