After Disappointing Pre-Season, Bayern Opens Bundesliga With Draw To Gladbach
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Champions Bayern Munich had to work their way back from a goal down in their Bundesliga season opener on Friday as they earned a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach thanks to last season's top scorer Robert Lewandowski.
The Bayern forward, who scored an all-time league record 41 goals last season, but was repeatedly denied by Gladbach keeper Yann Sommer, volleyed in from a corner to level in the 42nd minute after Alassane Plea had put the hosts in front in the 10th.
The Bavarians were also lucky not to concede a penalty after Marcus Thuram twice went down in the box after contact with Dayot Upamecano.
"It was a game that was exciting for fans. Obviously you cannot be satisfied with a draw," said new Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann, whose team is hunting a 10th straight league crown.
"It was a bit wild, a bit too open but both teams had good phases.
"We did not start well and lost possession too often. We did it better and were really strong in the final 20 minutes of the first half when we scored."
There was, however, no time for Nagelsmann and the champions, who had won none of their four pre-season warmup matches, to settle in, with Gladbach instantly pressing high and Patrick Herrmann firing narrowly wide in the fourth minute.
With 23,000 fans allowed in the 60,000-capacity and firing up the home team, Herrmann should have finished a quick break himself a little later, instead of miscuing a pass for Lars Stindl.
With Bayern's backline repeatedly caught out of position or losing possession, Plea did not miss when he latched on to a well-timed through ball from Stindl in the 10th minute to rifle past keeper Manuel Neuer.
THE BUNDESLIGA CHAMPIONS ARE BEHIND!Plea gives Gladbach the lead pic.twitter.com/JGwfUm0517
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 13, 2021
Bayern upped the tempo and Lewandowski twice came close to levelling but both times Sommer was in position to deny the striker.
Lewandowski, however, moved quickly to beat his marker three minutes from halftime to volley in the equaliser, and he came close adding a second early in the second half but was denied by yet another superb Sommer save.
Goal on Day 1. Light work for Lewa pic.twitter.com/T6fKl2fMk0— ESPN+ (@ESPNPlus) August 13, 2021
Gladbach's Marcus Thuram also should have done better when he failed to connect with the ball in front of goal late in the game. He then twice protested for a penalty after the challenges by Bayern's Upamecano.
"You could see there was contact," said Gladbach coach Adi Huetter. "But it makes no sense complaining now. A penalty was not given."
American Joe Scally vs. Bayern
Joe Scally vs Bayern pic.twitter.com/r0aId0aQIv— Undead Kranks (@dis_possessed) August 13, 2021
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)