In a matchup between two of the top clubs in Europe, Bayern Munich claimed the Audi Cup with a 2-1 win over Manchester City.
The two teams had very different paths to reach the final. City defeated AC Milan 5-3 in the first semifinal matchup, while Bayern had a lower-scoring match and won 2-0.
The final started in a similar way to Bayern's cagey opening match. The German club had a number of opportunities early on and controlled possession, but they could not get the ball into the back of the net.
At the other end of the pitch, the Premier League side had a few excellent chances, but Manuel Neuer showcased his world-class ability in between the sticks as he helped keep the match goalless.
The Manchester City Twitter account summed up the first 45 minutes perfectly:
After the interval, there was more of the same as Neuer had a few more impressive stops on one-on-one shots. This fan account provided an accurate description:
Neuer!! Top class...absolutely top class from Neuer to save Bayern there!!— Global Bayern Fans (@BayernFansIntl) August 1, 2013
However, the visiting squad was finally able to break through with the first goal of the match when Alvaro Negredo raced on to a through ball in the 61st minute and fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal after a play described by the MCFC account:
62. What a break away from City. Negredo shows immense strength to hold off the attentions of Martinez to dispatch the ball past Neuer! 1-0— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) August 1, 2013
Typically, the lead only lasted five minutes. A long pass was played over the top of the City defense and Pablo Zabaleta inadvertently touched the ball with his hand in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Thomas Muller successfully converted the penalty kick.
Bayern Munich's Twitter account provided a picture of the equalizing goal:
Within another six minutes, Bayern were in front. This time Muller turned provider with a strong cross that was almost impossible to defend. Mario Mandzukic was there for a diving header to put Bayern 2-1 ahead.
This was the striker's second match in a row with a goal after an impressive performance the day before against Sao Paulo.
Despite a few late chances from Manchester City, Bayern Munich held on for the win and claimed the title at this preseason event.
The four-team tournament featured an impressive collection of squads from various parts of the world. AC Milan earned third place in the event after defeating Sao Paulo in the consolation match earlier in the day.
While each squad in the final made mistakes, both should feel confident heading into the season as top contenders in their respective leagues.
Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich: A+
Although he did lose one goal in the second half, Neuer pulled off a number of impressive saves throughout the match.
There were times where City's attackers were through in goal with only Neuer to beat, but the goalkeeper did his best to keep them out.
Who was the Man of the Match?
This performance showed that he is among the best at his position in the world.
Thomas Muller, Bayern Munich: A
After struggling a bit in the first half, Thomas Muller came through in a big way in the final half hour.
The forward's aggressiveness led to the handball in the box and he converted the penalty when he was given the chance. He then went on to fire in a beautiful cross that led to the second goal for his side.
There are obviously plenty of talented attacking players on Bayern, but Muller gives his club even more versatility up front.
Alvaro Negredo, Manchester City: A
In scoring the opening goal, Negredo showed great pace, strength and finishing ability all on one play. This is certainly going to get fans excited about his potential this season.
When he was not scoring, he was causing havoc with his activity as defenders always had to keep track of him.
The former Sevilla player was excellent throughout his career in La Liga and he is set to take this talent to the Premier League.
Vincent Kompany, Manchester City: A-
One of the major reasons that Bayern couldn't get on the scoresheet in the first half was the strong play of Vincent Kompany.
The centre-back blocked shots, stopped passes and made excellent tackles in the middle of the pitch to make sure it was as tough as possible to score against his side.
While the defense as a whole made a few mistakes in the second half, his play in the early stages was as good as you will see.
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Things start getting more competitive for Bayern Munich as they starts their defense of the DFB-Pokal. The club will face BSV Schwarz-Weiss Rehden in the first round on August 5.
Manchester City will face a familiar opponent in Arsenal on August 10 in Helsinki. The "Super Match by Carlsberg" will be the last match of the preseason.
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