Bundesliga result: Newcomers Sule and Tolisso bag debut goals to help Bayern Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen

Bayern munich 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen

Bayern Munich’s newcomers opened the Bundesliga in style as the defending champions beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 in heavy rain on Friday night.

Niklas Sule and Corentin Tolisso scored their first goals for Bayern since joining the club this summer, before Robert Lewandowski added a third from a penalty that was only given after a video review.

After Tolisso saw a hard shot saved at the near post in the opening stages, Sule opened the scoring in the ninth minute as he rose highest to head home Sebastian Rudy’s cross from a set piece.

Leverkusen nearly equalised three minutes later but Sven Ulreich, still deputising for the injured Manuel Neuer, stuck out a boot to deny Admir Mehmedi.

But the hosts quickly regained control and doubled their lead on 18 minutes following a corner.

Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno could only punch the ball out as far as Arturo Vidal, who immediately lofted the ball back into the six-yard box for Tolisso to head in.

The former Lyon man nearly added a second goal five minutes later only for the ball to come back off the post.

By that time the rain was coming down in sheets, and half-time was extended by 15 minutes to wait out the inclement weather.

A video assistant referee (VAR) system was available for the first time in Bundesliga history, and it worked perfectly to award Bayern a penalty early in the second half.

Lewandowski was clearly pulled down by Charles Aranguiz as he chased a cross into the box, and the referee on the pitch awarded a spot-kick after consulting with the off-site VAR.

The striker converted it himself to put Bayern 3-0 up in the 53rd minute.

Leverkusen squandered a gilt-edged chance soon afterward as Ulreich saved Julian Brandt’s shot and Dominik Kohr’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Joshua Kimmich.

But the visitors were able to convert on their next opportunity in the 65th minute as Mehmedi launched a first-time rocket into the top corner inside the near post.

Kohr flicked a header just wide after a set piece that could have reduced the deficit to one, but Bayern held on to begin the season with three points.

Bayern have won 18 and drawn five since losing to Mainz in March 2016.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who were missing a host of key players through injury, extending their unbeaten home run to a 23rd league match. Bayern have won 18 and drawn five since losing to Mainz in March 2016.

German Super Cup: Bayern Munich edge Borussia Dortmund on penalties to retain Super Cup

Borussia Dortmund 2-2 Bayern Munich (PK 4-5)

Bayern Munich twice came from behind before beating Borussia Dortmund 5-4 on penalties to win the German Super Cup.

Christian Pulisic gave the hosts the lead at Signal Iduna Park before Poland striker Robert Lewandowski equalised.

Dortmund regained the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Lukasz Piszczek’s late own goal forcing penalties.

Bayern won 5-4 after their second-choice goalkeeper Sven Ulreich saved two spot kicks in the shootout.

It is the seventh time Bayern have won the Super Cup, the traditional curtain-raiser to the Bundesliga season between the champions and the German Cup winners, having also beaten Dortmund last year.

Bayern’s Sebastian Kimmich was the first to have his spot kick saved in the third round, but it got back on level terms one round later when Ulreich denied former Bayern player Sebastian Rode.

Sule then scored in the sixth round before Ulreich dived to his right to pick off Bartra’s shot, and Bayern celebrated winning the trophy for the second straight year.

Bayern start the defence of their title on 18 August at home to Bayer Leverkusen, while Dortmund go to Wolfsburg a day later.

Sturridge score but injures as Liverpool rout Bayern Munich in Audi Cup

Bayern Munich 0-3 Liverpool

Daniel Sturridge went off with a thigh injury after scoring in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup.

The England striker, 27, scored 15 minutes after coming off the bench by chipping in the Reds’ third goal.

But he immediately pulled up and was substituted on 87 minutes, with boss Jurgen Klopp saying he hoped “it’s nothing serious”.

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah also scored as Liverpool set up a final against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Mane slotted home the opener on six minutes after a quick breakaway by Roberto Firmino.

The Senegal forward then turned provider when he flicked the ball to Alberto Moreno, and although his effort was saved, Salah was able to nod in from close range.

Bayern offered little in attack but were in their most dominant spell when they were caught on the counter-attack and Sturridge raced forward to add a third before limping off.

Injuries have limited Sturridge to 46 league appearances in the past three seasons.

Speaking after the match, Klopp said: “He hurt his thigh. He has really prepared well, really well, so I hope this is just a small injury and that he can play again soon. “The goal was great and he had a chance just before that. You could see how fast he is.”

Liverpool, who remain unbeaten during their pre-season campaign, will play Atletico Madrid in Munich on Wednesday before their final friendly of the summer against Athletic Bilbao in Dublin on Saturday.

Bayern Munich appoint Hasan Salihamidzic as new sporting director

Bayern Munich have named former midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic as the club’s new sporting director.

The 40-year-old Bosnian’s appointment on a three-year deal was announced in a news conference on Monday.

Salihamidzic made over 350 appearances for Bayern during a nine-year spell between 1998 and 200 , winning six Bundesliga titles and one Champions League trophy.

The German champions have not had a sporting director since Matthias Sammer left the club last summer 2016.

Former club captains Philipp Lahm and Oliver Kahn had been among those linked with the role.

“When I was asked if I wanted to I knew immediately that I would,” said Salihamidzic. “When I was here as a player I always gave 100 per cent in every training session and every game, and I’ll do the same now as sporting director. I’ll be available for the players 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m really looking forward to the task.”

“Hasan knows Bayern well, he was here as a player for several years,” said Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “He’s a person I wouldn’t have liked to play against because he always worked hard and gave his all. He’s a very loyal and he speaks five languages, so he can speak to all of our players. He’ll be responsible for football and he’ll be the link between the coach and the team and the coach and the club.”

He had subsequent spells at Juventus and Wolfsburg before retiring as a professional in 2012. He has since worked as an ambassador for Bayern and travelled with the club on their recent trip to Asia as part of the Bundesliga World Tour 2017.

Is Bayern Munich’s scary squad depth the best in Europe???

Bayern have not wasted any time in the transfer market this summer and have quite possibly assembled the most fearsome squad in Europe.

They pulled of a transfer coup this week with the signing of James Rodriguez on a two-year loan deal from Real Madrid.

Goalkeeper

Manuel Neuer will obviously remain No.1 next term, with the 31-year-old taking over from Philipp Lahm as captain – and Carlo Ancelotti recently summed up the stopper’s brilliance in an equally excellent manner.

The Bayern boss told Corriere dello Sport: “We have a computer in the goal and that makes the difference. I always say that he has no arms, chest and pelvis under his jersey, but a keyboard on which he enters the game situation.”

After missing the end of last season through injury, Neuer’s understudies may be hopeful of getting more game time next season.

Long-time No.2 Tom Starke retired at the end of last season with 13 honours and only 10 first-team appearances to his name, meaning former Stuttgart No.1 Sven Ulreich will serve as back-up, with Germany youth international Christian Früchtl waiting in the wings.

Defence

While the man between the posts is as good as nailed on, the outfield places are completely up for grabs with each position having at least two viable contenders.

After switching to midfield under Pep Guardiola, Lahm returned to right-back for the majority of his final season, meaning Joshua Kimmich, Rafinha and new signing Sebastian Rudy will battle it out this term.

Kimmich’s versatility counted against him last season, but the 22-year-old is eager to secure a regular role at Bayern. He said: “If I have the choice of playing 30 or 35 times as a defender or 20 games as a six [midfielder], then I would always choose right-back – not out of rebellion but to play with full conviction and passion.”

At centre-back, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are expected to start as first choice, but Ancelotti has the option of Niklas Sule – who was signed in a €25million deal from Hoffenheim – or Javi Martinez.

Mario Gotze’s younger brother, Felix, signed a pro contract with the club this summer and will also be hoping for a chance at centre-back, while David Alaba can also operate in the middle.

Speaking of Alaba, the Austrian is established at left-back, but Spain international Juan Bernat is an able deputy and there are high hopes for 19-year-old Marco Friedl, who signed a four-year deal in March.

Midfield

Bayern tended to opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation under Ancelotti last term, but their midfield will be much less handsome this time around following the retirement of Xabi Alonso.

