Bayern 3 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen: match report
The teeming Bavarian rain could not dampen Bayern's spirits. The red-shirted players saluted their supporters at full time having secured an opening-day victory against Bayer Leverkusen, with a helping hand from video-assisted refereeing on its Bundesliga debut.
Bayern quickly settled in to a rhythm that had evading them throughout pre-season, and Niklas Süle made the breakthrough after nine minutes, heading Sebastian Rudy's inviting inswinger in to the bottom corner. The centre-half arrived this summer from Hoffenheim, and he took the chance presented by the absence of Jerome Boateng and Javi Martínez.
The visitors reacted well to going behind. The wiry figure of Karim Bellarabi picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch, and shrugged off Sebastian Rudy before striding forward. He slid the ball forward to Admir Mehmedi, who forced Ulreich, deputising for Manuel Neuer, in to a smart save.
Yet while Leverkusen flurried forward on the counter, Bayern's pressure was consistent. Franck Ribery was a menace in a floating role behind Lewandowski, always aware of the space.
His fellow Frenchman, Corentin Tolisso, scored Bayern's second from close range. Bernd Leno flapped an outswinging corner straight to Arturo Vidal, the Chilean engine of the side leant back to control the ball on his chest, before dinking the ball to the far post. Tolisso made light contact. That was all he had to do. The net rippled, and his Bayern account opened. The €41m summer signing from Lyon showed no signs of the club-record fee weighing on his shoulders.
The onslaught continued. Tolisso was back again five minutes later, his shot from a tight angle bobbled across the 'keeper and bounced off the base of the post.
As the downpour turned to a deluge and half time approached, Leverkusen settled in to a rhythm. But by that point, they had left themselves a great deal of work to do.
When the second half eventually began after a ten-minute weather delay, Leverkusen manager Heiko Herrlich introduced Julian Brandt and Aleksandar Dragovic. The former added a spark to the attack, Die Werkself started positively.
A brush of Charles Aránguiz' arm, and a questionable VAR decision, would swing the game firmly back in Bayern's favour. With Thomas Müller moving in to the box, Aránguiz placed a light hand on his shoulder as he tried to get goal-side. Müller, savvy, threw himself to the ground, thrashed the turf with his fist, and protested vociferously. The referee referred the decision to his video-assisted colleagues, and they awarded a penalty that Lewandowski calmly converted. It was the first outing for the video referee in the Bundesliga, it did not escape controversy, nor the con act of Thomas Müller.
Mehmedi reduced the deficit in the second half with a rasping drive from just inside the box, which kissed the underside of the bar as it crossed the line. Leverkusen rallied, with Ulreich forced in to a smart double save from Brandt and then Kohl. But they could not find the breakthrough.
Bayern Munich 3 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen: as it happened
90'+2' Full time.
90'+1' Robben jinks inside, plays a neat one-two with Lewandowski on the edge of the box, and searches for the bottom corner. Leno spreads out his right leg to block.
90' Two minutes of added time.
88' Robben's steadfast refusal to use his right foot means a Bayern attack breaks down.
87' Leverkusen have had 17 shots to Bayern's 12. On another day (and without VAR), this game could have gone another way.
86' Robben plays in Lewandowski and the Pole displays a rare showing of profligacy, dragging his right-footed shot wide of goal with just Leno to beat.
Vidal 'expresses his displeasure' at receiving a yellow card.
83' David Alaba is a lucky chap... he deflects Kampl's cross towards goal, but luckily for him he takes the sting out of the ball in the process, and it loops in to the relieved arms of Sven Ulreich.
81' Wendell, a lovely striker of the ball, hits a swirling effort just wide from 35 yards.
79' Lewandowski stings the side netting. Dragovic tries to pass back to Leno from 40 yards out, completely shanks it, and the Bayern striker rushes in. He feigns to cut back inside Dragovic, but instead takes another stride before shooting with his left foot. Leno had it covered.
78' Coman immediately has the chance to stretch his legs and run in behind after Tah misjudges a header, but the linesman hoists his flag.
76' The excellent Ribery comes off to a warm ovation, putting the captain's armband on Robben as he goes. Kingsley Coman repalces him.
72' Kohr with a good chance to narrow the gap further, a very good chance in fact. He has a free header, eight yards out, following Mehmedi's sizzling delivery from the left. Kohr's contact is too thin, possibly because of the slippery ball and the rain, and the chance goes a'beggin'.
68' Bellarabi absolutely clatters Kimmich, who looks winded. A malicious shoulder barge from the Leverkusen winger.
65' GOL GOL GOL! Leverkusen have one back through Mehmedi, and it's a cracker. Brandt rolls the ball out to him on the right hand side of the box, and he thrashes a first-time shot in of the underside of the bar.
63' Vidal is booked for arriving late and treading on Mehmedi's foot. He responds about as mild-manneredly as you'd expect, i.e. not very. Plenty of flailing arms from the Chilean.
