Bayern have emerged victorious from their second and final friendly match on the current tour of China. In a high-quality encounter with Bundesliga rivals VfL Wolfsburg in front of a 35,000 crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Guangzhou, FCB won Thursday evening’s Audi Football Summit 2-1 courtesy of first-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben, Vaclav Pilar netting a stoppage-time consolation for VfL.
In steamy and oppressive sub-tropical conditions, and with Felix Magath’s Wolves bound to push his men all the way, Jupp Heynckes made just three changes - Luiz Gustavo for Tymoshchuk, Thomas Müller for Xherdan Shaqiri, and former VfL striker Mandzukic für Claudio Pizarro – to the side which started the 6-0 rout against Guoan Beijing two days earlier. Magath, celebrating his 59th birthday on the day, began with a line-up including ex-FCB favourite Ivica Olic.
Van Buyten the saviour
And it was Croatia hitman Ivi who ensured an explosive start to the match, as his second-minute header drew a fine goal-line clearance from FCB captain Daniel van Buyten. The Wolves kept up the pressure and Patrick Helmes shot wide from a decent position after eight minutes, but FCB eased their way into the game on the ten-minute mark and began to enjoy the better of the possession.
Van Buyten (11) and Arjen Robben (16) both headed at goal, the Dutchman’s effort looping onto the top of the crossbar. The opening goal finally arrived with the half-hour approaching as Müller was sandwiched by two VfL defenders in the box, Mandzukic clubbing home the penalty to make it 1-0.
Ribéry and Robben show class
Wolfsburg sought a quick response and Olic shot wide (34), before Makoto Hasebe drew a good save from Neuer with a drive from the edge of the box. At the other end, the men from Munich struck to deadly effect on the break: a superb Ribéry pass released Robben for a solo run at Marwin Hitz, the Dutch superstar opting to lob the VfL keeper and make it 2-0 at half-time.
In the second half, the effects of the climactic conditions, strenuous training and long travelling distances made themselves felt for the men in red. Heynckes brought on all seven of his outfield substitutes at the break and in the course of the second period, but the match was a much scrappier affair for long spells now.
Gomez against the bar
Magath’s men had by no means given up on the game, and Neuer made another good save after 65 minutes, fisting away a Srdjan Lakic shot. Olic (53) and Naldo (54) with a direct free-kick had both fired wide prior to that, and Neuer again kept his cool to deal with Luiz Gustavo’s unluckily sliced clearance.
For all the Wolves’ effort, FCB were largely in control and might have increased their lead, but Mario Gomez just lost out to Hitz in the race to meet Claudio Pizarro’s diagonal pass, and the Peru striker himself tested the VfL keeper from distance a short time afterwards. Hitz was then fortunate to see Gomez’ header bounce away to safety off his crossbar.
In the final ten minutes, Van Buyten aimed a header too high, and at the other end Thomas Kahlenberg almost scored with a skidding shot just past the post. It was left to Pilar to strike his side’s consolation goal with all but the last move of the match, before the Bayern party transferred direct to the airport for the flight home. The Lufthansa charter is expected back in Munich at around 7 am CET on Friday.
|FC Bayern - VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 (H-T: 2-0)|
|FC Bayern||Neuer - Boateng, Van Buyten, Dante (Badstuber 46), Contento (Tymoshchuk 46) - Gustavo, Kroos (Can 63) - Robben (Pizarro 46), Müller (Weiser 67), Ribéry (Shaqiri 46) - Mandzukic (Gomez 46)|
|VfL Wolfsburg||Hitz - Fagner (Diego 80), Naldo (Russ 80), Pogatetz (Knoche 46), Schäfer (Kahlenberg 80) - Hasani (Hasebe 27), Josué (Dejagah 69), Polák (Pilar 46) - Olic (Träsch 69), Helmes (Orozco 46) - Dost (Lakic 46)|
|Referee:||Zhao Liang (China)|
|Goals:||1-0 Mandzukic (29, pen), 2-0 Robben (39), 2-1 Pilar (90+2)|
|Yellow Cards:||Shaqiri / -|