Bundesliga: Hertha hold Bayern Munich to a draw in season-opener | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 16.08.2019
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Bundesliga: Hertha hold Bayern Munich to a draw in season-opener

Bayern Munich hadn't dropped points on opening day since 2011, but three mad minutes late in the first half put paid to that. Robert Lewandowski bagged a couple to spare the champions blushes, somewhat.

Bayern Munich 2-2 Hertha Berlin 
(Lewandowski 24', 59' pen. — Lukebakio 36', Grujic 39')

One big deflection and a moment of defensive uncertainty, separated by just three minutes, turned a wholly comfortable match into something very different for the defending champions.

After 35 minutes of domination, but too little by way of an end product, Hertha struck twice in quick succession. Polish striker Robert Lewandowski would later win and convert a penalty to level the score, but Bayern couldn't unlock Hertha in the final half-hour to salvage all three points.

Though by no means a disastrous performance, the result will do little to quell the debate around Bayern's readiness for the current campaign, whether they remain favorites for what would be an eighth league title in a row. 

The last time the team dropped points on opening day was also the last season in which they failed to win the Bundesliga title. 

As it happened: 

FULL TIME. Bayern can only draw on opening day.

90+3' Nearly a Lewandowski hat trick! He tries to reach a header, but a Hertha defender beats him to the ball. 

90+3' The away fans have got hold of a whistle and are blowing for full time themselves. But it's not over yet.

90+1' Yellow card for Hertha's Mittelstedt.

90' Three added minutes. Reminder: Bayern haven't dropped points on matchday 1 since 2011.

89' Kovac has told his most attacking defender, Joshua Kimmich, to go walkabout. He spent most of the previous passage of play hovering on the edge of the box.

88' David Alaba with a sublime pass in behind for Coman, but the French winger can only win Bayern a corner.

86' Sub: Serge Gnabry makes way for Alphonso Davies.

81' Roughly 10 more minutes for Bayern to secure all three points on day 1 of the league season. It's not been as one-sided as you might think. Bayern have 68% possession, and six corners to none, but only 13 shots to Hertha's six. 

78' And that was Duda's last act tonight. Per Skjelbred replaces him.

77' Set piece specialist Ondrej Duda can only find the wall with his free kick. Threat over for Bayern.

76' Pavard gets booked on his Bundesliga debut for Bayern, also giving Hertha a very well-placed free kick.

72' Gilt-edged chance wasted by Tolisso! Kimmich plays in Gnabry, who lays the ball back to Tolisso, his shot drifts wide of the far post. 

72' Gnabry and Kimmich looking considerably more threatening as a duo than Coman and Alaba at the moment. Most of Bayern's good attacks germinating on the right wing. 

71' Thomas Müller goes in the book for clumsy tackle on Esswein.

63' Sub Hertha: Ibisevic makes way for Alexander Esswein.

59' GOAL! Robert Lewandowski (pen). 
Lewy takes a stutter-step run-up and slots it into the bottom left. Bayern are level. 

Bayern Munich vs. Hertha Berlin: Robert Lewandowski scores a second-half penalty past Rune Jarstein. (picture-alliance/dpa/S. Hope)

Lewandowski watched, waited, and left Rune Jarstein no chance whatsoever

58' VAR appeal, and a penalty for Bayern! Marko Grujic pulled Lewandowski back off the ball in the box. Missed in real time, but caught on tape. 

55' Fun fact: This would be Bayern's first opening-day defeat since 2011, when Borussia Mönchengladbach beat them 1-0, thanks to a stellar showing in goal from a youngster named Marc-Andre ter Stegen. The Foals' star attacker at the time was Marco Reus, and their coach? None other than Lucien Favre. 

53' Lively start to the second period, also from Hertha. Corentin Tolisso just won a crucial footrace against Lukebakio; the Hertha forward would have been clean through if he'd reached the ball first.

49' Odd thought, but seeing as Lukebakio's shot deflected off Vedad Ibisevic's back, does that mean the goal might be reclassified for Ibisevic? 

46' Second half begins. Bayern have it all to do again.

HT analysis: 

A walk in the park for the reigning champs transformed into a shock lead for Hertha Berlin in the course of three chaotic minutes. First, Dodi Lukebakio scored his fifth career goal against Bayern (in three appearances!) thanks to a chunky deflection. Then a combination of defensive uncertainty from Bayern and presence of mind from Vedad Ibisevic paved the way for Marko Grujic to put Hertha in front. The previous 35 minutes were a story of pretty much unchallenged Bayern domination. But only the scoreline counts at full time, so the Bavarians have plenty more work to do in the second period.

HALF TIME.

45+3' Kingsley Coman wants a penalty, but the appeal's turned down. And that's half time. Bayern fans may not be happy, as Coman appeared to be on the receiving end of a shove in the back. 

45+3' Worried glances from Niko Kovac as he readies a half time team talk that was looking formulaic — until the 36th minute. Surely Bayern won't start with a home defeat.

39' GOAL! Hertha again! Marko Grujic. 
Perhaps we can cue the "crisis" headlines after all? Great vision from Vedad Ibisevic as Bayern cede possession in their own half, chipping the ball over the defense into the path of Mark Grujic. Grujic scruffily claims the ball in a battle with Neuer then only has to knock it into an empty net. Home fans will be wondering quite what's happened here.

