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Prestige victory

Charities gain as FCB claim Uli Hoeneß Cup

Bayern claimed the Uli Hoeneß Cup on Wednesday evening with a deserved 2-0 victory in a prestige home meeting against Barcelona, although the most important dimension to the match was less the result and more the substantial sum raised for the Bayern president’s favoured charities.

The 71,137 full house at the Allianz Arena saw a pleasingly open contest from the off, with the home side having much the better of the play and taking a deserved lead after 14 minutes through captain Philipp Lahm, nodding home what the stats section thought might be his first-ever headed goal for the club. Both coaches used half-time and the second half to take a look at their subs’ benches and the goalmouth action became sporadic, but Mario Mandzukic made sure of the victory with Bayern’s second on 87 minutes.

For the reunion with his former club, Pep Guardiola made three changes to the side from Sunday’s Telekom Cup final victory over Gladbach, with Manuel Neuer, Dante and David Alaba replacing Tom Starke, Daniel van Buyten and Diego Contento. The boss retained his currently favoured 4-1-4-1 formation without a recognised centre-forward and with Lahm in midfield.

FCB started with Neuer in goal, a back four of Rafinha, Jerome Boateng Dante and Alaba, former Barça man Thiago nominally in the holding role, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos, Lahm and Franck Ribery in attacking midfield, and Müller as a false nine.

Barcelona were coached by assistant Jordi Roura, as new boss Gerardo Martino is not officially due to take the helm until Friday. The Catalans were also lacking their Spain internationals and star summer signing Neymar, but the matchday squad still featured 12 senior players, spearheaded by Messi and including the likes of Mascherano, Adriano, Song and Sanchez.

Once referee Felix Brych whistled play underway, Messi was in the thick of the action immediately, curling a shot just wide of Neuer’s right-hand post with a mere 30 seconds on the clock, but Kroos soon warmed Barça keeper Jose Manuel Pinto’s gloves with a solid drive. Ribery set up Robben on four minutes but Adriano blocked with the goal gaping, before Alaba drew a fine save from Pinto with a left-footed snap shot.

The Champions League holders took the lead when Ribery floated in a delightful cross from the left, Lahm timing his run perfectly and flicking a looping header over Pinto to open the scoring. It was no less than Bayern deserved, but Barça should have levelled on 18 minutes when Sergi Roberto showed neat feet to create a point-blank shooting chance, only for the youngster to drag the chance wide.

Müller cracked a drive off the top of the bar, Dante saw his header deflected wide, and Adriano again pooped the party as Robben and Müller combined sweetly, but the Catalans stifled the play now and the sides turned round with the score 1-0.

Both coaches used the break and the early stages of the second half to field practically all their substitutes, putting an end to the entertaining ebb and flow of the first period, and the hour mark had arrived when Alaba cleverly found Ribery, who tested Barcelona reserve keeper Oier from a tight angle, before Thiago aimed too close to the new shot-stopper.

Oier turned from villain to hero in the space of a few seconds after 63 minutes when he passed straight to Ribery, who immediately picked out sub Mandzukic. The Croat shot at goal but the Barça keeper made amends for his error with a good block. Oier saved from Contento and Alaba in the closing stages, before Mandzukic slotted home from a Contento lay-off with three minutes left to complete an ultimately deserved victory.

Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley