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Match Awards for Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga opening win over Hoffenheim

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Well, that was an interesting match. Bayern Munich emerge victorious starting the season with a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim that included two disallowed goals and a number of questionable decisions by the referee.

MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 24: Thomas Mueller of Bayern Munich celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Allianz Arena on August 24, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 24: Thomas Mueller of Bayern Munich celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Allianz Arena on August 24, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
(Photo by A. Pretty/Getty Images for FC Bayern )

Jersey Swap: Adam Szalai

If it weren’t for Szalai’s moment of individual brilliance, it would have been difficult to select a Hoffenheim player for this award. An abundance of dark arts and crunching tackles made it a frustrating affair. The Hungarian capitalized on a mental lapse from Javi Martinez and a mistimed challenge from Jerome Boateng before rifling a shot into the bottom left hand corner. Other than this moment of quality, Szalai was largely frustrated by the Bayern defense. Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann also put on an impressive display, stopping a few point blank efforts.

Tip of the cap: Robbery

The loss of Kingsley Coman after flashes of brilliance in the first half is devastating. Although the extent of the injury is not fully known, it did not look good. Bayern need another winger if Coman faces a substantial time out and the Frenchman has to be frustrated considering his injury record and impressive performances. With all that being said, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery proved they can still produce at the Bundesliga-level when Bayern need them. Two decisive plays from the wily veterans set up decisive moments in the match. Ribery drawing a penalty through creating contact and Robben making an intelligent run when the Hoffenheim defense switched off showed that what they lack in pace and agility, they make up for in part with experience and awareness.

Golf Clap: Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski is back to what he does best: scoring goals in the Bundesliga. Although it took two chances, a calmly taken penalty coupled with dangerous runs in and around the box made it a pretty standard performance for the Polish striker. Lewy had a few chances saved by Baumann and created a couple that did not quite come off. Regardless that makes 5 goals in 3 competitive matches and the Bavarian’s hitman is back to his old ways.

Standing Ovation: Manuel Neuer

Seeing Manu back between the pipes in Munich is a sight for sore eyes. He was calm on the ball, made a point blank save in the first half that maintained Bayern’s lead and played the sweeper keeper role with masterfully. It was a complete performance that warranted a clean sheet. The German international did not miss a beat and the more games he can get under his belt, the more he will show what makes him the best in the world.

Meister of the Match: Thomas Muller

THOMAS MULLER IS BACK. The Raumdeuter was back to his best today, carving up defenses with with probing runs and incisive passing. He gave Bayern the lead midway through the first 45 with a decisive header off of a corner from Joshua Kimmich. He continued to press hard throughout the match and alongside Thiago served as Bayern’s creative force. Despite a disallowed goal that deflected off of his elbow, Muller looked as though he could return to top form for the first time in since the Pep Guardiola days.