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Hamburg 0 Bayern 0

Bayern thwarted by resilient Hamburg

Bayern dominated their 99th Bundesliga meeting with Hamburg on Saturday afternoon but the struggling northerners marked new boss Joe Zinnbauer’s first game in charge with a performance of great resilience as a high-octane encounter ended in a goalless stalemate.

The 57,000 capacity crowd at the Imtech Arena saw Pep Guardiola’s reshuffled side harried, hassled and chased by the energetic home team as the hard-fought first period produced no chances worthy of the name. HSV’s Nicolai Müller came within an ace of opening the scoring immediately after the restart but the scare galvanised the visitors and it was near one-way traffic after that. The Reds mounted a frenzied assault in the closing stages but Thomas Müller failed to put away the best opening and it remained at a point apiece.

With four matches played, the champions are now third on eight points. The games continue to come thick and fast at this stage of the season with the double winners facing the league’s two promoted clubs in the course of next week, overnight league leaders Paderborn at home on Tuesday and FC Köln in the Rhineland next Saturday.

Arjen forced to withdraw

Following the intense Champions League meeting with Manchester City in midweek, Guardiola shuffled his cards for the weekend fixture and brought in Dante, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg, Xherdan Shaqiri and Claudio Pizarro, scorer of 19 goals in 22 previous games against HSV, for the benched Xabi Alonso, Mehdi Benatia, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski.

One further planned change ultimately failed to materialise: Arjen Robben had also been due a start but the Dutchman broke down in the warm-up, with Thomas Müller stepping into the breach.

As a result the champions lined up with Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng, Dante and Juan Bernat at the back, Philipp Lahm, David Alaba and Hojbjerg in midfield, and Müller, Pizarro and Shaqiri up front.

First-half with few chances

After referee Christian Dingert whistled play underway the visitors sought to impose their superior quality on the game, but just as the likes of Guardiola, sporting director Matthias Sammer and club captain Lahm had warned, the northerners were utterly pumped in the first match under their new boss and aggressively disrupted Munich’s passing game for the first half-hour. The only real chance fell to Pizarro from Rafinha’s 20th-minute cross but the Peruvian volleyed wide of home keeper Jaroslav Drobny’s goal.

But Hamburg were forced to ease back a shade after the immense physical toil of the opening 30 minutes and FCB began to find a few yards of space. Drobny beat out Bernat’s snap shot, but the play became bogged down again and Neuer was obliged to intervene in earnest for the first time on the stroke of half-time when Zoltan Stieber swung over a deflected centre.

No way through

The second half opened with a scare for the visitors when Hamburg’s Nicolai Müller sprinted behind Dante and flicked the ball past the onrushing Neuer, but the effort dribbled wide. Guardiola sent on Alonso for Hojbjerg after 53 minutes and FCB at once created a first clear-cut opening, Drobny blocking Lahm’s shot from Shaqiri’s cross, before Alaba fired a loose ball over the bar.

All of a sudden the champions were motoring and Bernat and Thomas Müller both had goalbound efforts blocked, with Götze and Lewandowski replacing Rafinha and Shaqiri to bolster the attack on the hour. Neuer plucked Heiko Westermann’s mis-hit but dangerous looper out of the air with 68 minutes played, but it was a rare HSV incursion as Bayern camped out in their opponents’ half for the last 20 minutes.

The pressure became intense as Thomas Müller’s shot was deflected just wide and Alonso was thwarted at close range, before Hamburg brought on FCB loanee Julian Green with 15 minutes to play. Boateng attempted to crown another top performance with a long-range belter but fired wide, before Lewis Holtby lofted a shot over Neuer’s crossbar on an HSV break. Drobny made a routine save from Pizarro before Thomas Müller capitalised on a bad error by Djourou only for the defender to get a toe to the striker’s shot. Drobny clung onto Lewandowski’s dribbler and Neuer saw a yellow for a handball way outside his own box as the Reds were forced to settle for a point.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley