Ever since the final whistle blew on their crushing defeat to Real Madrid in the second leg of the 2014 Champions League semi final, Bayern Munich has been looking for a little payback. Meaningless friendly or not, this Audi Cup final provided the opportunity to exact a measure of revenge. It also was a chance for Toni Kroos and Xabi Alonso to square off against their old clubs as well.
This tilt started off rather slow, with both keepers exchanging a couple saves early on, but right around the 25th minute, Bayern seemed to take control with several quality scoring chances. After both teams exchanged yellow cards for not-too-malicious fouls, Thomas Müller let loose a scorching shot that bounced just wide off the far post. Shortly after that, Douglas Costa put a beautiful move on Daviel Carvajal in the left side of the penalty area. It seemed to be a promising opportunity for him to score, but he had the wherewithall to find a drifting Mario Götze all alone and landed a beautiful cross right at his feet. If not for Madrid keeper Keylor Navas making a remarkable save (and knocking over Thomas Müller in the process), it most surely would have been 1-0.
The start of the second half saw Real Madrid get a quality scoring chance off of a Toni Kroos free kick that induced a world class save from Manuel Neuer. Outside of the occasional set piece, Real would not threaten much on the attacking end. This is due in no small part to the multiple substitutions that were used by both teams. After both teams used their seemingly unending amount of subs, this game devolved from a friendly to more of a scrimmage as both coaches tried to get their younger bench players some much needed minutes against an opposing "big club".
Late in the game, Bayern would eventually break through for the game winner as new signing (and sure to be fan favorite) Douglas Costa delivered a beautiful free kick which Robert Lewandowski tapped in for the 1-0 lead. Last season, set pieces were a big weakness for Bayern Munich. But with quality players like Costa and Alaba, who specialize in such areas, being fully fit, this could be a strength going forward.
- David Alaba is back. Playing as a forward bombing left back, he teamed well with Costa and Vidal early in the game. His shot certainly looks to be on point
- Bayern's attacking runs seemed to increase in quality as the game went on thanks in no small part to Thomas Müller. With the transfer rumors finally squashed, he was back to his old self playing very well down the center of the pitch.
- Unlike the match against AC Milan, this one seemed to be a pretty clean friendly. Except for Pepe being subbed off in the 15th minute because of a sore calf, there were no injuried and thankfully, there was no roughhousing beyond the occasional errant boot.
- I don't know if there is anything on this earth that can contain my excitement for Arturo Vidal. Box to box, this man was everywhere, helping to create runs on the Madrid and dispossessing attackers in his own end. Pep has certainly got to be salivating.
- Kinda weird to see Pep wearing a salmon colored (okay, pink) polo on the sideline. I get not wearing a suit for a preseason friendly, but maaaaaaaan that looked odd.
- Jerome Boateng got away with a blatant penalty on Sergio Ramos just before the half. I get that he's head and shoulders above just about everyone else out there in terms of size and strength, but he needs to be more careful about that. If this weren't a friendly, that would get called 99% of the time.
- Keylor Navas might be emerging as one of the top 5 keepers in the world. With Iker Casillas out of the picture, he is going to have the full opportunity to shine and today he shines in a big way. This game could have easily gotten out of hand, but he kept them in it.
- Can not say enough about the quality of Douglas Costa. He looks like a younger Franck Ribery to be perfectly honest. The only problem left for Bayern fans is going to be what witty nickname to give Costa and Robben (Robbsta?) as they harass opponent's flanks all season long