Bayern Munich edged through to the second round of the DFB Pokal after a 1-0 win over Drochtersen/Assel, which almost ended up as a banana skin moment for the Bundesliga champions.
Despite having the majority of the ball as expected, their quality in the final third was calamitous considering the team that they put out.
Robert Lewandowski’s goal eight minutes from time was the difference against a team who put every ounce of effort and energy they had into the game and can hold their heads high despite the defeat, with some even saying they were the better side throughout the 90 minutes.
Key Talking Point
Thomas Muller had a goal disallowed with thirteen minutes to play after Franck Ribery appeared to jump over the ball and obstruct the goalkeeper’s view while standing in an offside position.
The game was a struggle from the first minute for the superior visitors, as Drochtersen had bodies in front of every challenge and Die Sterns did not have an answer for their brute force and physical style of play.
The regional side had arguably the best chance of the game in the first half and should have been 1-0 up but a shot straight at Manuel Neuer prevented any potential embarrassment.
Eight minutes were added on at the end of the game due to the Bayern ultras littering the pitch with beach balls and what appeared to be till receipt roll.
Starting XI: Neuer (6); Kimmich (6), Rafinha (6), Hummels (7), Boateng (6); Martinez (6), Robben (5), Thiago (7), Ribery (6), Muller (6); Lewandowski (6).
Substitutes: Goretzka (6), Kingsley Coman (6), Tolisso (N/A).
STAR MAN - Thiago was the only player in white to conjure up any real threat. It wouldn’t be said that he was a ‘star man’, instead more like the best of a bad bunch.
As the game went on the Spaniard found it easier to move the ball into the channels and create space for his teammates due to the fatigues of the opposition. He almost scored a 30-yard-screamer in the second half but struck the underside of the crossbar and stayed out.
I dont think we know how lucky we ACTUALLY are to have James and Thiago together who are 100% committed to Bayern in their best years and at the same time our board are still willing to mess everything up— mö (@FfsMo___) August 18, 2018
WORST PLAYER - Arjen Robben was hauled off at half-time after a surprisingly poor effort from the experienced Dutchman.
The former Chelsea man was wayward with his passing and lazy in making challenges from the very first minute and picked up a pointless booking after a really poor challenge.
It may be a relief that he’s had a nightmare so early in the season. There are foundations to improve upon, that's for sure.
Starting Ribery, Robben and Muller in the same game in 2018 should be a criminal offense in Germany— Kingston (@kingston_elenwo) August 18, 2018
The performance should not affect Bayern too much going forward, despite the struggle. The season is still young and there are a lot of games to be played.
Thiago's performance will be encouraging for manager Niko Kovac, as he can look to him as a man who can grab the game by the scruff of the neck if required, and his persistence to get the ball into space was admirable.
Munich got the job done and that was all that mattered. The second round and their first league against Hoffenheim awaits.