Created on 01-08-2015 at 22:22 PM by Chris Hamley
After defeat in the last two German Supercup finals, reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern were agonisingly denied a return to winning ways in the traditional pre-season curtain-raiser on Saturday night with a penalty shootout defeat to DFB Cup winners and league runners-up VfL Wolfsburg. A good-quality contest had earlier ended 1-1, with the Wolves cancelling out Arjen Robben’s opener just a minute from time.
The 30,000 capacity crowd at the VW Arena and the millions watching around the world saw a brisk first period with the visitors initially in the ascendancy. Jerome Boateng hit the bar early on but the Wolves clawed their way into it and Kevin De Bruyne missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring before half-time.
Arjen Robben broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart to put FCB in the driving seat, with star newcomer Arturo Vidal making his Munich debut as a 74th-minute sub. The Reds looked set for victory but Niklas Bendtner levelled it up with a minute to go and the game went to penalties, where Xabi Alonso saw his effort saved by Koen Casteels in a 5-4 shootout victory for the Wolves.
The Bavarians are back in action next 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.
Debut for Costa
Marquee signing Vidal took a seat on the bench as Pep Guardiola handed Brazilian newcomer Douglas Costa a competitive debut for his new club. The champions lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, David Alaba, Mehdi Benatia, Jerome Boateng and captain Philipp Lahm in defence, Alonso and Thiago in holding roles, Robben and Costa on the flanks, and Thomas Müller in behind centre-forward Robert Lewandowski.
Jerome denied, level at the break
After referee Marco Fritz whistled play underway on a fine evening in Lower Saxony, Costa was soon causing havoc down the left and Alonso scuffed wide from a good position, but Boateng was simply unlucky when his eighth-minute effort after a corner smacked against the Wolves’ crossbar.
At the other end Vieirinha came close with a drive and Ivan Perisic warmed Neuer’s gloves before putting a header wide, but Guardiola’s men largely held the upper hand and Costa almost applied the finishing touch after Müller brilliantly released Lewandowski.
However, the cup winners fought back and Neuer had to look very sharp indeed to tip away Benatia’s misdirected clearance from a Perisic centre, before a big let-off for the champions on 40 minutes when De Bruyne steered wide of an open goal after flicking the ball over the Bayern keeper.
Arjen on target
The second half opened with a bang when Boateng’s raking pass and Costa’s fine first touch and angled pass caused Wolves keeper Casteels to spill the ball under pressure from Lewandowski, Robben arriving at just the right moment to net the loose ball for the 49th-minute opener. The home side sought a response but Neuer superbly stood his ground against Bas Dost with the Dutch marksman clean through, and Guardiola’s men tightened up for a long spell after that, preventing the league runners-up creating any chances worthy of the name.
After Wolves boss Dieter Hecking sent on three fresh strikers for the last 20 minutes, Guardiola reacted by replacing Lewandowski and Thiago with Rafinha and new boy Vidal. Neuer dropped onto Vieirinha’s snap shot and made a comfortable save, with Mario Götze taking over from Müller for the last six minutes. However, there was to be a late shock for Bayern when Wolves sub Bendtner levelled on 89 minutes with a near-post flick from the galloping De Bruyne’s cross, sending the game into a shootout and the agony of a narrow defeat.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley