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Gladbach 2 Bayern 1

Depleted Reds downed in lively warm-up

Below-strength Bayern suffered their first defeat of pre-season against relegated Monchengladbach in a high-tempo encounter on Wednesday.

A goodly 45,351 crowd at Borussia Park saw new home signing Sascha Rösler blast his side into a sixth-minute lead, but resurgent Bastian Schweinsteiger equalised from a direct free-kick just short of the half-hour.

The Reds had the better of the chances throughout but the home side made more of theirs, sub Eugen Polanski coolly netting a 53rd minute penalty to frustrate the eager but luckless visitors.

Many big names absent

With a lengthy injury roster including the likes of Toni, Ribery, Van Bommel, Sosa, Ismael, Podolski, Sagnol and Fürstner, it was a makeshift Bayern line-up which took the field on a pleasant summer's evening in the Rhineland.

In the light of Saturday's first competitive fixture of the season against Bremen in the League Cup, coach Ottmar Hitzfeld had already indicated he would not risk any player who was less than 100 percent fit, handing a chance to a clutch of youngsters and second-string players.

Mats Hummels appeared out of position at left-back with Christian Lell over on the opposite side, while Andi Ottl anchored a midfield featuring Schweinsteiger in the playmaking role, flanked by Marcell Jansen and wunderkind Stefano Celozzi. Beanpole reserve hitman Sandro Wagner partnered Miro Klose up front in a trademark 4-4-2 formation.

Lively opening

Before kick-off, Borussia officially bade farewell and thanks to Jansen for 13 years' service to the club, although the home faithful treated the new Munich man to a less than charitable reception all evening.

Hummels saw a shot on the turn hit the bar as the men in red opened brightly, but Rösler's thunderbolt – with Lucio stranded up the wrong end of the field after a heavy challenge – meant Olli Kahn's first intervention was to pick the ball from the back of his net.

Impressive Schweini

Nando Rafael planted a free header straight at Kahn as Munich briefly reeled, but the Bavarians soon upped the tempo as Celozzi showed flashes of class, Schweinsteiger became an increasingly influential figure, and Klose pulled defenders this way and that, although the World Cup top scorer will have been disappointed not to do better from close range after 17 minutes.

'Schweini' it was who struck a deserved 29th minute leveller with a curling free-kick, before both he and Ottl came close in a flurry of action in the run-up to the interval, although Bayern were fortunate when Oliver Neuville missed a sitter on the stroke of half-time.

Deserted by fortune

Michael Rensing, Martin Demichelis and Ze Roberto replaced Kahn, Lucio and Klose at the break, before Hamit Altintop and youthful debutant Viktor Bopp took over from the subdued Jansen and Schweinsteiger on 65 minutes.

Unfortunately for Munich, Borussia sub Polanski had restored his side's lead from the penalty spot in between times after referee Seemann ruled that Demichelis had upended the menacing Rösler in the box.

Reds denied

Rattled by falling behind and responding to Ze's promptings, Bayern now laid siege to the Borussia goal, but a combination of bad luck, brave defending and Wagner's extraordinary feat of firing wide from a yard out denied the visitors a deserved equaliser.

Both sides had chances in a breathless last act to an unusually entertaining game for this stage of pre-season, but Borussia substitute keeper and former Munich man Uwe Gospodarek thwarted Ze's mazy dribble in a move symptomatic of Bayern's failure to find a ruthless finish on the night.

Reporting from Borussia Park for Chris Hamley