36' GOAL! Dodi Lukebakio. Hertha draw level. 
Dodi Lukebakio will get a lifetime Allianz Arena ban at this rate! After his January hat trick, he's scored again, albeit with a big slice of luck. His long range shot took a cruel deflection on its way past Manuel Neuer. All square!

Dodi Lukebakio of Hertha BSC scores his team's first goal during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Hertha BSC at Allianz Arena on August 16, 2019 in Munich, Germany.(Getty Images/Bongarts/L. Baron)

Lukebakio will be grateful in this instance that his teammate Ibisevic got in the way of his shot

31' The Bavarians continue to push, but poor decision-making in the final third is sometimes impeding their efforts. For instance, Lewandwoski just fired off a shot straight into a defender, while Gnabry was begging for the ball on the overlap.

24' GOAL! Robert Lewandowski. It had been coming.
Joshua Kimmich feeds Serge Gnabry, again in lots of space, on the right flank. Gnabry's low cross is out of Jarstein's reach, Lewandowski slides in to poke it home with his left. Bayern lead, the only real candidate scores it. 

23' A pretty sustained period of pressure for Bayern, punctuated by simply oodles of space for their wingers, who are frequently being fed in behind with long diagonal balls. Astonishing, in truth, that it's not resulted in more scoring chances.

16' Vladimir Darida earns the first Bundesliga booking of the season, pulling back Coman in a fairy clear-cut tactical foul.

13' We've had a pair of penalty appeals from each number 9, both ignored by the ref. First Robert Lewandowski and then Vedad Ibisevic went to ground and eagerly appealed in the area. Play continues though.

8' Great strike, just wide. Thomas Müller has a go and doesn't miss by much. One-way traffic early on at the Allianz Arena.

4' First test for Rune Jarstein in Hertha's goal. Thiago pulls the trigger, trying for an accurate side-foot into the bottom corner, from the edge of the box. The shot isn't optimally placed, and Jarstein is able to smother it, despite his view of the ball being blocked by a crowd of players in the box.

Bayern Munich's Thiago shoots at goal (Reuters/M. Dalder)

Thiago tries his luck, but Jarstein was more than equal to it

2' Early signs of flexibility behind Robert Lewandowski in the Bayern attack. Both Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry have taken up positions out right early on. But it seems to be Gnabry who's camping out on the flank, while Kingsley Coman is making the left touchline his own. In a side note, "right-back" Joshua Kimmich's first touch in an opposing penalty area came within the first 50 seconds of play.

KICK OFF! 2019-20 is go in the Bundesliga.

— Lots of excitement before kick off about Bayern apparently being within touching distance of a season-long loan of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona, after PSG withdrew from the race to acquire the Brazilian attacker. Obviously, we'll keep you up to speed on this once there's real movement. But for now, the anthem's being sung and kick off is imminent — it's highly doubtful Bayern would announce the deal mid-match!

— Hertha coach Ante Covic on mic on ZDF, saying he'd rather his players try and fail than retreat into their shells: "We need to find a good balance to our game tonight. You can't permanently press and defend high in Munich. ... Nevertheless, we want to represent Berlin on the pitch, and to play attractive, courageous, attacking football." 

— Bayern's fans start the season with a jab at the German DFL league organization, holding a placard saying: "DFL: It's time for change. Football belongs to everyone." Tonight's game is free to air on German TV, but it's very much the exception not the rule.

— There's just a quarter of an hour to go until kick off. Oliver Kahn's gracing German viewers' screens on ZDF. Does he believe in an eighth straight league title, or is defeat due?

"They were almost due [a defeat] last season already," Kahn says, before going on to neatly hedge his bets. He concludes with the evergreen sentiment that he's excited to see if they're still champion material. 

— 3, 3.18, 1977, 80 million: Find out the Bundesliga story behind all these numbers and more, right here: 

— Looking for last-minute pre-season reading material? You're in the right place. For instance, are you up to speed on one of the most famous German clubs never to be in the Bundesliga — until now? 

Read more:   Bundesliga club Union Berlin: Between idealism and reality

— Jonathan Harding is our man in the stadium this evening, having made a lengthy pilgrimage from Bonn to Bavaria for the season opener. Suffice to say he's well worth a follow on Twitter, tonight and any night. 

— Hertha Berlin's new striker Dodi Lukebakio, who's liable to prove a major loss for Fortuna Düsseldorf, might go into tonight's game quietly confident. Why, you ask? Well, he banged in a hat trick on his last visit to the Allianz Arena in January, with the game ending as a 3-3 draw. Lukebakio joined quite an elite club with this feat. The last player to score three in a game at Bayern was a fellow by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo. In the striker's defense, when he was made aware of this at the time, he coolly responded: "Please stop making comparisons like that!"

Here's the full Hertha lineup: 

— It's that time again. Per Bundesliga tradition, the reigning champs kick off the new season. Bayern Munich's starting lineup will do little to quell a rather heated debate on whether or not the squad needs strengthening

On the one hand, Bayern's starting XI oozes international experience and class, and includes a spot at center back for France's World Cup-winner Benjamin Pavard, one of Bayern's three major acquisitions in the off-season. 

But on the other hand, an injury to Leon Goretzka, and a suspension carried forward from last season for Ivan Perisic mean that there's space for four in-house Bayern youngsters on the subs' bench: Lars Mai (19), Sarpreet Singh (20), Paul Will (20) and comparative old-boy Kwasi Wriedt (25, but with just one Bundesliga appearance to his name). 

 

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