Never-say-die Bayern claimed the German Supercup for a record sixth time on Saturday evening, stand-in keeper Sven Ulreich saving two spot-kicks in a 5-4 penalty shootout victory away to DFB Cup holders Borussia Dortmund, after a last-gasp Joshua Kimmich strike had salvaged a 2-2 draw in the 2017/18 edition of the traditional curtain-raiser to the new Bundesliga season.
In a fast-paced and at times feisty encounter, Christian Pulisic and Robert Lewandowski traded goals in the first 20 minutes and although the men in red had the better of the chances through to half-time it remained deadlocked at the break.
The contest became cagey for a while after the restart but Dortmund enjoyed a brief spell in the ascendancy from the hour mark onwards and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang restored BVB’s advantage in the 71st minute. The Reds piled forward in search of the equaliser and it was Kimmich who forced the ball home after a goalmouth scramble with two minutes to go. Ulreich then saved twice in the shootout to ensure his side went away with the first trophy of the new campaign.
Bayern’s next match is the DFB Cup first round tie away to Chemnitz a week from today, before the official Bundesliga restart fixture at home to Leverkusen on Friday 18 August.
- Carlo rings the changes
Among a raft of firsts on the evening, there were competitive FCB starting debuts for new boys Corentin Tolisso and Sebastian Rudy, and for the Bundesliga’s Video Assistant Referee system, a replay analysis tool aimed at remedying clearly incorrect refereeing decisions.
With injuries ruling out a number of regulars including Arjen Robben, David Alaba and Thiago, boss Carlo Ancelotti fielded a relatively unfamiliar line-up for the showdown with the black and yellows.
Sven Ulreich continued to deputise for the injured Manuel Neuer in goal, with Kimmich at what could become a regular right-back berth following Philipp Lahm’s retirement, Rafinha switching to left-back, and Javi Martínez and ex-BVB man Mats Hummels at centre-half. Tolisso and Rudy took up station in midfield with Arturo Vidal in behind the seasoned front three of Thomas Müller, Lewandowski and Franck Ribery.
New Borussia boss Peter Bosz sent out a strong team spearheaded by top striker Aubameyang and US starlet Pulisic, although former Munich schemer Mario Götze is not yet fit enough for the squad following a five-month lay-off.
- Lewy levels as FCB shade first half
After referee Felix Zwayer whistled the contest underway the sides each fashioned half chances in a lively opening spell, before Martínez as last man lost possession to Pulisic 25 yards from goal, the BVB striker advancing into the box and slotting home the opener.
The Reds sought an immediate reply and home keeper Roman Bürki saved well from Ribery, but Lewandowski went one better and levelled on 18 minutes with a tap-in from a Kimmich cross after Rudy cleverly played in the young Germany international behind the BVB defence. The goal became the first to be signed off by the Video Assistant, who duly confirmed there had been no offside.
The game swung from end to end now with Gonzalo Castro shooting straight at Ulreich from close range and Bürki reacting well to deny Müller, who then saw a flicked header from another Kimmich cross hit the outside of the post on 35 minutes. Munich dominated from then through to half-time but Bürki made two good saves and the offside flag put a halt to a couple of promising moves as the sides turned round with the score 1-1.
- Sven the shootout hero
The teams conceded not an inch to each other in the first 15 minutes of the second period, before Ancelotti was forced into a change on the hour when Niklas Süle too made his debut in a red shirt in place of Martinez. The home team were temporarily galvanised now with Nuri Sahin going close and Castro coming up inches short of a driven Ousmane Dembelé cross, but the action switched to the other end where Tolisso was unable to get power onto a free header.
Kingsley Coman took over from Müller midway through the second half and Lewandowski broke clear of the Borussia defence, but the move broke down and the home team went straight on the attack, Dembélé releasing Aubameyang to shoot past Ulreich and restore the lead with 19 minutes left.
But the men from Munich never gave up and Kimmich forced the 88th minute equaliser over the line after an almighty scramble in front of Bürki following a Coman free-kick, the decision again being referred to the Video Assistant before being confirmed.
The game went straight to a shootout, and although Kimmich almost went from hero to villain by missing his penalty, Ulreich saved brilliantly from Sebastian Rode and Marc Bartra to earn his side the trophy.
Chris Hamley reporting from Signal Iduna Park for fcbayern.com
- Match stats:
Borussia Dortmund: Bürki - Zagadou (77´,Passlack), Sokratis, Bartra, Piszczek - Castro, Sahin, Dahoud (46´,Rode) - Pulisic (90´, Philipp), Aubameyang, Dembélé
FC Bayern: Ulreich - Kimmich, Martínez (60´, Süle), Hummels, Rafinha - Tolisso (84´, Sanches), Rudy, Vidal - Müller (67´, Coman), Lewandowski, Ribéry
Referee: Felix Zwayer (Berlín)
Attendance: 81.360 espectadores
Goals: 1-0 Pulisic (12´); 1-1 Lewandowski (18´); 2-1 Aubameyang (71´); 2-2 Piszczek (88´, en propia puerta)
Yellow cards: Sokratis, Zagadou, Rode, Passlack / Lewandowski, Vidal
- Report by fcbayern.de (Chris Hamley)