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Rostock rescue mission

FCB hit four in fund-raiser for stricken Hansa

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Even at the end of an intense 11-day period with countless punishing workouts and a string of friendly matches, Bayern still proved too strong for third-tier FC Hansa Rostock on Sunday afternoon, as the treble winners triumphed 4-0 in a benefit match at the DKB Arena in front of a capacity 28,000 crowd. Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller and Mario Mandzukic scored the goals for the Bavarians.

A year ago, Germany’s biggest club agreed to play a fund-raising match against financially stricken Hansa, waiving all fees and expenses. “We’re unbelievably grateful to FC Bayern,” commented Rostock chairman Michael Dahlmann, “this match is an incredible help.” Proceeds from the game will total around €1 million, securing Hansa’s licence to contest the new third division season. “And it’s a good test for us too,” added FCB board member for sport Matthias Sammer.

For the friendly encounter on the Baltic coast, Pep Guardiola again sent out his side in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Toni Kroos reprising his role from the previous day in Großaspach as the solitary holding midfielder. Against the club where he spent the bulk of his youth, the 23-year-old captained the treble winners for the first time. Regular captain Lahm, who relinquished the armband in favour of Kroos, broke new ground on the field too, as he started on the right of the attacking midfield line.

All-round ace Ribéry

As expected, Bayern saw the lion’s share of the ball in the early stages. Rostock energetically attempted to close down space in their half of the field, but Guardiola’s men were passing crisply and chances began to come. Hansa keeper Johannes Brinkies pulled off last-ditch saves from Müller (12th minute) and his own centre-back Steven Ruprecht (17), before Müller directed a header over the bar (18).

The visitors took a deserved lead on 20 minutes, Lahm ghosting in at the far post to convert a Ribery cross. Müller was thwarted as he shaped to double the lead two minutes later, but the second goal arrived on 24 minutes when Claudio Pizarro teed up Ribéry for a low 18-yard drive past Brinkies.

Rostock fightback

The bulk of the action took place in the Hansa half, although Manuel Neuer was twice called upon to cut out dangerous diagonal passes (27, 40). At the other end, Shaqiri (34) and Jérôme Boateng (35) tried their luck from distance but missed the target.

At the start of the second half, Mandzukic replaced Pizarro and Arjen Robben came on for Rafinha, allowing Lahm to return to his normal duties at full-back. Guardiola made a raft of changes after the hour mark, by which time Rostock’s best phase had come and gone: Neuer made one excellent save from a Halil Savran header (55), before Tommy Grupe’s long-range shot ballooned into the crowd (56).

Weary Bayern

Bayern reasserted control over the match after that, although the strenuous training of recent days began to take its toll and the pace dropped for a while. The Bavarians still had a couple more goals in them, Müller latching onto Mandzukic’ 75th-minute headed lay-off and netting with a fine shot on the turn, before Mandzukic himself rounded off the scoring two minutes from time, stabbing home the rebound after Hansa’s second-half keeper Jörg Hahnel fumbled an indirect Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg free-kick.