Pep Guardiola enjoyed a winning start in the Bundesliga as Bayern Munich beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 at the Allianz Arena on Friday.
Two goals in four first-half minutes from Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic put Bayern comfortably in front, before Dante put the ball into his own net before half-time.
David Alaba’s penalty, just a minute after a Thomas Mueller spot-kick was saved, gave the Bavarians a comfortable opening to their Bundesliga campaign.
In Guardiola’s first Bundesliga game, he was forced to leave out two of the club’s close-season acquisitions with Mario Goetze still recovering from injury and Thiago Alcantara suffering from illness.
Recent signings Christoph Kramer, Raffael and Max Kruse started for the visitors, with Lucien Favre having led his side to a draw and victory in their previous two visits to the Allianz Arena.
Gladbach were put on the back foot immediately as Bayern swarmed forward in the early stages, and the hosts were rewarded for their pressure in the 12th minute.
Franck Ribery lofted a well-executed pass over the top of the visitors’ defence, with Robben racing onto the ball and prodding the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal.
Bayern’s dominance was reinforced just four minutes later as Mandzukic double his side’s lead, pouncing on a rebound after Ter Stegen had kept Ribery out from Robben’s free-kick from the right.
Favre’s side still managed to force chances with Manuel Neuer forced into a smart reflexes stop by Raffael, but struggled to contain the constant wide threat of Ribery and Robben.
However, Gladbach were given a route back into the game, shortly before the break thanks to a Dante own-goal.
Juan Arango played the ball across the Bayern goal from the left flank with Dante poking past Neuer as the keeper came to claim the ball just behind him.
Ter Stegen was then forced into two wonderful saves to keep the score at 2-1, first tipping a Toni Kroos effort before denying Mandzukic’s header from the resulting corner.
The second half began frantically, with Kruse having two good opportunities to equalise within 11 minutes.
Kroos then hit Ter Stegen’s left-hand post from long range after 59 minutes before Bayern got the crucial breakthrough in a crazy three-minute period.
Alvaro Dominguez handled the ball in the box in the 66th minute but Mueller saw his effort saved. However, bizarrely, Dominguez handled the ball again immediately after Ter Stegen’s save and a second penalty was awarded.
Alaba took over duties and scored to restore Bayern’s their two-goal lead, in the strangest of circumstances.
Despite the blow of conceding the third goal, Gladbach still threatened in the remainder of the game, the bright Kruse just being smothered by Dante as he raced towards goal.
However, they were unable to breach the hosts’ defence and threaten a comeback, as Bayern took all three points against their opponents, just as they did in the final game of last season at Borussia-Park.
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