Bayern were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at home to AFC Ajax on Matchday 2 of the Champions League on Tuesday evening. The Reds took the lead after just four minutes through Mats Hummels but that was cancelled out by Noussair Mazraoui (22’). In the end, Bayern were grateful for the point with the impressive visitors missing a number of good chances in the second half. The result means that Bayern and Ajax remain tied at the top of Group E on four points.
Coach Niko Kovac made three changes to his line-up following the defeat to Hertha BSC last Friday. The rotation in the centre of defence continued with Hummels replacing Niklas Süle, while Javi Martínez and Thomas Müller came into the midfield in place of Renato Sanches and James. Leon Goretzka, who missed the trip to Hertha with a knock, returned to the bench.
After two games without victory, Bayern came flying out of the blocks and opened the scoring after just four minutes. Arjen Robben chipped a cross back into the box after Ajax failed to properly clear a corner, and the ball found Hummels unmarked in front of goal to head in his first goal of the season.
However, the visitors recovered well from that early shock and gradually settled into the game. Their first real chance came after 20 minutes, when Manuel Neuer had to be alert at his near post to push away a shot from Hakim Ziyech. Just a couple of minutes later, the Dutch side drew level. They broke forward quickly and Dusan Tadic fed the ball to Mazraoui, who blasted the ball past Neuer. Both sides had half-chances from then until half-time but it remained 1-1 at the break.
In contrast to the opening period, it was Ajax who started the second half on the front foot and had two good chances to take the lead inside the first five minutes, but Tadic and Nicolas Tagliafico both wasted their opportunities.
The Reds started to get on top as the game entered the final quarter, with Thiago curling a shot just wide from 20 yards out in the 67th minute. Ajax’s youthful side were a constant threat on the counter, though, and they had a great chance to score on 72 minutes. Daley Blind flicked on a cross from Tadic towards an unmarked Donny van de Beek, who volleyed wide from 10 yards out when he really should have hit the target.
With the game becoming more stretched, it was Bayern’s turn to miss a golden opportunity. Serge Gnabry cut the ball back to fellow substitute James in the middle of the penalty box. The Colombian didn’t make the cleanest contact with his shot but it nevertheless required a great fingertip save from Andre Onana to tip it around the post. The visitors almost snatched a late winner when Lasse Schöne’s powerful free-kick was pushed onto the bar by Neuer, but Bayern held on for the draw.
Kovac’s charges are next in action on Saturday when they host Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga (kick-off 18:30 CEST), their final game before the next international break of the season.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Joseph Rutter
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Neuer – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels (Süle 90'+3), Alaba – Martinez – Robben (James 62'), Müller, Thiago, Ribery (Gnabry 74') – Lewandowski
Ulreich - Wagner, Goretzka, Renato Sanches
Onana - Mazraoui, de Ligt, Wöber, Tagliafico – Van de Beek (de Wit 75'), Schöne, Blind - Neres (Dolberg 85'), Ziyech - Tadic
Lamprou, Kristensen, Huntelaar, Eiting, Schuurs
Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)
0-1 Hummels (4'), 0-2 Mazraoui (22')
Martinez, James, Gnabry / van de Beek, Blind