Munich - FC Bayern Munich maintained their 100 per cent start to the season, but they were made to work hard for a 2-0 victory over Bavarian rivals 1. FC Nürnberg.
David Alaba was denied from the penalty spot in the first half, before Nürnberg’s Raphael Schäfer made a string of saves to keep the hosts at bay after the break. Bayern’s pressure told, however, as a Franck Ribery header and Arjen Robben’s brilliant solo effort sealed the points.
The pre-match build-up had centred on Germany international Mario Götze, who was given his debut by coach Pep Guardiola. Yet it was something of a subdued start for the 21-year-old. Bayern’s midfield was already rather congested on account of playing a 4-1-4-1 formation, but Götze was surrounded by a sea of white Nürnberg shirts each time he received the ball. Ribery’s direct running stretched the visitors’ defence, but in truth, Schäfer was well protected in the opening stages.
Nürnberg’s gameplan was clear: to defend their penalty box and break on the counter-attack, and they were desperately unlucky not to steal the lead fifteen minutes in. Daniel Ginczek was allowed to run at the home defence and he cracked an unstoppable drive that beat Manuel Neuer all ends up but came crashing back off the bar, the third time he had struck the woodwork already this season.
Slowly but surely the home side’s dominance in possession began to unearth openings, and after Mario Mandzukic’s header was saved, they were presented with an opportunity to go in front when Per Nilsson was adjudged to have fouled Robben. Alaba had converted from the spot against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 1, but this time Schäfer was equal to his strike and held the Austrian’s effort with a comfortable save low to his left.
Thiago Alcantara, Jerome Boateng and Robben all went close for the hosts before the half-time whistle blew, but the frustration continued for Bayern when captain Philipp Lahm was booked for a foul on Marvin Plattenhardt, his first yellow card in his last 41 Bundesliga games.
After the restart the home side's dominance was even more pronounced, and Nürnberg’s goal was under siege for almost the entire second half. Mandzukic’s header was tipped over and Götze’s low shot saved, before substitute Thomas Müller struck the side netting and Ribery lashed a strike wide, as der Club struggled to contain the home side. When Lahm rescued a loose ball on the right, however, his cross was one too many for the away defence to deal with, with Ribery stealing in to power home a firm header.
The Allianz Arena breathed a huge sigh of relief and Robben soon put the game beyond Nürnberg with a stunning solo effort, beating three defenders before firing through Schäfer’s legs. A Xherdan Shaqiri shot that struck the outside of the post then almost made it three, a number that wouldn’t have been undeserved on the balance of play, with Nürnberg happy to hear the final whistle.
Line-ups and statistics
Bernie Reeves reporting from the Allianz Arena