FC Bayern got off to a successful start to the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign, beating TSG Hoffenheim 3-1 on Friday evening. Bayern dominated proceedings for long spells, Thomas Müller opening the scoring after 20 minutes, but Adam Szalai levelled the scores before the hour mark. Robert Lewandowski restored Bayern's lead from the spot with ten minutes to go, Arjen Robben soon putting the game to bed.
The Bavarians started with Manuel Neuer between the sticks and Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Jérôme Boateng and David Alaba in a back four. Javi Martínez filled the holding role behind Kingsley Coman, Müller, Thiago and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as lone striker.
After the opening ceremony for the 56th Bundesliga campaign, the 75,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the Reds signal their intent from the off. A Lewandowski effort was blocked after one minute, with Bayern in the driving seat but failing to create clear-cut chances at first. Müller broke the deadlock midway through the first half, when he rose high to connect to a Kimmich corner and headed past visiting netminder Oliver Baumann.
Julian Nagelsmann's troops slowly but surely got a grip now, Lewandowski miscuing a finish before Hoffenheim's Joelinton rifled wide from ten yards. Baumann made a strong save to deny Coman. Hoffenheim increasingly resorted to fouls to thwart Bayern's attacks, picking up a total of four bookings before half-time, Robben taking over from Coman, who hobbled off the pitch with injury following a heavy challenge.
Lewy and Arjen close it out
After the restart Robben curled a 20-yarder wide before Lewandowski had the ball in the back of the net, only for the linesman to raise his flag for offside. Szalai levelled the scores against the run of play, firing past Neuer from a tight angle. Kovac brought on Leon Goretzka for Martínez in an effort to raise the momentum.
Neuer denied a Zuber effort from distance before Havard Nordtveit upended Ribéry in the box. Lewandowski's spot-kick was saved, Robben netting the rebound, but the penalty had to be retaken because the Dutchman had entered the box too early. Lewandowski eventually slotted home from 12 yards before James came on for Ribéry in the frantic closing stages. Robben fired wide before he beat Hoffenheim's rearguard to a Müller pass, slotting past Baumann, and match official Bastian Dankert blew for full-time.
The victory means Bayern start off the season with three points and the promise of more. The Reds are back in action on Tuesday, when they entertain Chicago Fire for Bastian Schweinsteiger's farewell match before travelling to face Stuttgart in the Bundesliga next Saturday.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
Neuer - Kimmich, Süle, Boateng, Alaba - Martínez (Goretzka 67) - Coman (Robben 45+4), Müller, Thiago, Ribéry (James 84) - Lewandowski
Ulreich – Rafinha, Bernat, Hummels, James, Wagner
TSG 1899 Hoffenheim
Baumann - Bicakcic, Vogt (Nordtveit 74), Adams (Akpoguma 67) - Kaderabek, Bittencourt, Grillitsch, Grifo (Zuber 46), Schulz - Joelinton, Szalai
Kobel - Brenet, Belfodil, Otto
Bastian Dankert (Rostock)
1-0 Müller (23), 1-1 Szalai (58), 2-1 Lewandowski (82, pen), 3-1 Robben (90+1)
Müller / Adams, Bittencourt, Kaderabek, Schulz