Late goals from Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich were enough to give Bayern Munich a 2-0 win against Schalke. It was tough on the impressive Royal Blues, who were made to pay for some wasteful finishing.
Schalke 0-2 Bayern Munich
(Lewandowski 80', Kimmich 92')
New season, same Bayern. The ever-clinical champions came away from an entertaining and largely even game with a two-goal win against a Schalke side who showed enough to suggest they'll be in the hunt for a Champions League spot this term.
Robert Lewandowski's dead-eyed late finish saved him from embarrassment after a shocking open-goal miss, before substitute Joshua Kimmich wrapped up the victory in injury time with a confident finish.
The two sides came in to their first game in almost a fortnight in vastly different moods. Bayern's 6-0 hammering of Werder Bremen on increased already sky-high confidence while Schalke's dispiriting 1-0 loss to Frankfurt put an early dent in another new era.
Before the match, new Schalke coach Markus Weinzierl claimed there were two options for his team: "Either sit deep or try to push higher up and put the opposition under pressure.” Whether it was by design, or a result of Bayern's well-oiled passing game, the home side - featuring two debutants in Benjamin Stambouli and Yevhen Konoplyanka - seemed to settle for the first option in the first quarter of an hour.
Huntelaar missed a glorious chance in the first half, as Schalke failed to make their pressure count
Slowly but surely though the Royal Blues grew in to the game, pressing Bayern - who gave a debut to teenager Renato Sanches - all over the pitch. Leon Goretzka had the chance to claim the reward for his team's increased enterprise, but the young midfielder's unmarked header was weak and blocked by David Alaba.
Shortly after that, the champions were wasteful themselves, as a cagey game stepped up a notch. Robert Lewandowski found a yard of space in the box but the Polish striker, who bagged a hat-trick against Bremen, scuffed his shot wide.
Stung by the let-off, Schalke came again. Abdul Rahman Baba's jinking run took several Munich players out the game before the left-back found Konoplyanka. Manuel Neuer could only palm the Ukrainian's cross in to the path of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar but the poacher's snap shot couldn't find a way past the German number one. Somehow at half-time, it was goalless.
Huntelaar went close again shortly after the break, this time hammering a shot from outside the box which Neuer did brilliantly to tip on to the crossbar.
Markus Weinzierl said afterwards the performance was something to build on after suffering a painful opening day defeat
It was Bayern's turn for profligacy next and it was their usually-clinical number nine who somehow contrived to miss an open net. David Alaba's low, whipped cross was missed by both Müller and Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann, leaving Lewandowksi with a tap in from two yards. The striker failed to get over a bouncing ball from a meter out though, and spooned over under absolutely no pressure.
He wasn't to be denied for long though, and Schalke, like so many Bundesliga sides before them, fell to a Bavarian sucker punch. Javi Martinez made the most of an unoccupied midfield to measure a precise pass through to Lewandowski. The Pole reverted to type with a composed right-footed finish that flew high past Fährmann's outstretched hand from just inside the box.
As Schalke poured forward they lost possession. Lewandowski found himself in acres of space and rolled the ball to the overlapping Joshua Kimmich. With his first touch, the substitute stroked the ball low in to the far corner.
For Schalke, it was a tough defeat to take but they can take heart from matching the champions for the lion's share of the game. For Bayern, a stringent test may serve them well with seven games to come in the next 20 days. And, if they needed it, they have a reminder of just how clinical they can be.
As it happened