Bayern Munich opened their 50th Bundesliga campaign with a 2-1 victory over VfL Wolfsburg in Allianz Arena.
Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben gave the defending champions an early 2-0 lead after half and change. Ivica Olic got a consolation goal in a second half with loads of fireworks.
It is the third season in a row that Bayern opened a Bundesliga campaign with a victory. The previous two years resulted in them hoisting the trophy at season's end.
"You have to bring a match like this over the line and get the three points," said Robben to Sky post-match. "We did that."
After relentless pressure from both Müller and Robert Lewandowski, the organized Wolfsburg line finally cracked. Robben found Müller from the goal line, and the 24-year-old tapped it in near post to put Bayern on the board.
Bayern thundered out of the lockeroom after halftime, able to break forward quickly in the beginning of the second half. Müller, Lewandowski and Robben were able to combine and put Robben into space, and the Dutchman snuck a shot from inside the penalty area past the dive of Grün.
"I'm very happy that [Lewandowski] is here," said Robben on Sky. "We are going to have a lot of fun together."
GOALLLL! Arjen Robben makes it 2-0 to Bayern with a great finish! https://t.co/anCsdxLwWu— European Football HQ (@EuropeanFootyHQ) August 22, 2014
Olic, trying to prove that he has a lot left to give German football, put in a goal that validated that claim. He collected the ball just outside the area and curled a shot past Manuel Neuer before Holger Badstuber could close him down. His goal thrust Wolfsburg right back into the thick of the match.
Ivica Olić goal vs. Bayern. https://t.co/8DnfjfY07X— Alex Chaffer (@AlexChaffer) August 22, 2014
The pops and crackles the rest of the second half made the match one of the more entertaining 2-1 results in the past two years. Wolfsburg nearly equalized late in the match, but Junior Malanda could not find the back of the net despite two short-range cracks. At the other end, Sebastian Rode appeared to have scored in his debut until Felix Zwayer called Müller for offsides when Rode took his shot.
WOW! Miss of the season?!! https://t.co/Aq4ysi7xKM— European Football HQ (@EuropeanFootyHQ) August 22, 2014
Lewandowski, Rode, Juan Bernat, and Gianluca Gaudino put on dazzling opening-night performances in their debut showcases. All three played important tactical roles as Pep Guardiola had to compensate with a relatively thin roster.
Bayern next head to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke 04 on Match Day 2 of the Bundesliga. United States viewers can re-watch the Wolfsburg match on GolTV at 8:00 PM EDT.
Bayern München (2-1) VfL Wolfsburg
FCB: Müller (37'), Robben (47')
WOB: Olic (52')
Cards: Luiz Gustavo WOB (69')
Bayern XI (3-4-1-2): Neuer – Lahm, Dante, Badstuber – Robben, Gaudino, Alaba, Bernat – Götze (Shaqiri 62') – Müller, Lewandowski (Rode 79')
Wolfsburg XI (4-2-3-1): Grün – Jung, Naldo, Knoche, Rodriguez – Guilavogui, Luiz Gustavo (Malanda 72') – Vieirinha (Caligiuri 60'), Hunt (Arnold 46'), de Bruyne – Olic
- Bavarian Football Works already submitted loads of praise for Giancula Gaudino throughout the preseason, so reveling in his Bundesliga debut might sound redundant. He ran Wolfsburg off the park (literally: he ran 12.93 km in the match), and misplaced two of his 59 passes. He eventually shifted into the back line when Lahm started to move forward, and his deep playmaking ability made Toni Kroos seem like a distant memory.
- With all the changes Guardiola has made to Bayern's defense, one thing still persists: they continue to allow players to get in behind and into menacing positions. That is a matchup that Wolfsburg exploited in the second half as they worked their way back into the match. Granted, not all the defensive pieces are in place, especially with Boateng's red-card suspension, but it is something that could be the stick in the spoke of Bayern's bicycle in high-leverage matches.
- Robben appeared to be the missing ignitor fluid to get the Bayern attack flaming again. His runs were reminiscent of his drag racing speed in the World Cup, and his control and link-up play created devastating chances that even an organized Dieter Hecking defense could not defend. He told Sky after the game that he was not even fully fit, which is salivating to think of what a fully fit Robben looks like.
- With over 80 years of television broadcasts, the world has seen some rather peculiar interview locations. This, though, might take the pie: