It wasn't the prettiest of matches, but Bayern Munich grabbed two goals and edged São Paulo 2-0 on day one of the 2013 Audi Cup. For all of their dominance, Bayern were held at bay for most of the match due to sloppy finishing and some good goalkeeping.
Pep Guardiola went with Philipp Lahm in the midfield again in today's match with Rafinha and David Alaba at the fullback positions. Ribery played on the left side of the field with Alaba, and the two combined for their usual terrorizing of that side. Lahm's partners in the midfield were Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos. Oh, and Javi Martinez was partnering Dante at centerback.
The first half hour of the match was completely dominated by Bayern. The official stats for that period of time showed that Bayern nearly had 75% possession. Unfortunately, most of that possession was out wide with the ball spending a lot of time at the feet of Ribery, Arjen Robben, Alaba, and Rafinha. There were a lot of crosses sent to nobody, and when they did connect, the finishing wasn't there.
Robben broke out on a fast break in the 34th minute and was brought down by Wellington just outside the box. Schweinsteiger's free kick went right into the wall, and Dante's follow-up shot was blocked as well. Schweinsteiger then fed a diagonal ball out wide to Lahm. The captain played a cross on the ground to Claudio Pizarro, but the Peruvian saw his shot cleared off the line by a fantastic sliding block by defender Rafael Toloi.
São Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni was fantastic throughout the match and made two great matches before the half to keep the match scoreless. The first came when Ribery and Alaba broke out on the break, and Ceni stopped a hard shot from Alaba. Then, just before the end of the half, Robben was denied by another great save from Ceni.
Looking to kickstart the offense in the second half, Guardiola opted to bring on Mario Mandzukic for Pizarro. The Croatian was involved in the attack immediately heading an Alaba cross over the goal shortly after the start of the half.
Bayern finally broke open the scoring in the 56th minute on a short corner kick. Robben crossed the ball into the box, and it ended up at the far post. Mandzukic was on hand to volley the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Shortly after the goal, Robben would exit the game for Thomas Müller.
In the 62nd minute, Kroos took a shot that Ceni deflect out for a corner. We're 62 minutes into the match, and I think this was the first time that I even noticed that Kroos was in the game. As the ball was being played through the midfield, it almost always went through Schweinsteiger and Lahm with Kroos rarely involved.
More changes came shortly thereafter with Schweinsteiger, Dante, and Javi Martinez giving way for Jan Kirchhoff, Daniel Van Buyten, and Jerome Boateng. Kirchhoff moved into the midfield pivot role occupied by Schweinsteiger. While it's not his best position, he did play there at times for Mainz last season, so he can play there if necessary.
The 66th minute saw Müller and Alaba combine for a gorgeous passing sequence at a dead sprint before Müller put the final pass well wide of Alaba. Xherdan Shaqiri and Mitchell Weiser would come on as substitutes and nearly combine for a goal in the 77th minute, but Shaqiri's cross was just too far for Weiser to fully connect.
Weiser would grab the last goal just minutes from the end of the game. Shaqiri's shot bounced off the post and fell to the feet of Weiser, and the winger made it 2-0 with an easy finish.
In the dying moments of the match, Boateng would concede a silly penalty with a push in the back. However... DRAMA ensued as São Paulo goalkeeper Ceni came up to take the penalty. The 40 year old goalkeeper has scored over 100 goals in his career and lined up to take his chance against Manuel Neuer. After a slow run-up, Ceni shot to his right, but Neuer chose right and got his hand to the ball. The penalty was saved.
Bayern finished out the match and won 2-0. They now move on to the final of the 2013 Audi Cup where they'll face Manchester City who beat Milan 5-3 today in the first game. All eight goals were scored in the first half in a exciting, defenseless game. City jumped out to a staggering 5-0 lead (Yes, 5-0.) before Milan clawed back to make the match even the slightest bit interesting. They would go on to score three goals, but there was no coming all the way back.