63' That's Hummels' final involvement. He limps off, deepening Bayern's problems at centre-half, and Rafinha trots on.
62' Nearly a fourth as Hummels glances Rudy's delivery towards the bottom corner. He's just about thwarted by Leno.
61' Bayern sub: Robben on for Müller.
61' Leverkusen sub: Kampl on for Aránguiz.
60' Mehmedi arrives 'agriculturally' on Ribery, and Bayern have a free-kick 35 yards from goal. He recieves a stern word or two from the referee.
56' Julian Brandt bursts on to a Kohl pass and winds up for a shot. He slices across the ball and it spins wide. Yet Leverkusen come again. Bellarabi whips a low cross to Brandt, who flicks the ball towards goal with his rear leg. Ulreich blocks. The ball pops out to Kohl eight yards out, but he somehow finds the 'keeper's body once again. A good double save, but one of them should have buried it.
53' GOOOOL! The Polish marskman doesn't flinch. He buries the ball in to the bottom right corner.
52' Lewandowski to take...
51' Müller goes down in the box, off the ball, and screams at he referee. It's going to VAR.... oh the tension! It's a PENALTY! And a yellow for Aránguiz!
49' Volland gets the better of Hummels and drags the ball with him in to the box. He doesn't manage to get it fully under control, and a combination of pressure from Süle and an onrushing Ulreich cause the striker to run the ball out of play. Nevertheless, Leverkusen have made the stronger start to the second half.
46' Oooh, good start from the away team. Brandt plays a one-two from a corner before whipping the ball in. It glances off a Bayern head, and carries through to Bellarabi at the far post, who can't quite keep his header down.
46' The second half kicks off and Leverkusen make two changes. Dragovic replaces Bender, who took a knock in the first half, and Brandt is on for Bailey.
The players are back out in the drizzle. There was nobody forking the playing surface during the break, so it isn't immediately what that ten-minute delay has achieved.
Kick off for the second half has been delayed by ten minutes due to the heavy rain.
Leverkusen might consider a change at the break. Julian Brandt would offer a little more penetration on the wing. With Dominik Kohr on a yellow, Heiko Herrlich may be thinking about introducing Slovenian midfielder Kevin Kampl in his place.
Franck Ribery has been a real thorn in Leverkusen's side. He's drifting around behind Lewandowski, frequently finding pockets of space in which he can receive the ball on the half-turn and run towards goal. Either Aránguiz and Kohr have to track him more closely, or the Leverkusen defence have to step up to reduce the space he is operating in.
Bayern are comfortable at the break and look good value for their lead, which is courtesy of headed goals from Süle and Tolisso. Both players are making their league debuts for Bayern after moves from Hoffenheim and Lyon respectively.
45' Half time.
45' One minute of added time.
44' The rain is teeming down in Bavaria. Franck Ribery lies face down in the Leverkusen six-yard box after a clattering (hard but fair) from Jonathan Tah.
43' Tolisso's confidence is brimming. He shoots from 30 yards out, but gets under the ball and sends it over. The Frenchman certainly isn't overawed by the occasion though, and that says a lot about his character.
42' Kohr lets fly from 30 yards, aiming for the far top corner. His shot is well struck, but a little too lively. It whizzes wide and high.
And here's the man himself wheeling away after scoring Bayern's second.
40' Tolisso has been impressive, apart from his goal. He's very comfortable coming deep to collect the ball from Hummels and Süle, and always looks to play a quick pass forward.
37' Wendell fires a left-footed shot straight in to the wall. Leverkusen could really do with a goal before half time... and Bellarabi nearly provides it as I type! Volland pressurises the 'keeper in to a mistake, and the ball falls for Bellarabi on the edge of the box, with Ulreich scrambling to return to his position. The shot is loose though, and flies over.
36' A late foot from Hummels on Mehmedi gives Leverkusen a free-kick in a dangerous position; 25-yards out and just to the left.
32' Calamitous from Dominik Kohr, as he passes the ball straight to Ribery on the edge of the Leverkusen box. Luckily for him, Ribery's first-time pass is misplaced itself, and a blue shirt mops up the danger. Kohr has been sloppy so far, is already on a yellow, and is really struggling to track Ribery's movement in the gap between defence and attack. He's finding pockets of space with ease.
32' Bender trots back on with a wince.
31' There's a lengthy stoppage in Bavaria as Sven Bender receives treatment. He walks off the pitch under his own steam, but is holding his abdominals rather tentatively. He had a coming together with Lewandowski. We're back underway now.
27' Thomas Müller comes within the width of the 'keeper's toe of making it three. Hummels plays an insicive ball through the lines to Ribery, who is floating around in pockets of space. The Frenchman runs at the defence before sliding the ball to Müller. He tries to find the bottom corner with a toe-poke from close range, but Leno thwarts him.
25' It will be a tough scoreline to take for the visitors. Mehmedi had a good one-on-one chance, while Kevin Volland had a penalty call turned down. Leverkusen have been in the game, yet find themselves trailing by two.
23' Bayern hit the post! Lovely interplay between Vidal, Müller, and Tolisso allows the latter to flash a cross-cum-shot across goal from a narrow angle. It evades Leno and bounces off the base of the post. Leverkusen were clinically dissected by the speed and precision of Bayern's passing.
22' Leverkusen have a half-hearted penalty shout waved away after Hummels tripped Volland. A close call, but it looks like there was some contact.
18' GOOOOOL! Tolisso doubles Bayern's lead with another header. Leno makes a hash of a corner, punching weakly to Vidal in line with the penalty spot, He takes the ball on his chest and lifts it to the far post, where Colisso nods in a straightforward second.
Süle puts Bayern ahead, with his head.
16' Arturo Vidal has a pop from 35 yards after Leverkusen only half cleared the ball. His shot has a nice shape to it, but it bends over Ulreich's bar.
15' Bayern respond to conceding that chance with a spell of controlled possession. Alaba is energetic on the left flank, always moving up or down, offering an option.
12' Leverkusen hit back. Bellarabi swats away Rudy, giving him an accidental blow to the chops in the process, before sliding a through ball to Mehmedi. The '14' shoots low, Ulreich parries, and Volland fails to put away the rebound.
11' Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich windmills his arms on the touchline in an attempt to energise his players. They switched off at the set piece.
9' GOL GOL GOL! Süle heads in to the bottom corner on his league debut for Bayern! Rudy's delivery was sumptuous.
8' Dominik Kohr is booked for hauling down Franck Ribery in the left channel. Rudy will deliver an inswinger.
7' The visitors are compact, prepared to soak up pressure. Leverkusen's 4-2-3-1 becomes a 4-5-1 when Bayern have possession.
5' Corentin Tolisso has the first shot of the match on his Bundesliga debut. Lewandowski lets the ball run across his body to the Italian on the edge of the box, and he rifles a shot to Leno's left. The 'keeper parries behind for a corner, which comes out to Ribery. He tries to thread a pass to Lewandowski, but they're on different wavelengths and it trickles out for a goal kick.
4' Both sides are absolutely committed to playing it out from the very back, and both 'keepers, Leno amd Ulreich, adept at threading the ball through the first line of opposition press.
3' Kohr is penalised for 'letting Ribery know he's there'. An early reducer, if you will. Bayern take it short and recycle possession in the middle third.
1' There's a real din inside the Allianz Arena as both sides feel their way in to the matcch. Alaba flashes a knee-height cross to Müller inside the box, but the striker can't bring it under control.
1' Leverkusen get us underway with an old school two-man kick off. Philistines!
Now, a minute's silence in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Catalonia.
They're out now, and we're a German national anthem away from kick-off in the 2017/18 Bundesliga season.
Each Bundesliga clubs has a few legends strolling out to stand under their respective balloons. Meanwhile, the teams are waiting patiently in the tunnel.
There's quite an elaborate 'opening ceremony' taking place at the moment. There are large balloons being held up, with each one representing a Bundesliga club.
Video assist technology will be used for the first time in Bundesliga history this evening.
Despite a slip-up against Liverpool in the Audi Cup, the Allianz Arena is a fortress for Bayern. They are undefeated in 22 competetive matches at home.
There is no sign of James Rodríguez in the matchday squad, however. The Colombian, on a two-year loan from Real Madrid, is recovering from a hamstring injury.
Corentin Tolisso starts in the Bayern midfield following his club-record move from Lyon. The young Italian enjoyed a fine 2016/17, as Lyon made it to the semi-finals of the Europa League.
Leverkusen have good options from the bench in the form of Julian Brandt, who most expected to start, and Kevin Kampl.
Niklas Süle will make his league debut for Bayern after moving from Hoffenheim during the summer. He had an impressive pre-season, and with Boateng and Martínez currently out of action, Süle has the chance to nail down a berth at centre-back.
Leverkusen XI: Leno, Tah, S. Bender, Bailey, Mehmedi, Wendell, Aránguiz, Kohr, Volland, Bellarabi, Henrichs.
Bayern XI: Ulreich, Süle, Hummels, Ribéry, Lewandowski, Rudy, Vidal, Tolisso, Müller, Alaba, Kimich.
That said, it hasn't been an entirely convincing pre-season for Bayern and Carlo Ancelotti. The Bavarians failed to reach the final of the Audi Cup, the summer tounament held at the Allianz Arena, for the first time. Bayern lost 0-3 to Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool in the semi-final.
It's a Bundesliga tradition for the defending champions to kick off the season. Hence Bayern Munich are playing at home on Friday evening. You wouldn't bet against them hosting the opening match of next season, either...
Indeed, messages have poured in from across the football world following the atrocities in Catalonia.
This is the fifth time that these two sides have met on the opening day of the season. Bayern have won three of the previous games with the other ending in a draw.
Hello and welcome to our live build up to the opening fixture in the Bundesliga 2017/18 season as Bayern Munich host Bayer Leverkusen.
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