Today marked the first preseason match for Bayern Munich in the 2014-2015 season. The club traveled to Memmingen to face fan club Red Baroons in a "Dream Match". While the 3-0 victory doesn't mean a lot in the big picture, something did occur in the match that deserves all of the praise that can be given.
Yes. We witnessed the return of Holger Badstuber to the field for the first time since December 1, 2012. Badstuber wore the armband on the day, as the match took place in his hometown. Badstuber showed a lot of faith in his twice surgically repaired knee by outrunning several opponents and making sharp cuts on that leg. Playing without fear going forward is very important for Badstuber, and he took a big step today toward making his way back onto the field for Bayern in a competitive fixture.
As for the match itself, Pep Guardiola only had seven first team players at his disposal on the day. Badstuber, Tom Starke, Rafinha, David Alaba, and Pierre Hojbjerg alongside newcomers Sebastian Rode and Juan Bernat all found their way into the starting lineup. They were joined by four members of the club's U19 team: Daniel Hägler, Michael Eberwein, Gianluca Gaudino, and Lukas Scholl.
The substitutes: David Hundertmark U19, Philipp Walter U19, Herbert Paul FCB2, Giuseppe Leo FCB2, Ricardo Basta FCB2, Alexander Sieghart FCB2, and Eddy Schwarz FCB2.
Where was Robert Lewandowski? The club stated that he would miss the match with a minor knee issue. There is nothing to worry about here, they assure us.
The formation that Guardiola deployed was similar to the formation used by the club in the DFB Pokal Final victory over Borussia Dortmund.
The match went roughly how you expected it would. Bayern controlled the contest, rarely allowing Red Baroons to threaten Starke. All three Bayern goals came in the first half. Alaba scored just a couple of minutes into the match with a very nice shot from distance. Hägler made it 2-0 ten minutes later with a tidy finish after slipping through the Red Baroons defense.
Alaba added the third in the 37th minute with a free kick. It appears as though the shot should've been saved, but all goals do count the same right?
Some other takeaways from the match:
- I was really impressed with the midfield trio of Hojbjerg, Gaudino, and Scholl. While Gaudino sat deeper for most of the match, Hojbjerg and Scholl freely interchanged causing a lot of problems for the opposition. Guardiola entrusted Scholl to pull the strings in the midfield for all 90 minutes, further proof that the Spaniard sees a future in the young midfielder.
- Badstuber finished the match!
- Eberwein did well up top. The U19 forward appeared to have earned a penalty at one point, but the ref didn't call it. I don't know if it's because of the type of match this was or if he just didn't think it was a penalty. I'm going to go with the former
- Badstuber didn't get hurt!
- I kind of like this formation with our first team, and I'm not against seeing Guardiola roll it out during the season.
- Badstuber totally didn't get hurt!
Here are the full highlights: