FC Bayern opened the Telekom Cup 2017 with a deserved victory over hosts Fortuna Düsseldorf on Saturday afternoon, although the Bundesliga leaders required penalties to make the final after dominating the 45-minute contest but hitting the woodwork twice. The World’s Best Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer saved two of the home team’s spot-kicks to ensure justice was done in the opening match.
For the first of the Reds’ two matches on the day, coach Carlo Ancelotti fielded a strong line-up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Javi Martínez, David Alaba and Juan Bernat in defence, Joshua Kimmich, Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal in midfield, and Franck Ribéry, Thomas Müller and Douglas Costa in attack.
Just six men took places on the FCB bench due to a number of absentees: Thiago and Jerome Boateng with injury, Kingsley Coman due to a lack of match fitness, and Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski with illness.
Reds out of luck but clinical in shootout
Once referee Sven Waschitzki whistled the game underway under the Esprit Arena’s closed roof and on a freshly-laid pitch, a lively start produced half chances at both ends before the Bavarians created the first clear-cut opening in the eighth minute only for Alexander Madlung to divert Ribery’s shot past the post when the Frenchman only had former FCB keeper Michael Rensing to beat.
It was all Munich after that with Vidal rattling Rensing’s crossbar on the quarter-hour and drawing a fingertip save from the home keeper midway through the game, but despite Ribery’s inventive contributions down the inside left channel, the home side threw bodies and legs in the way of FCB’s attempted finishes.
Rensing beat out Alaba’s 30th-minute free-kick and the keeper dealt comfortably with Costa’s drilled effort, but Ribéry was plain unlucky to see his 38th-minute shot come back off the post as Ancelotti’s men piled on the pressure. It was to no avail as the second division side clung on for the draw and the ensuing shootout, where Neuer showed all his class and Bayern’s takers clinically despatched their spot-kicks to ensure a merited win.
Chris Hamley reporting from the Esprit Arena for fcbayern.com
Fortuna Düsseldorf - FC Bayern 0-0 (FCB win 4-1 on penalties)
Rensing - Schmitz, Akpoguma, Bormuth, Schauerte - Bodzek - Sobottka – Hennings, Madlung, Fink, Ayhan
Vom Steeg, Koch, Kiesewetter, Yildirim, Ritter, Bellinghausen, Gül, Iyoha, Ngombo, Rüzgar, Kinjo, Duman, Ferati, Lucoqui
Neuer - Rafinha, Martínez, Alaba, Bernat - Kimmich, Alonso, Vidal - Ribéry, Müller, Costa
Starke, Hummels, Lahm, Friedl, Sanches, Benko
Shootout: 0-1 Vidal, Hennings missed (Neuer save), 0-2 Alonso, Fink missed (Neuer save), 0-3 Costa, 1-3 Ayhan, 1-4 Alaba