presented by
FC Nöttingen 1 FC Bayern 3

Cup favourites ease into second round

Bayern made light of the blistering heat in the south-west of Germany on Sunday afternoon and lived up to their role as overwhelming favourites with a routine but entertaining victory over the plucky part-timers of fifth-tier FC Nöttingen in Sunday’s DFB Cup first round tie.

The 29,486 full house at Karlsruhe’s Wildparkstadion saw Arturo Vidal net an early penalty for Pep Guardiola’s men, only for Niklas Hecht-Zirpel to send the home fans into raptures with a shock equaliser. Mario Götze instantly restored the lead and Robert Lewandowski added a third midway through the first period, but the courageous amateurs refused to buckle for a long spell and came away with great credit from their big day against one of the world’s best cubs.

The Bavarians return to action at home to Hamburg in the official 2015/16 Bundesliga restart fixture on Friday, with the draw for the second round of the cup taking place at the Allianz Arena after the final whistle.

Starts for Ulreich and Kimmich

Guardiola made four changes to the team that beat Real Madrid in the Audi Cup final last Wednesday with Sven Ulreich, Joshua Kimmich, Juan Bernat and Lewandowski replacing Manuel Neuer, Mehdi Benatia, Xabi Alonso and Thomas Müller. That foursome took seats on the bench alongside Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg and fit-again duo Arjen Robben and Dante, with Sebastian Rode, Gianluca Gaudino and Julian Green not making the squad on this occasion.

The record cup winners began with Ulreich in goal, Rafinha, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba in a back three, Kimmich and captain Philipp Lahm in midfield, and a formidable front five of Arturo Vidal, Götze, Douglas Costa, Bernat and Lewandowski.

Nöttingen boss Michael Wittwer, who played 145 Bundesliga matches for Karlsruhe between 1989 and 1998 and came up against FC Bayern eight times in total, sent out a side largely comprising students and apprentices but also including an HR manager and insurance salesman.

First-half fireworks

Only four minutes had gone before referee Robert Kampka was pointing to the Nöttingen spot following Felix Zachmann’s clear handball in the box, Vidal stepping up to convert the penalty and open his account for Germany’s most successful club. But the amateurs resisted bravely and triggered an explosion of ecstasy among their followers on 16 minutes when Hecht-Zirpel met Michael Schürg’s intelligent cut-back and finished at the second attempt after Ulreich could only parry the student teacher’s first effort.

The reply came just 60 seconds later when Götze fashioned a yard of space on the edge of the box and bent an unstoppable shot past FCN keeper Robin Kraski, before Lewandowski made it 3-1 from close range on 26 minutes. Order had been restored, but for all FCB’s dominance of possession the minnows defended stoutly and gilt-edged chances were hard to come by through to the break.

Toil in the heat

Hojbjerg replaced Vidal for the second half but the first real chance fell to FCN when Ulreich needed two attempts at controlling Mario Bilger’s long-range shot. Lahm gave way to Robben ten minutes after the restart and the Dutchman added a new dose of vim to his team’s attacking efforts, but it was not until the 63rd minute that Götze drew a sharp save from Kraski.

With Dante replacing Kimmich for Bayern, the home team visibly began to tire in the last quarter of an hour and both Costa and Lewandowski went close, but FCN never gave up and Ulreich made a good block from the onrushing Schürg. The crowd kept on singing and spirits remained upbeat to the end on a festival day for Nöttingen and a solid job of work by the champions.

Live match report for by Chris Hamley