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Rot-Weiss Erfurt 3 Bayern 4

Holders pushed all the way by plucky Erfurt

13-times DFB Cup winners Bayern finally overcame third division Erfurt by the odd goal in seven as the Klinsmann era got off to a winning start in a classic first-round thriller.

The 24,500 capacity crowd at the Steigerwaldstadion in the Thuringia state capital were still taking their seats when Philipp Lahm brilliantly handed the holders a sixth-minute lead, but Massimo Cannizzaro equalised midway through the first half after earlier hitting a post as the home side made a real fist of it.

Seven-goal thriller

Lukas Podolski immediately restored Bayern’s lead, but the visitors were never fully comfortable against the energetic minnows and half-time sub Albert Bunyaku levelled it up again just two minutes after the restart. Miroslav Klose prodded home from close range to edge the Bavarians back in front, but still the underdogs refused to lay down and die, the impressive Bunyaku netting a third equaliser with twenty minutes to go.

Toni Kroos finally broke the home side’s resistance with Bayern’s fourth ten minutes from time, but the men from Munich still had a scare or two to survive before claiming a place in the second round.

Dream start

In the absence of Toni (calf), Ribery (ankle), Demichelis (calf), Sagnol (Achilles) and summer signings Borowski (knee) and Butt (sprain), and with Breno and Sosa absent at the Olympics, Jürgen Klinsmann’s like-up more or les picked itself, although Kroos’ selection ahead of Bastian Schweinsteiger rated as a minor surprise.

The talented youngster soon justified his place in the starting line-up with an intelligent chip to release Lahm as the Erfurt defence pushed up in search of an offside call. The Germany full-back coolly rounded home keeper Dirk Orlishausen and slotted into the empty net.

Tight first half

However, the third division side are already two games into their season, and that advantage was apparent as the Bundesliga giants were forced onto the back foot by Erfurt’s greater fluency and snap in the tackle.

Christian Lell deflected Cannizzaro’s 12th-minute shot onto the post with Michael Rensing utterly wrong-footed, but the Italian went one better and levelled at the near post after Tiago Rockenbach da Silva streaked down the inside-right channel on 22 minutes.

The stadium announcer was still gleefully hailing the equaliser when Hamit Altintop’s neat backheel released Podolski for the striker to steady himself and blast home right-footed, referee Florian Meyer remaining unmoved despite the home team’s claims of a foul by Klose in the build-up. Munich were content to contain the home side now without creating much by way of chances for themselves, and the sides turned round with the favourites 2-1 up.

Goals galore

Schweinsteiger replaced Altintop for the second period but it was Erfurt sub Bunjaku who made an immediate impact, beating Daniel van Buyten to veteran Thorsten Judt’s diagonal ball and steering past Rensing to level the scores.

Bayern showed much more urgency for a spell and were rewarded after 57 minutes when Klose was on hand to mop up after Orlishausen failed to hold Ze Roberto’s firm header, but still the third division side refused to capitulate and the game developed a thrilling end to end character.

Swiss hitman Bunjaku stunned the holders with a third equaliser from Cannizzaro’s incisive pass after 67 minutes, but Ze and Schweinsteiger now came close with snap shots, and when Orlishausen could only parry Lell’s 80th-minute drive, Kroos brilliantly smacked home the rebound to set his side on the road to the second round once and for all, although the excitement continued right until the end as Cannizzaro spooned the last chance of the game into the crowd from just a couple of yards.

Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley