Bayern Munich secured the three points, but an injury to the sharp-looking Kingsley Coman and an inability to put Hoffenheim away early give the champions something to think about moving forward.
Bayern Munich picked up where they left off over three months ago by securing an impressive 3-1 win against an exciting TSG Hoffenheim in the new Bundesliga season's highly anticipated curtain-raiser.
Manager Niko Kovač stepped into the dugout at the Allianz Arena for the first time since his summer appointment in Bavaria, and after some teething problems in the opening 20 minutes, Bayern Munich took the lead through Thomas Müller from a simple corner routine.
Hoffenheim's Joelinton wasted the visitors' best chance of the match late in the first half, which ended on a sour note following an injury to the lively Kingsley Coman.
The hosts took just 10 minutes to find the back of the net once again after the restart, but last year's top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski was correctly denied by the offside flag. And Bayern were made to pay when the often goal shy Ádám Szalai fired Hoffenheim back on level terms.
A late circus with VAR saw a penalty awarded to Bayern Munich, which eventually found its way into the back of the net thanks to a follow up from Arjen Robben. However, a bizarre check with the video assistant referee saw the spot kick re-taken minutes later–and Lewandowski converted.
Watch the whole crazy sequence in which:— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) August 24, 2018
- Ribery draws a *very* questionable penalty call
- Lewandowski misses the PK
- Robben fires home the rebound but has the goal overturned via VAR
- Lewandowski converts the retaken PK
😅 (via @FoxDeportes)pic.twitter.com/RdNJW7Ozrc
The icing was seemingly put on the cake when Leon Goretzka's long-range effort was deflected past Oliver Baumann, but another check with VAR saw their two-goal lead overturned as Müller was judged to have used his arm.
Any doubt over the result was eased in the last few seconds when Robben fired the ball into the back of the net from close range, ensuring Kovač kickstarted his managerial career at Bayern with three points.
Key Talking Point
There was a sense of déjà vu during the first game of the new Bundesliga season for Bayern Munich fans, with the club's inability to kill off their opponents - something which was often on display under Carlo Ancelotti - the biggest take away for supporters on Friday.
A lack of ruthlessness wasn't just a trait that was true of Ancelotti's Bayern, but it could also be said at times of the club under their legendary manager, Jupp Heynckes.
And struggling to extend a one-goal lead has appeared to bleed over into Kovač's side, something which will have to be worked on throughout training before next week.
Bayern Munich left it late to eventually get a two-goal lead, something which was partly down to a comical review with VAR, but three points is three points, and the Bavarians are now one step closer to securing a seventh straight Bundesliga title.
Neuer (7) Kimmich (8) Süle (7) Boateng (6) Alaba (7) Martinez (6) Coman (8*) Müller (7) Thiago (8) Ribéry (7) Lewandowski (6).
Substitutes: Robben (7) Goretzka (7) James (6).
Despite being forced off with what looks to be a nasty injury just before halftime, Coman was undoubtedly the star of the show at the Allianz Arena.
Starting on the right-hand side of the pitch, Hoffenheim's Nico Schulz was quickly told to drop deeper and provide extra cover for the debutant, Kasim Adams, who was often left too isolated in defense.
Even when Coman switched sides with Franck Ribéry, the defensive partnership of Pavel Kadeřábek and Ermin Bičakčić weren't able to match Bayern Munich's 22-year-old winger throughout his time on the pitch.
Joshua Kimmich and Thiago Alcântara were also at their wonderful best on Friday, but the devastation that Coman caused sees the Frenchman pip his teammates as the Reds' star man on matchday one.
There are no stand out players for Bayern Munich's worst performer, but three players were uncharacteristically quiet at the Allianz Arena, including Javi Martínez and Jérôme Boateng.
Most surprisingly for the reigning Bundesliga champions, however, was the performance of Lewandowski. The Poland international was well off the pace in Bavaria, despite converting a penalty, and failed to get on the end of any chances throughout the match.
The 30-year-old striker, who was eager to leave Bayern Munich during the summer transfer window, will have to find his shooting boots when the club travels to Stuttgart next week if the Reds want to really kick-start their title defence this season.
Nevertheless, Bayern have wrapped up the points - and that's as much as they could have asked for. Next up is a trip to Stuttgart next Saturday.