FC Bayern beat Leverkusen 3-1 on Friday evening, kicking off the 2017/18 Bundesliga campaign in style. Niklas Süle opened the scoring early in the contest before Corentin Tolisso doubled Bayern's lead. Robert Lewandowski netted from the spot after the restart, and while Leverkusen enjoyed a spell in command with Admir Mehmedi pulling one back, the Bavarians ultimately deserved to win the encounter.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Süle, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Tolisso, Sebastian Rudy and Arturo Vidal took up station in midfield, with Thomas Müller, Lewandowski and Franck Ribéry featuring in a potent attacking trident.
Carlo Ancelotti made two changes to the XI that saw off Chemnitz in the DFB Cup, Rafinha and Kingsley Coman giving way to Alaba and Vidal. After the hour mark Müller and Hummels left the pitch, Rafinha and Robben coming on before Coman replaced Ribéry.
New signings set Bayern on their way
After a ceremony to mark the start of the 55th Bundesliga season and a minute's silence in tribute to the victims of the terror attacks in Spain, the 75,000 capacity crowd who braved driving rain saw Ancelotti's troops begin on the front foot, and Tolisso soon drew a fine save from visiting netminder Bernd Leno. The Bavarians drew first blood after eight minutes, and they had the two recent arrivals from Hoffenheim to thank for the first goal of the season. Süle connected with Rudy's free-kick, heading the ball past Leno and into the far corner of the net. The German record champions were in control of the match, although Ulreich soon denied a Karim Bellarabi effort.
Although Bayern's passing game veered from slick to stray, two factors were key to their firm grip on the visitors: their ruthlessness in front of goal and their pressing game, with full-backs Kimmich and Alaba particularly indutrious.
The second goal came from another set-piece, Leno patting away Kimmich's corner only for Vidal to recover possession. The Chilean astutely looped the ball for the lurking Tolisso to nod in. Ulreich proved equal to a Kevin Volland effort following a bad pass by Vidal, with Tolisso almost completing a brace at the other end after nutmegging Leno, only for the post to deny the new signing.
Reds survive spell of Leverkusen pressure
The half-time break went into extra-time because of the thunderstorm in Munich. Shortly after the restart Lewandowski closed out the meeting, scoring a goal which made Bundesliga history as it was the first time the video assistant referee was called into action. The Pole had clearly been upended in the box and stepped up himself to net from the spot.
The Rhineland outfit refused to concede and were looking for a reply now, Ulreich denying two Julian Brandt shots and Kimmich scrambling the ball off the line, but Mehmedi netted from 15 yards via Ulreich's fingertips midway through the second half. Heiko Herrlich's troops remained on the front foot, missing a couple of presentable opportunities, but Bayern relieved the pressure by going on the attack, sealing the first three points of the season despite another goal refusing to come.
Bayern will contest this year's Dream Game against fan club Red Residenz Coburg on Sunday before returning to competitive action next Saturday, when they travel to face Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
FC Bayern - Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 (H-T: 2-0)
Ulreich - Kimmich, Süle, Hummels (Rafinha 62), Alaba - Tolisso, Rudy, Vidal - Müller (Robben 61), Lewandowski, Ribéry (Coman 77)
Früchtl, Friedl, Sanches, Pantovic
Leno - Henrichs, Tah, S. Bender (Dragovic 46), Wendell - Bellarabi, Kohr, Aranguiz (Kampl 61), Bailey (Brandt 46) - Mehmedi, Volland
Özcan, Baumgartlinger, Pohjanpalo, Yurchenko
Tobias Stieler (Hamburg)
1-0 Süle (9), 2-0 Tolisso (18), 3-0 Lewandowski (52 pen), 3-1 Mehmedi (65)
Vidal / Kohr