Bayern Munich Remain Unbeaten in Pre-Season Friendlies
Bayern Munich continued their fantastic run of pre-season form this weekend with a 6-0 win over Sonnenhof Großaspach followed by an equally impressive 4-0 victory against Hansa Rostock.
In Pep Guardiola's first meaningful games on German soil, his Bayern side lined up in their first friendly of the weekend in a basic 4-1-4-1 formation with a few surprises as Franck Ribery—the topic of much speculation as to where he'll play next season—started in the middle of midfield alongside Patrick Weihrauch as the team's natural playmaker, with Toni Kroos playing as the midfield anchor.
Other notable inclusion in the side were Tom Starke in goals, with Jerome Boateng and Daniel Van Buyten starting together at the centre of defence, while Rafinha began the game as Bayern's right back. Arjen Robben was in his usual right wing position, while Xherdan Shaqiri started on the left hand side, with Mario Mandzukic played as the solitary striker.
The first goal didn't take long to come when Ribery found Shaqiri with a wonderful through ball from the edge of the box, allowing the young forward to slot the ball to his bottom right and opening the scoring for Bayern Munich on the 25th minute.
Then after the goals began to fly in with Shaqiri earning himself an early brace(30) when Rafinha's cross from the right found the outstretched left leg of the Swiss youngster, before Toni Kroos(40) and Arjen Robben(45) made it 4-0 before half time.
Changes were made at half time with Philippe Lahm coming on for Rafinha, Jan Kirchhoff and Emre Can - usually played as a midfielder - on for Boateng and Van Buyten as well as a complete shuffle of the attack with Pierre Höjbjerg on for Kroos, Thomas Muller and Allesandro Schöpf on for Shaqiri and Robben, while Claudio Pizarro replaced Mario Mandzukic up front.
The second half kicked off on a damp note when Thomas Muller missed a penalty on the 49th minute, but then regained it's composure when David Alaba scored an impressive long-distance free-kick on the 77th minute. Julian Green, the American teenager who had just been promoted from the youth team, would then go one further when he cut in from the left hand side on the 84th minute, and scored an incredibly powerful shot to conclude the afternoon's game. Bayern five goals to the good in an incredibly comfortable tie.
Sunday's game, this time against 2. Bundesliga opposition Hansa Rostock at the KFB-Arena, offered a similar exercise in experimentation for Pep Guardiola with the new coach opting to start Philipp Lahm in the defensive midfield role whilst sticking with the 4-1-4-1 formation.
A similar sense of change was afoot in midfield as well, with Franck Ribery pushed out right while Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos took up the central roles, while Xherdan Shaqiri once again started for the Bavarian club on the left hand side of the flat four. Claudio Pizarro also started up front in the solitary striker position.
The new position for Lahm seemed to work wonders when in the 20th minute, an acute cross from Franck Ribery, who'd found himself on the left wing, found the floating full back at the back post to which Lahm duly complied and calmly slotted the ball in to the back post.
The next goal came just four minutes later when Mario Mandzukic found himself stuck on the edge of the opposition box, and opted to slot the ball back to the oncoming Franck Ribery who calmly shot low to the surprise of Brinkies in the Rostock goal.
The second half saw the introduction of young faces who have grown all the more familiar as the pre-season tour has gone on in the shape of Pierre Höjbjerg, Emre Can, Patrick Weihrauch, Alessandro Schöpf and Julian Green, while Daniel Van Buyten and Arjen Robben also made appearances.
Yet it was the old guard, in the form of Mandzukic and Muller, who showed up for the third goal, when the aforementioned striker headed a smart cross pass from Shaqiri in to the path of Muller who casually twirled in a fashion that would seem awkward to any other player on the pitch and calmly thumped the ball in to the roof of the net. Bayern were in cruise control and enjoying their football.
The final nail in Rostock's coffin came just three minutes from time when an Arjen Robben free-kick just left of the opposition box was casually passed back to Pierre Hojbjerg who comfortably curled a shot straight at the goalkeeper, forcing him to fumble the ball and allow Mandzukic an instinctual finish.
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