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Bayern Advance to Final of Audi Cup with 3-0 Win vs. AC Milan | Recap and Analysis

Theatrics from Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski cap another encouraging preseason performance.

Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Bayern Munich returned home with a bang on Tuesday, beating AC Milan 3-0 in the second semifinal of the 2015 Audi Cup.

Juan Bernat put the Rekordmeister in the first half before Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski finished off the match in the second. Bayern now advance to Wednesday's Audi Cup final against Real Madrid.

Playing without a traditional forward, Bayern's midfield of Sebastian Rode, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, and Arturo Vidal came up with creative chances early in the match. Joshua Kimmich directed the traffic at the tip of Bayern's diamond defense, but had to come off due to injury after colliding with Nigel de Jong early in the first half.

Bernat got things going midway through the first half, running at Mattia de Sciglio before firing a shot off of Cristian Zapata to open the scoring. Arturo Vidal's header nearly gave Bayern a second, but the ball clanked off the crossbar.

Outnumbered in midfield, AC Milan could not jumpstart their attack, despite having prolific goal scorers Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano at the top of the formation. Sven Ulreich was only tested a couple of times throughout the entire match, Bayern's ball-winners doing most of the work.

Stagnant through much of the second half, Bayern exploded late in the match, getting two goals in 11 minutes. Mario Götze doubled the scoreline after making a late run into the penalty area, finishing left-footed past a Diego Lopez, who was clearly stuck on his heels. Thomas Müller, pushing the tempo with his vertical runs, dazzled the crowd with a perfect juggle before Lewandowski spanked a volley into the top left corner.

The victory was Bayern's second-biggest of the preseason, and it was the third clean sheet Bayern kept in a full 90-minute match. The Audi Cup final against Real Madrid will conclude their preseason, the match kicking off at 20:45 CET (2:45 PM EDT) on Wednesday.

Match Details

Bayern München (3-0) AC Milan

FCB: Juan Bernat (23'), Mario Götze (74'), Robert Lewandowski (85')

Bayern XI: Ulreich – Rafinha, Boateng (Benatia 46'), Bernat – Kimmich (Alaba 21') – Lahm, Højbjerg (Gaudino 87'), Rode (Green 87'), Vidal (Müller 46') – Götze, Douglas (Lewandowski 46')

AC Milan XI: Lopez – De Sciglio, Zapata, Ely, Antonelli – Bertolacci, De Jong, Bonaventura – Honda – Luiz Adriano, Bacca

Instant Analysis

  • This match was the perfect time to further experiment with the diamond defense; not only because of the way Milan lined up, but also because Pep Guardiola could get a better look at Kimmich in a No. 6 role. It was a shame he suffered a knock early in the match, for he was handling his duties rather well for a 20-year-old kid playing against a top international club. The interesting adjustment that came after his injury was Vidal and Lahm moving centrally, both of whom were box-to-box early in the match and then adjusted as orchestrators in the center of the park. That adjustment may be a mid-match tactic Guardiola can use effectively this season.
  • Not having a traditional forward up front in the first half allowed the midfield to be more involved in the box, but the lack of a real finisher hurt Bayern in the finishing moment. Sebastian Rode and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg did well crashing the posts, but they are not the finishers Lewandowski and Müller are. Having box-to-box midfielders and forwards on the field at the same time might be repetitive in the penalty box, but they are not mutually exclusive.
  • The flank play has perhaps been the most encouraging thin this preseason. Douglas Costa is lighting it up, but also Philipp Lahm and Rafinha are providing vicious service from the right. By the end of last season, Müller and Lewandowski had to create much of their chances themselves, but unless Bayern is plagued with injuries again, that should not happen again this season.
  • Guardiola gave Götze a full shift, and the forward put together a very important performance for his season. He used his ability to take on players to a greater effect than he had so far this preseason, and he put in good goal line service – something he actually excels at. His goal just capped off what was already a good day, but he may still have an issue finding a place in the squad.
  • Seriously... How sweet was that last Lewandowski goal?

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