Created on 17-09-2014 at 22:34 PM
Bayern left it late on Wednesday night but former Manchester City man Jerome Boateng struck in the last minute as the German double winners opened their 2014/15 Champions League campaign with an ultimately deserved victory over their English counterparts in an always absorbing encounter in Munich.
The 68,000 full house at the Allianz Arena saw an entertaining contest between two patently good teams in the first half, with Pep Guardiola’s men shading it in terms of chances and possession but failing to take the lead they deserved. City stiffened up after the break and the Bavarians found the going tough at times, but Boateng crowned a late rally with a belter into the corner of the net to seal the win.
There is no pause for breath at this stage of the season as Bayern return to action in the Bundesliga with the trip to Hamburg on Saturday, before promoted Paderborn visit the Allianz on Tuesday 23 September.
Rafinha returns, debut for Benatia
FCB boss Guardiola was without Bastian Schweinsteiger, Franck Ribéry, Javi Martínez, Thiago and Holger Badstuber, although Arjen Robben was fit enough for a place on the bench. Rafinha was available for the first time this season and started the game, with Juan Bernat making his maiden Champions League appearance and centre-back Medhi Benatia celebrating his debut for the Reds. It meant the line-up showed a total of two changes compared to the league victory over Stuttgart, with Dante and Badstuber giving way to Rafinha and Benatia.
Bayern began with Neuer in goal and Jerome Boateng, Benatia and David Alaba in a back three, with Xabi Alonso in the anchor role. The midfield comprised Rafinha, Philipp Lahm, Götze, Thomas Müller and Bernat, with Robert Lewandowski as the target man.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini, who watched from the stands due to a touchline ban carried over from last season, made four changes to the team held 2-2 by Arsenal at the weekend, with Bacary Sagna, Yaya Touré, Samir Nasri and Edin Dzeko replacing Pablo Zabaleta (suspended), Frank Lampard, James Milner and Sergio Agüero.
FCB on top in first half
After Spanish referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco whistled play underway on a fine late summer evening in the Bavarian capital, Guardiola’s men created a huge chance with just 40 seconds on the clock: Götze found Lewandowski, who back-heeled into the path of Müller. The striker rounded City keeper Joe Hart but lost his footing under a suspiciously late challenge from Gael Clichy and could only steer the ball into the side-netting.
Former Wolfsburg striker Dzeko warmed Neuer’s gloves and Hart saved very well from Müller’s diving header as the sides felt each other out in the first 20 minutes, but the German double winners wrestled control of the contest after that and created a string of chances.
Boateng aimed a shade too high, Hart made a big save from Götze, Alaba fired wide and then saw a stinging drive beaten out by the City keeper, and Lewandowski emulated Müller with a shot into the side-netting on 36 minutes when a goal looked the more likely outcome.
The visitors were on the back foot but were always going to fashion a few openings with such quality up front. However, Dzeko missed with a curler and then dragged a shot wide on the half-hour, before Sagna drew a sharp save from Neuer five minutes before the end of the goalless first half.
Jerome at the death
Munich kept up the pressure after the restart but again failed to make the most of their chances. Lahm’s teasing effort drifted wide, Hart palmed away Götze’s snap shot, and although the keeper misjudged Rafinha’s lofted cross, he redeemed himself with a good tip-over to deny Bernat from the loose ball. Fernandinho appeared to handle on the line from the ensuing corner but the referee was not impressed, before Hart spilled a Rafinha drive and escaped with a life as the onrushing Müller was ruled offside.
The Germany striker gave way to Robben for the last quarter of an hour and the Dutchman immediately had a shout for a penalty, before Guardiola sent on veteran Claudio Pizarro and Dante in place of Rafinha and Benatia for the closing stages. Hart easily claimed Pizza’s looping header and then dived to tip aside Boateng’s fulminating drive as the Reds went for it at the end, before the former City man sealed a deserved three points with the spectacular last-gasp winner. There was still time for sub Sergio Agüero almost to nick a point for the Sky Blues in the dying seconds, but the Argentine’s shot went wide and FCB took the victory.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley