Bayern Munich have beaten Barcelona 2-0 in the Uli Hoeness Cup. The match was just a preseason friendly, but there was plenty of hype surrounding Pep Guardiola's matchup against his former club.
Fans packed the Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday evening to see Bayern take on Lionel Messi and company. There was no Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets or Pique but Bayern showed up with a close-to-full-strength squad, including a starting spot for new signing Thiago Alcantara.
Coach Pep Guardiola made a number of interesting tactical decisions to start the match, including playing longtime right back and captain Philipp Lahm in the center of midfield and starting Thomas Müller as a lone striker.
The story of the first 45 minutes, though, was Franck Ribery. Not five minutes into the match the French winger beat his defender and sped down the left flank before sending a cross into Arjen Robben, only to see the Dutch attacker's effort cleared off the line.
In the 14th minute, Ribery again played creator when he sent a ball towards Lahm in the box. The diminutive defender-turned-midfielder rose into the air and sent a header over goalkeeper Jose Manuel Pinto and into the net to make it 1-0.
Ribery continued to cause trouble for the remainder of the half and Bayern managed to stay in control of the match, but Barcelona refused to concede a second goal.
Many changes at halftime
Halftime saw Barcelona swap their entire starting 11 with a B team lineup, while Bayern made a number of subs themselves. Bastian Schweinsteiger marked his return from injury with an appearance in the 68th minute, replacing Toni Kroos – himself recently recovered from a leg problem. New signing Jan Kirchhoff got about 20 minutes of playing time, as well as young players Emre Can and Diego Contento.
As the clock wound down it looked like Lahm's goal would be the only one of the night until Mario Mandzukic doubled the Bayern lead three minutes from the final whistle. Can broke away on the left wing and sent a low ball to the Croatian striker for a simple tap-in.
The 2-0 score was a fair result for a Bayern side that controlled the majority of the match, conceding only a handful of opportunities to a Barcelona side that had dug to the depths of their roster.
The victory continues Bayern's impressive preseason record and comes four days after dominant 5-1 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Telekom-Cup final.
Bayern get their season started in a much more official way on Saturday, when they play Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund in the German Football League's Supercup. They kick off their German Cup campaign, along with the rest of the country, next weekend when they take on fourth-tier Schwarz-Weiss Rehden. Bayern also host the opening match of the league season against Gladbach on August 9.
Keep up to date with the latest scores and the points table in the Bundesliga.