Bayern Munich vs. Manchester City had a lot of narrative for a preseason game – Carlo Ancelotti's home debut, Pep Guardiola's return to Munich, the battle of Leroy Sané suitors. This friendly played out exactly how it was supposed to, as a friendly.
The only goal of the game reflected the match perfectly: a shot from Erdal Özturk sliding a shot past Angus Gunn, who did a terrible job trying to stop it. Still, fans got a chance to see Bayern play in the Allianz Arena, so there has to be something to take away from that. Here are five observations from Bayern's 1-0 win against Manchester City.
Bayern fans have to accept Franck Ribery is going to try really hard in friendlies
Ribéry has received many a knock in the last few years, a few of which happened in preseason. Injuries forced him to retire from the national team, and he has since started his Bayern preseason earlier than most of Bayern's stars. In this friendly with Manchester City, Ribéry was running around like a maniac – pushing the tempo, combining deep in midfield, swapping flanks, making runs and pressing. One would think that a player that gets injured so much would not keep stepping on the gas in preseason, but that just does not seem to be in his DNA. He is an al-out kind of player – something he used to have so much success – one should not expect him to play at any notch below that.
Ancelotti's midfield set-up was interesting, but meant nothing
The midfield of Philipp Lahm, Xabi Alonso and David Alaba seemed like a midfield Guardiola would concoct. However, the reason for Ancelotti constructing his midfield this way may have been simply due to the absent Euro players in the squad. Still, Alaba added a nice tempo to midfield next to Franck Ribery, something often seen in the Jupp Heynckes era. To assume such a tactical set-up would occur during the season is a little misguided though; if anything, it showed Ancelotti's willingness to put all of his best players on the field at once. Ancelotti should thank Guardiola that Bayern's tactical flexibility allows him to do that.
Julian Green is playing the right position, but not for the right team
Green is playing in his fourth preseason with Bayern, and he reaffirmed some of the potential he had in his first season. His movement is what a striker's movement needs to be, which suggests that may be his best position. However, his first touch is not at the level a Bayern player's touch needs to be, the biggest example of which being the breakaway chance he muffed with a heavy touch. In the last year of his contract, he clearly still has a lot to prove, which is not something one should say about a 21-year-old trying to break into a top first-team.
Niklas Dorsch has more confidence on the ball than Fabian Benko does
Dorsch and Benko are the two newest professionals to come out of their youth academy, and one could see why Dorsch is higher on Germany's national team pecking order than Benko is. Dorsch looked more measured playing against Lahm in the second half, ran forward with confidence, and appeared to know how to change gears at the right times. Conversely, Benko is still a little jittery on the ball, trying passes he probably shouldn't have. It is very early in both of their careers to get a grasp on the type of players they will end up being, but Dorsch seems to be further along on his career path than Benko is.
Bayern are not going to do well in the International Champions Cup, and that is OK
As with this match, Bayern are not going to take a lot of players who played in the European Championship with them to the United States. That means a lot of what we saw two years ago in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game: a few stars making an impact, but a lot of youth players doing the heavy lifting. For the American Bayern fans waiting to see their club live for the first time, this prospect kind of sucks, but Bayern is not going to care. They were not broken up about losing the Telekom Cup last season – domestic doubles apparently mean more – and they shouldn't be bummed not hoisting the ICC trophy this year.
Bayern Munich (1-0) Manchester City
FCB: Erdal Özturk (76')
Bayern XI: Ulreich – Rafinha, Feldhahn, Martinez (F. Götze 65'), Bernat (Friedel 65') – Lahm, Alonso (Özturk 46'), Alaba (Dorsch 46') – Ribery (Hägler 46'), Green, Benko (Shabani 83')
Man City XI: Caballero (Gunn 46') – Maffeo, Adarabioyo, Kolarov (Bytyqi 65'), Angelino – Fernando (Touré 56'), Fernandinho (Garcia 73') – Navas (Celina 56'), Zinchenko (Clichy 46'), Barker (Delph 46') – Iheanacho (Bony 46')