Munich - Pep Guardiola took his Bundesliga bow in style as FC Bayern Munich started the defence of their title with a 3-1 home victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 2013/14 season curtain-raiser.
Clicking into gear
Even in the absence of marquee summer signings Thiago Alcantara and Mario Götze, the German and European champions provided the sold-out Allianz Arena with highlights aplenty as Arjen Robben and Mario Mandzukic fired them into an early two-goal lead. Dante’s own-goal shortly before the break threatened to spoil the party, but a second-half penalty from David Alaba sealed the points, extending Bayern's unbeaten run in the league to 26 games.
Gladbach enjoyed an early spell of pressure as they diligently went about trying to probe for a chink in the hosts’ armour. But Bayern swiftly settled into their rhythm and soon reaped the rewards of their control on proceedings when Franck Ribery’s pin-point ball over the top found Robben, who made no mistake with his first-time effort.
Having gone behind, the visitors seemed temporarily to lose their shape at the back and, sensing a weakness, die Münchner pressed their advantage by doubling their lead minutes later when Mandzukic poked home from close range after Ribery's initial effort was saved. Gladbach were struggling to muster a response to the constant barrage of Bayern attacks and Mandzukic should have added a second of his own when he met Robben’s cross at the back post.
Foals fight back
The Foals weren’t without their chances though, as a superb reflex save from Manuel Neuer denied Max Kruse a debut goal for his new side. However, Germany’s No 1 could do nothing to prevent Gladbach reducing the arrears when Dante bundled Juan Arango’s cross into his own net, before ter Stegen pulled off two superb saves from Toni Kroos and Mandzukic to send the sides in at the break with just a goal between them.
The second half began in a far more subdued manner with both sides adopting a more risk-averse approach to the encounter. Gladbach had rediscovered their discipline at the back and produced the first chance of the second half when Raffael had Neuer at full stretch to push his dipping effort away from danger.
The game turned into a breathtaking end-to-end to affair approaching the hour mark and with the visitors throwing caution to the wind, Bayern came within a whisker of extending their lead when Kroos’ drilled effort crashed back off the post. However, Gladbach then came undone when Alvaro Dominguez was twice penalised for handling inside the area.
Ter Stegen produced a superb save to deny Thomas Müller's spot kick, but when Dominguez caught the ball with his hand in an attempt to clear the rebound, it allowed Alaba to succeed where Müller had failed. With a two-goal lead in hand, Bayern used their passing to prevent Gladbach’s pressing from causing any concern, and they duly saw out the closing period as they started the season where they left off in 2012/13, at the top of the table.
James Thorogood at the Allianz Arena
Line-ups and statistics