Preussen Munster vs. FC Bayern Munich: Winners and Losers from DFB Pokal
Bayern Munich recorded their first victory of the 2014-15 season on Sunday, beating Preussen Munster 4-1 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal at the Preussenstadion.
Mario Gotze put the visitors ahead early on and Thomas Muller added a second before the half-hour mark. David Alaba scored a stunner shortly after the break before Claudio Pizarro made it 4-0. Rogier Krohne pulled one back for the 3. Liga side in the 89th minute, converting his penalty long after the result had been decided.
As with every match, there were some winners and some losers. Click "Begin Slideshow" to find out which Bayern players came out on top after Sunday's match and for whom the victory was not quite as sweet.
Winner: Holger Badstuber
Holger Badstuber played no part in Bayern's previous two matches heading into the Pokal first round and hadn't started in any of the previous three games. He also hadn't played competitively for more than 20 months. As such, there was real reason to be concerned with his prospects for the 2014-15 season. But he finally made his return to competitive action as a starter on Sunday.
In the absence of Javi Martinez, 25-year-old Badstuber joined Dante and Jerome Boateng in a three-man Bayern defense, displacing David Alaba (who played in midfield) on the left of the central-defensive chain.
Badstuber wasn't exactly given the biggest test of his career against the 3. Liga side, but he fulfilled his duties and should be credited accordingly. His 79 minutes on the pitch marked another important step in a recovery that will take some time.
Loser: Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri underwhelmed as part of an unimpressive Bayern team in the DFL-Superpokal. Bayern as a collective stepped up their performance on Sunday, their 4-1 win against Munster coming in a quite convincing manner. But even with his team playing well, Shaqiri left something to be desired.
The 22-year-old was largely ineffective from his position on the wing, failing to involve himself in taking or setting up even a single attempt on goal. He was withdrawn on 56 minutes.
It only will become more difficult for Shaqiri to impose himself in the Bayern team in the weeks and months to come. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben will soon be fit, leaving the Switzerland international with even more competition for minutes.
Winner: David Alaba
Long a midfielder for his national team, Austria, David Alaba has played almost exclusively at left-back for Bayern. The 22-year-old started in front of the back line on Sunday, however, taking on a role as half of the club's double pivot alongside Philipp Lahm.
Alaba brought good tempo-control and distributive qualities to the Bayern midfield, as well as quickness and ball-winning ability that may exceed those of any other Bayern midfielder. He was quicker to move the ball than Bastian Schweinsteiger and punctuated his performance with an absolute belter of a goal from around 30 meters.
If Alaba is to remain a central midfielder for the duration of the season, he will have some obstacles to overcome. Like Lahm, he is a primarily one-footed player. And despite his familiarity with the role as an Austria player, he will still need to adjust to the tactical intricacies of playing as a midfielder in Guardiola's system.
Nonetheless, Sunday's performance was a very encouraging one for Alaba, who—like Lahm—is proving himself to be a very versatile player.
Loser: Bastian Schweinsteiger
As encouraging as the Alaba-Lahm double pivot was for Bayern, its success was bad news for Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 30-year-old gave every last bit of effort he could at the World Cup and is still not match fit; he wasn't even in the squad on Sunday.
Looking forward, Schweinsteiger has his work cut out for him if he is to reclaim a spot in the Bayern lineup. Alaba and Lahm looked convincing and may well be Pep Guardiola's first choice in the center. There also remains the not-to-be-underestimated return of Thiago Alcantara who, once fit, will certainly be in the candidacy for minutes in central midfield.
If he thought the World Cup was a challenge, Schweinsteiger will probably have an even tougher task earning regular playing time in this Bayern midfield.
Winner: Mario Gotze
Mario Gotze put his best foot forward on Sunday as he looked to nail down a permanent role as a starter in the Bayern lineup. Often a benchwarmer last season, he lined up in a position that placed him as part of the flat, four-man midfield.
The ex-Dortmund man played well in his new role, his adaptability underlining his footballing intelligence. And although there were others who were better placed to score, it was Gotze who broke the deadlock, heading home the opener midway through the first half.
Gotze made a huge step in his career when he scored the winner in the World Cup final. He enters the current season with every reason to be confident, his performance on Sunday being a good and early manifestation of his intent.