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FC Augsburg 1 Bayern 0

Below-par champions slip to first defeat

Bayern lost in the Bundesliga for the first time this season and suffered their first league defeat since October 2012 as a line-up featuring an exotic blend of seasoned experience and callow youth fell to the only goal of the game away to feisty FC Augsburg on Saturday. It means the Reds’ record unbeaten streak stops at 53 top-flight games, and it was also the first time in 56 Bundesliga fixtures that FCB have not scored at least once. However, with so many regulars rested, the result is unlikely to have any impact on Wednesday’s crucial Champions League quarter-final return at home to Manchester United.

The 30,660 full house at the SGL Arena saw reshuffled Munich turn in an unusually hesitant first-half display and fall behind to Sascha Mölders’ 31st-minute strike. Pep Guardiola’s team looked a different proposition after the break and laid siege to the Augsburg goal, but it was not to be as the champions’ luck ran out.

The result means FCB remain on 78 points from 29 matches, 23 clear of second-placed Dortmund with BVB in action in the evening. The Bavarians now turn their full focus to the midweek European showdown and the prospect of a place in the last four of the continent’s elite club competition.

Trio make start debuts

Just like last week, Guardiola made seven changes to his team and also took the opportunity to blood the most promising youngsters at the club. Top talents Mitch Weiser, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Ylli Sallahi all made starting debuts for the senior team, while in the injury-enforced absence of backup keepers Tom Starke and Lukas Raeder, Leopold Zingerle took a seat on the bench just five days short of his 20th birthday. He was joined in the dugout by David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Mario Götze, Dante and Thomas Müller, with Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Philipp Lahm excused matchday duty altogether.

It meant the champions lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Weiser, Daniel van Buyten, Javi Martinez and Sallahi in the back four, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos in central midfield, Xherdan Shaqiri and Hojbjerg on the flanks, and Claudio Pizarro in the hole behind Mario Mandzukic.

Highly-regarded Augsburg boss Markus Weinzierl, an ex-FCB man who is front-runner for the vacant head coach position at Leverkusen following Sami Hyypia’s dismissal in the morning, himself sent out a makeshift line-up after losing six regulars to injury or suspension, including prolific strike pair Andre Hahn and Tobias Werner.

Champions trail at half-time

Just two minutes after referee Manuel Gräfe blew for kick-off, Neuer had to look sharp to turn aside Matthias Ostrzolek’s rasping daisy-cutter, with Shaqiri bending the visitors’ first chance just wide, Mölders shooting tamely at Neuer, and Kroos dragging a volley off target after 15 minutes.

By the midpoint of the half Bayern had the game better under control, but lively Augsburg were causing the reshaped defence problems at times and Neuer made a great save on 26 minutes to deny Halil Altintop at point-blank range. The home side had sniffed blood and Daniel Baier set up the 31st-minute opener, robbing Weiser on the left and slipping a pass behind Martinez for Mölders to curl a left-foot shot past Neuer and in at the far post.

FCB looked for a swift response but Schweinsteiger ballooned a free-kick over the bar and Hojbjerg failed to get purchase on a decent chance from 15 yards, the ball failing to trouble home keeper Marvin Hitz as the sides turned round with Weinzierl’s men a goal up.

Onslaught unrewarded

Götze took over from Shaqiri for the second half and FCB were a side transformed, Mandzukic heading Sallahi’s cross narrowly wide and Martinez steering a header over the bar. Alaba replaced Sallahi and Neuer was in action again to block from Alexander Esswein, before Hojbjerg’s ten-yard effort was deflected wide and the 18-year-old fizzed a drive just too high from the ensuing corner. The Dane was proving a real handful now and FCA defender Jeong-Ho Hong was booked for hauling the youngster down as he sped towards the box, Alaba firing the resulting free-kick wide of the upright.

Guardiola made his third change on the hour with Müller replacing Pizarro, before Munich’s best chance of the game so far when Alaba crashed a 20-yard drive against the post on 68 minutes. The men in red set up camp in the final third as the game moved into the last 20 minutes, with Mandzukic flicking a header across the face of goal, Hitz saving bravely at Müller’s feet, Götze whistling a shot past the post, and Van Buyten heading over the bar.

Munich threw everyone forward in the hectic closing minutes and Raul Bobadilla hit Neuer’s post on the break, but despite a string of half-chances and scrambles in the box, Munich tasted league defeat for the first time this term.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley