Bayern Munich have predictably rolled past regional league side Schwarz-Weiss Rehden 5-0 in the final day of German Cup first round action. Bundesliga rivals Schalke had a tougher battle against fifth-tier Nöttingen.
Bayern may have won an unprecedented League-Cup-Champions League treble less than three months ago, but it has been some time since they were such heavy favorites against fourth-tier Schwarz-Weiss Rehden on Monday.
It was Pep Guardiola's first truly competitive competitive match in charge, and his Bayern squad did not disappoint. The ex-Barcelona coach went with a familiar approach in midfield, starting Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller in the center in front of Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Xherdan Shaqiri scored the first after 18 minutes when he got his foot on the end of a misdirected Arjen Robben shot towards the far post. It was Schweinsteiger, though, who deserves great credit for the goal. His brilliant through ball to the right flank found David Alaba, who crossed to Robben in the box.
Bayern were, unsurprisingly, a class above Rehden, but that doesn't mean the long-shot hosts didn't create chances of their own. At the half-hour mark, Alexander Neumann capitalized on a mistake from stand-in right back Rafinha - who otherwise had an excellent match - and got free on the flank. He sent a clever chip over Manuel Neuer towards goal, but his attempt was just wide.
Moments before the break the Bavarians doubled their lead through a Müller header, courtesy of a Rafinha cross, and went into halftime with a comfortable two-goal cushion.
A combination of Bayern's skill and Rehden's tired legs in the second half saw the visitors pull away in a match that was never really in doubt. Müller added a second through a penalty kick on the hour mark, and finished off his hat trick with a header five minutes later.
Robben added a final goal in the 88th minute to make it five, and Bayern finished the match deserved winners.
It wasn't all good news for Bayern, however. Schweinsteiger was forced to come off in the 62nd minute with a knee injury, which gave the club's least high profile summer signing, defender Jan Kirchhoff, a chance to test his skills in the middle of the park.
"It's not easy, these games," Guardiola told broadcaster Sky after the match in one of his increasingly-famous German-language interviews. "We worked well."
Hard work for Schalke
Schalke defeated FC Nöttingen 2-0 on Monday in the final day of German Cup first round action. The hosts may have been a fifth-tier side, but they put in a first-rate effort against the visiting Bundesliga behemoths.
The fact that Schalke started a first-rate squad at the Wildparkstadion in Karlsruhe, including Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Julian Draxler, gives extra credit to Nöttingen. Despite their star power, it took the Bundesliga club a half hour to finally break the deadlock. From the left wing, Christian Fuchs found Schalke's Dutch striker with a ball that cut through the Nöttingen defense towards the far post, where only a simple tap-in was needed.
Down but never out, Nöttingen continued to play on par with Schalke and tested goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand with six shots on goal during the course of the match. As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes the minnows sent everything they had towards goal, but it was Schalke's new signing Leon Goretzka who was the final scorer and the match finished 2-0.
Second division Paderborn defeated Duisburg 3-2. Duisburg, who now play in Germany's third tier after financial troubled forced them down a division, fought hard for the entire match. In the end an unlucky red card in the second half proved to be their undoing and Paderborn pulled away to qualify for the second round.
Union Berlin survived a red card scare of their own to defeat Jahn Regensburg. Abdenour Amachaibou put the hosts ahead in the 19th minute, but hardly two minutes later Sören Brandy equalized. A header from Benjamin Köhler off a Brandy cross just before halftime put Union in the lead, and despite a red card to Marc Pfertzel 20 minutes from time, they held on to win 2-1.
Monday marked the final day of German Cup first round action and just like Saturday, not a single club was upset. Werder Bremen, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Nuremberg and Eintracht Braunschweig, who all played Sunday, were the only Bundesliga sides to be eliminated.
The draw for the next phase of the German Cup will be held on August 10.