Mönchengladbach (Germany) (AFP)
Robert Lewandowski equalized as defending champions Bayern Munich were held to a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach in an opening game of the new Bundesliga season on Friday.
“It wasn’t perfect football on our part,” Lewandowski told broadcaster Sat1.
“We made a lot of mistakes, but the first game is over, now we can look to the future. “
Gladbach took the advantage rightly when French striker Alassane Plea shot Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer just ten minutes from time.
Lewandowski equalized just before the corner break, but both sides lost their chances in the second half to grab the winner.
Only superb saves at home goalkeeper Yann Sommer have repeatedly denied Lewandowski and the Bayern attack.
At the other end, Gladbach’s substitute striker Marcus Thuram failed to score the goal at his mercy and then saw his calls for a clear penalty kick rejected by the referee.
“There were fireworks from us in the first quarter of an hour,” Gladbach captain Lars Stindl told DAZN and praised Sommer’s “world class” performance.
New Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann is still awaiting his first win after three losses and a draw in pre-season friendlies.
The 34-year-old is under pressure to award Bayern a tenth straight Bundesliga title in his debut season.
– ‘Crazy game’ –
“We have to live with the point, both teams had chances, it was a pretty crazy game for the fans to watch, not so easy for the coaches,” Nagelsmann told DAZN.
Borussia Park was in third place as Bundesliga clubs welcome supporters on the opening weekend of the season.
Bayern were missing injured French defender Benjamin Pavard, whose place was reserved at left-back Josip Stanisic for only his second Bundesliga appearance.
Gladbach opened up Bayern’s defense after just six minutes when Patrick Herrmann sprinted flawlessly and squared Lars Stindl, who couldn’t get a shot.
Bayern fell behind when Canadian left-back Alphonso Davies lost the ball halfway through.
The ball was moved to Stindl, who passed the unmarked Plea and shot past Neuer.
At the other end, only a superb reflex stop by Sommer prevented Lewandowski from close range.
However, the all-time Bundesliga single-season scorer struck just before half-time to bring the score to 1-1 at the break.
When Joshua Kimmich shot into a corner, Lewandowski slipped his marker and passed Sommer, picking up when he left off last season when he scored a record 41 Bundesliga goals in 2020/21.
Bayern enjoyed a golden spell as the hour mark approached when only other superb saves from Sommer were denied to Davies and then Lewandowski in quick succession.
Gladbach won 3-2 in the two teams’ last meeting at Borussia Park in January and the hosts fought again.
Neuer did very well with a diving save to deny Stindl after Gladbach midfielder Hannes Wolf broke the wing and got inside.
With just over ten minutes left, Thuram nearly reestablished the hosts’ lead when he simply failed to connect with the goal at his mercy.
Referee Marco Fritz then dismissed Gladbach’s furious calls for a penalty when Thuram appeared to be shot in the area by new Bayern Dayot Upamecano.
Gladbach’s new head coach Adi Huetter received a yellow card on the sidelines for his passionate protest.
Kimmich shot wide in injury time.
© 2021 AFP