Created on 04-08-2015 at 19:40 PM by Chris Hamley
Audi Cup hosts Bayern are through to Wednesday’s prestige final against Real Madrid thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory over AC Milan in Tuesday evening’s second semi-final. Juan Bernat, Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski scored the goals for Pep Guardiola’s experimental line-up to set up the mouth-watering encounter with the Spanish giants, 2-0 winners over Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day.
Following tomorrow’s final, the Bavarians are in competitive action again this Sunday away to FC Nöttingen in the DFB Cup first round, before the official 2015/16 Bundesliga restart fixture on Friday 14 August when the Reds host Hamburg.
Arjen and Thiago rested
Following the strenuous Supercup showdown with Wolfsburg, Guardiola opted to rest Arjen Robben and Thiago altogether and begin with a number of senior names on the bench, handing playing time instead to a clutch of young talents. The home team started with Sven Ulreich in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng and Bernat in defence, Joshua Kimmich, Sebastian Rode, Arturo Vidal, Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg and captain Philipp Lahm in midfield, and Douglas Costa partnering Mario Götze up front.
Bernat with the opener
Before kick-off, the stadium rose in a minute’s appreciative applause for Stefan Beckenbauer, the long-serving FCB youth coach who died last weekend aged 46. Once referee Peter Sippel whistled play underway, the home team pitched camp in the Italians’ half and began diligently pressing and picking away at their deep-lying opponents.
A goal seemed only a matter of time and Bernat duly obliged with the 24th-minute opener, a fierce drive deflected unstoppably past keeper Diego Lopez by Colombia stopper Cristian Zapata. It was all Bayern but Höjbjerg’s chested effort from a Costa cross hit the outside of the post, early sub David Alaba narrowly missed the target from fully 30 yards out, the charging Costa was denied by Lopez, and Vidal came up just short with two headers, the first looping onto the crossbar from Rafinha’s diagonal pass and the second drifting wide.
With Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Mehdi Benatia on for Costa, Vidal and Boateng, Milan created their first real chance three minutes into the second half only for Carlos Bacca to shoot wide of Ulreich’s goal, before visiting skipper Nigel de Jong lashed a volley just past the post.
Xabi Alonso took over from Lahm with the armband passing to Müller, before Rafinha saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line by the impressive Zapata and Lopez saved from Bernat. Götze eventually made it two in the 74th minute with a neat left-footed finish after Lewandowski was held up on the edge of the area, with Lopez then acrobatically denying the Polish striker and young Fabian Benko replacing Götze for the last ten minutes. Lewandowski set the seal on a composed FCB performance five minutes from time, crashing home a 16-yard volley from Müller’s flipped lay-off.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley