There’s been considerably of a malaise round Bayern Munich for a number of months now, with large names being linked with strikes away, scant motion within the switch market and the hiring of supervisor Niko Kovac, who hardly strikes the needle just like the Pep Guardiolas and Carlo Ancelottis of the world.
However as a result of that is Bayern Munich, it doesn’t matter.
Bayern opened protection of its file six straight Bundesliga titles by pushing previous TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 3-1 on the Allianz Area on Friday, scoring two late objectives to finish the upset bid by final season’s third-place finishers.
The successful objective got here from the foot of Robert Lewandowski within the 82nd minute on a penalty. Franck Ribery drew the preliminary whistle by benefiting from Håvard Nordtveit going to floor foolishly early, however Lewandowski missed the preliminary spot kick solely to have Arjen Robben clear up the miss.
Video Assistant Referee, nevertheless, appropriately decided Robben had entered the field early and subsequently the penalty was retaken. Lewandowski despatched Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann the incorrect approach this time:
Lewandowski was one of many names rumored to be leaving Bayern this summer time, together with defender Jerome Boateng. Offers would possibly nonetheless be made forward of the German switch window closing on Aug. 31, however the hypothesis has created a veil of relative uncertainty amid the membership, which has largely been absent for years.
Hoffenheim got here to the southeast of Germany prepared for a battle, and the bodily play acquired below Bayern’s pores and skin on a number of events. It turned ugly on the finish of the primary half, when a rash of tough challenges culminated in Nico Schulz scissor-tackling Bayern’s Kingsley Coman and injuring Coman’s ankle within the course of.
The younger Frenchman needed to come off after the incident, and Schulz was proven a yellow card:
The guests step by step grew into the sport and equalized within the 57th minute when Adám Szalai reduce properly and fired a tough end far put up:
However Lewandowski’s objective made the distinction, and Robben tacked on a 3rd late after Thomas Mueller had opened his 2018-19 league account with a header within the twenty third minute. VAR was known as upon a second time to disallow a late objective that deflected off Mueller’s arm on a shot by Leon Goretzka.
Hoffenheim will problem for a Champions League spot in Germany once more with a squad filled with proficient gamers of their second or third years collectively below third-year supervisor Julian Nagelsmann.
The category of the Bundesliga, nevertheless, remains to be clearly Bayern. Kovac is a brilliant, up-and-coming supervisor who figures to excel in his first marquee job, and the Bavarians have received the league by a median of 17 factors the previous six seasons, solely as soon as failing to clinch the title earlier than Could. That seems to be within the playing cards once more this 12 months, irrespective of how a lot of a problem Hoffenheim, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04 or different second-tier golf equipment mount.
Bayern’s major quest is to summit the Champions League, which now seems extra open with Actual Madrid in transition after the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and supervisor Zinedine Zidane. That’s how this Bayern season will finally be judged, as issues must get a complete lot worse in Munich for the remainder of the Bundesliga to have a shot.
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