"It was incredibly hard today. We knew it would be really tough and we tried to start the game with a more defensive line-up," said Sven Bender after the game. "We were well prepared but carelessly gave away the lead after going 1-0 up. That was avoidable."
Heiko Herrlich had to manage in Munich without the injured Julian Baumgartlinger (knee), Panos Retsos (thigh) and Joel Pohjanpalo (ankle) as well as Charles Aránguiz (knee). The Bayer 04 head coach made four changes to the side that lost 3-1 to VfL Wolfsburg. Lukas Hradecky replaced Ramazan Özcan in goal in his debut outing for the Werkself. Sven Bender returned to the starting eleven after injury along with Tin Jedvaj and Dominik Kohr (in for Mitchell Weiser, Julian Brandt and Lucas Alario). Herrlich started with a 3-4-2-1 formation. Aleksandar Dragovic, Jonathan Tah and Sven Bender formed a back three behind Jedvaj, Lars Bender, Kohr and Wendell designed to provide a solid midfield. Up front, Kai Havertz played on the right, Leon Bailey on the left with Kevin Volland down the middle.
And there was a curious and intense start to the game in Munich. With only two minutes on the clock, referee Tobias Welz awarded Bayer 04 a penalty for a handball by Thiago. Manuel Neuer saved from Volland and held on to the striker's shot on the rebound. However, Welz decided the penalty had to be taken again as several Bayern players had encroached into the box. This time Wendell grabbed the ball and cool as ice converted the penalty with a shot into the right corner of the net on five minutes. The celebrations at taking the lead did not last long. Corentin Tolisso levelled the scores at 1-1 five minutes later rounding off a Bayern counter-attack - Hradecky was helpless.
After a quieter few minutes, it was FC Bayern who struck next: Arjen Robben fired in a diagonal shot from the right from the edge of the box in the top left corner to make it 2-1 on 20 minutes. Hradecky again stood absolutely no chance.
Bayern were now on top and they closed the Werkself down with strong counter pressing. Just after the half-hour mark, Herrlich had to replace the injured captain Lars Bender who had a problem with his left calf. He was replaced by Julian Brandt. The Werkself struggled to hold on to the ball as FC Bayern were quick to regain possession when they did lose the ball. The result: Further good chances for Thomas Müller (30') - Hradecky brilliantly saved his long-range shot - and Robben went close with a curler from a promising position on 32 minutes. The Werkself found it increasingly difficult to escape being penned in by FC Bayern, and were too careless when they attempted to counter. The hosts deserved to be 2-1 up at the break.
Bayern continued to control the game in the second half but the Werkself initially succeeded in preventing any dangerous situations in the penalty area. The match was not as intense as in the first 45. Robert Lewandowski had the first decent chance for the hosts but Dragovic turned his effort away for a corner on 63 minutes. The Werkself primarily endeavoured to keep it tight at the back and were unable to pose a threat at the other end of the pitch.
The hosts also had less chances but they were happy to hold on to possession. Efforts on goal from Bayer 04, such as a shot from Havertz (78') that went wide of the target, were the exception. Shortly after that, the Werkself were a man down after substitute Karim Bellarabi was shown a red card by the referee Welz on 80 minutes for a foul on Rafinha just eight minutes after he came on. With the extra player, Bayern made it 3-1 on 89 minutes with a James header. The final whistle came soon after that - Bayer 04 remain pointless after three games in the league.
The match at the Allianz Arena marks the start of a busy run of fixtures for the Werkself. On Thursday 20 September, Bayer 04 have the first group match in the Europa League away to Ludogorets Rasgrad (21.00 CET). The following Sunday, 23 September, Bayer 04 entertain FSV Mainz 05 with a Family Day at the BayArena (kick-off 15.30 CET).
Bayern Munich: Neuer - Kimmich, Süle, J. Boateng, Rafinha - Tolisso (James 42') - Müller, Thiago - Robben, Gnabry (Martinez 59') - Lewandowski
Bayer 04: Hradecky - Dragovic, Tah, S. Bender - Jedvaj, L. Bender (Brandt 27'), Kohr, Wendell - Havertz, Bailey (Paulinho 83') - Volland (Bellarabi 73')
Goals: 0-1 Wendell (5' pen.), 1-1 Tolisso (10'), 2-1 Robben (20'), 3-1 James (89')
Referee: Tobias Welz (Wiesbaden)
Sent off: Bellarabi (80')
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