Berlin, Aug 25: Two second-half goals helped titleholders Bayern Munich to move 3-1 past Hoffenheim at the curtain raiser of the Bundesliga season 2018-19.
The “Bavarians” started with a victory into the 56th Bundesliga season as goals from Thomas Mueller, Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben were enough to edge resilient Hoffenheim on Friday.
Bayern assumed control immediately after the kick off and came to their chance with 12 minutes played when Jerome Boateng’s shot on target got blocked, reports Xinhua news agency.
As the match progressed, the host’s efforts paid off as Thomas Mueller headed home Joshua Kimmich’s corner kick to break the deadlock at the near post with 23 minutes into the game.
Hoffenheim regrouped and responded almost 10 minutes later but Joe Linton pulled wide from the promising position.
Bayern continued to press forward and missed the chance to double the lead in the 38th minute when Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann denied Kingsley Coman from close range.
After the restart, the hosts started where they left off as Arjen Robben missed the target just wide with an attempt from inside the box in the 54th minute.
The visitors shocked the German record champions with the equalizer out of the blue after Adam Szalai shrugged off two defenders to beat Bayern custodian Manuel Neuer into the far post corner four minutes later.
Hoffenheim gained momentum but a foul play penalty allowed Bayern to take the 2-1 lead. However, Baumann saved Lewandowski’s shot before Robben tapped home the rebound, which was overruled by the video referee due to encroachment.
Thus, Lewandowski stepped up again only to beat Baumann into the bottom left for the 2-1 lead in the 82nd minute.
The video referee remained in the thick of things as he overruled Mueller’s brace due to a deflected handball. Bayern piled on the pressure in the closing stages and it came as no surprise when Arjen Robben sealed the deal after the build-up work from Leon Goretzka.
“We wrapped up a deserved victory. We had many chances. Nevertheless, it wasn’t easy against Hoffenheim. It is always great to secure a victory in the first game of the season,” Bayern head coach Niko Kovac said.
“We did not play as you have to play against Bayern to secure points. We played a good second half though,” Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann said.