Bayern Munich advanced to the second round of the DFB-Pokal, beating fifth-tier club FC Nöttingen 3-1 in the Wildparkstadion on Sunday. Arturo Vidal, Mario Götze, and Robert Lewandowski all got on the scoresheet in the first half as Bayern coasted to their first victory of the 2015/16 campaign.
Several regulars got the day off – including Manuel Neuer, Medhi Benatia, Thomas Müller, and Xabi Alonso – as Pep Guardiola tried to pack the midfield as much as he could. Thanks to a handball from Felix Zachmann in the penalty area, it did not take long for Bayern to get on the scoresheet. Vidal misdirected Robin Kraski on the ensuing penalty kick and netted his first goal in a Bayern uniform.
Nöttingen stayed vigilant a goal down, taking the game to Bayern as the 17-time cup champions eased off the gas pedal. The amateur club was able to capitalize on a mistake from David Alaba, who gave the ball away to Eray Gür at the quarter-hour mark. Gür cut the ball back Niklas Hecht-Zirpel in the penalty area, who finished past Sven Ulreich after two efforts. It was the first cup goal Nöttingen had ever scored, and equalized the match at one a piece.
Bayern came up with a quick response a minute later, Mario Götze slicing a ball inside the far post off of a threaded service from Philipp Lahm. Robert Lewandowski also capitalized on penalty box chaos, tapping in a ricocheted Jérôme Boateng shot to put Bayern two ahead before halftime.
The second half was droll to start, but the match started to open up once Arjen Robben entered the match. Bayern tried to play the ball over the top to open up Nöttingen's defense, but they had trouble staying onside. Douglas Costa nearly helped Bayern score a fourth, breaking down the left flank before sliding a ball just beyond the reach of Lewandowski. Michael Schürg nearly capitalized a few times at the other end, Ulreich almost allowing the ball to slip away on a few saves.
The Rekordmeister went on to win their country-best 21st straight opening cup match as several Nöttingen players requested kit exchanges after the match. Bayern will find out their next opponent on Friday, August 14 as they get set to play the second round of the DFB-Pokal in the final week of October.
FC Nöttingen (1-3) Bayern München
Nöttingen XI (4-4-2): Kraski – Schmidt, Brenner, Fuchs, Walter – Gür (Schenker 77'), Zachmann (Neziraj 82'), Schneckenberger, Bilger – Hecht-Zirpel (Bitzer 70'), Schürg
Bayern XI (3-4-3 Diamond): Ulreich – Rafinha, Boateng, Bernat – Lahm (Robben 55'), Vidal (Højbjerg 46'), Kimmich (Dante 74'), Bernat – Götze, Lewandowski, Douglas
- This result must be what happens when Bayern play AC Milan and Real Madrid one day and an amateur fifth-tier team another. Nöttingen were playing the game of their lives, and Bayern did not respect that at first. The goal they allowed was shire complacency, and some of the players were trying to win the match by themselves rather than combining with their teammates. Guardiola looked miffed during parts of the match, and a boot-room lecture is completely justified.
- The back three was not necessarily the wrong tactic, especially with the two up from for Nöttingen. However, the flanks were open highways for Nöttingen to roam. Bayern were caught several times on the break, Eray Gür and Mario Bilger forcing Alaba and Rafinha to recover on several occasions. These tactics were a one time thing, but it is a cautionary tale for when Guardiola wants to go three at the back.
- With rumors of him leaving the club, Mario Götze had another tremendous performance for Bayern. He came out with real intent and created a lot of opportunities for Bayern in the penalty area. Guardiola wants Götze to prove himself, and right now he is showing he is deserving of a spot in Bayern's starting XI.