The Bundesliga champions have splashed €40million on Corentin Tolisso after the 22-year-old impressed for Lyon last season, and he will compete with Arturo Vidal, Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez in the middle of the park. Kimmich and Rudy could also be deployed there, depending on whether or not they are selected at right-back.

Likewise, Alaba can also switch from left-back to central midfield when needed, giving Ancelotti a range of different options and skillsets – that’s without mentioning Renato Sanches, who has gone from the best prodigy in Europe to a forgotten man, and may yet leave either on loan or permanently.

On the flanks, Douglas Costa has been sold to Juventus, but Bayern have secured the permanent signing of the exciting French youngster Kingsley Coman, while veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben continue to turn opposition full-backs inside out despite being 34 and 33, respectively.

James Rodriguez has left Real Madrid after growing tired of sitting on the bench and could also play out wide, although he is likely to have an eye on the No.10 role, where he will face competition from Thiago and Bayern stalwart Thomas Muller.

Former Arsenal youngster Serge Gnabry has also been signed, but loaned to Hoffenheim, and we’re starting to get a headache trying to work out how Ancelotti is going to keep all these players happy.

Attack

Just like in goal, up front things are much more straightforward. After passing 40 goals in all competitions in both of his last two seasons, Robert Lewandowski will lead the line, with Muller the most likely option to replace him when necessary.

Lewandowski seems to have his eyes set on the Golden Boot this term after missing out by a single goal to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang last season before criticising his team-mates.

“I was not completely satisfied with the way my team helped me,” he said, as quoted by ESPN. “Immediately after the last game, I felt anger. I was disappointed with my team. That was the feeling I had.”

If Lewandowski is not happy with whoever is supplying his chances next term, it’s not as if Ancelotti is short of option.

Bayern Munich let new signing Serge Gnabry join Hoffenheim on a season-long loan 

​Serge Gnabry has joined Hoffenheim on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich.

The Germany international, who left Arsenal for Werder Bremen last August before joining Bayern earlier this summer, is being loaned to Hoffenheim until June 2018.

A statement on Bayern’s official website said: “Serge Gnabry is moving from Bayern Munich to fellow Bundesliga side Hoffenheim on loan with immediate effect.

“The 22-year-old, who played for Werder Bremen last season and signed a three-year deal at Bayern in June, is being loaned out to the Europa League participants for one year until 30 June 2018.”

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the move came due to Gnabry’s desire for more playing time.

“Serge expressed a wish to go out on loan for a year in order to get more match experience,” Rummenigge said.

“He’s guaranteed to get that at a high level in Hoffenheim. After a year Serge will return to FC Bayern.

“On behalf of the club I wish Serge Gnabry all the best in Hoffenheim and also thank Hoffenheim for the earnest and constructive discussions which led to this agreement.”

Xabi Alonso rejects assistant manager role at Bayern

​Former Liverpool favourite Xabi Alonso has rejected the chance to become Bayern Munich’s assistant manager.

The 35-year-old hung up his boots at the end of last season after three seasons at Bayern.

Carlo Ancelotti had offered Alonso the chance to be his assistant but that the midfielder, along with Bayern legend Philipp Lahm, snubbed the offer.

Alonso and Ancelotti spent two seasons together at Real Madrid before teaming up again for more success at the Allianz Arena and the Italian was keen to keep his former charge alongside him.

As Bayern returned for pre-season, Ancelotti formally unveiled Frenchman Wlily Sagnol as his new lieutenant but revealed he was not first choice for the position.

Ancelotti said: “I wanted an assistant who knew the club. I tried to convince Philipp Lahm before the end of the season, I also tried to convince Xabi Alonso. They refused.

“Willy suits perfectly, he has the right profile, he has been successful at Bordeaux, and he knows the players like Coman or Ribery, and he will improve our trainer team.”
As for Alonso, he has not yet committed to any new role since his retirement although he told theLiverpool Echoa few months ago that a visit to Liverpool with his son Jontxu was definitely on the cards for next season.

“That’s 100% sure,” he said.

“We are really looking forward to going back. I have heard great things about the new Main Stand

“My son is desperate to go. He’s Liverpool born and always asks: ‘Dad. when are we going to Liverpool?’

“I say: ‘Okay, but at the moment I have busy weekends! We will go, don’t worry.’”