Bayern Munich 2-2 Hertha Berlin: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Champions Frustrated in Opener

?A double from Robert Lewandowski was not enough for Bayern Munich to claim all three points in their first match of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season, as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Hertha Berlin.

The forward had put his side in front with a straightforward finish on 24 minutes, but Niko Kovac’s men found themselves trailing at the break after two rapid goals from the visitors. Dodi Lukebakio and Marko Grujic stunned their hosts as the first 45 drew to a close, but they couldn’t hold on to the advantage as Lewandowski scored from the spot.

Lukas Klunter,Kingsley Coman

The Berlin outfit had done well to stay in the contest early on, with right-back Lukas Klunter looking like a man possessed as he harassed opposition attackers. However, the 25-year-old was powerless to prevent Lewandowski’s opener midway through the first-half.

Serge Gnabry was slid through on goal as the ?Bundesliga champions swept forward, the winger showing a calm demeanour to tee up the unmarked hitman in the middle of the box. The lead didn’t last long. Lukebakio clearly enjoys playing in Bayern’s backyard, having hit a hat-trick at the Allianz in November during his spell at Fortuna Dusseldorf. 

With the match starting to slow down, the youngster jinked past a couple of would-be tacklers and unleashed a swerving effort from 25 yards. The strike cannoned off the back of teammate Vedad Ibisevic and wrong-footed Manuel Neuer, drawing Hertha level in the process. 

Rocked and reeling, the Bavarians were dealt another blow in the immediate aftermath of Lukebakio’s score as Grujic got away from the Bayern backline and danced around a flailing Neuer to slide the ball in.


Jarstein showed remarkable athletic ability to claw away a rifled shot from Gnabry in the second half, before his good work was undone by foolishness from Grujic, who needlessly dragged Lewandowksi to the turf and his petulance was picked up by VAR. A spot-kick was correctly awarded and it was the fouled striker who tucked away the opportunity.

Despite an onslaught ensuing from Bayern, they could not find the game-wining goal. A combination of defensive heroics from Hertha, inadequate finishing from Die Roten forwards and sub-par service from the midfield saw the hosts fall short in their pursuit of a third.


Bayern Munich

Key Talking Point

Philippe Coutinho. That’s who Munich need. They lacked creativity and a killer instinct versus a plucky Berlin side, with several players leaving much to be desired.

Though the defence was carved open too easily for Grujic’s goal, the blame for this draw can be laid at the feet of the Bavarian’s midfielders. Thomas Muller is without doubt a classy player, but he is not a playmaker.

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That’s where Coutinho comes in. The Brazilian is set to ?complete a loan move to the German giants and he would surely have put Hertha to the sword on Friday night. 

The away team showed solid organisation, yet the spaces were there to be exploited. Too often, the forward ball was poor or the man in possession chose a simpler pass. Had Kovac had Coutinho in his lineup, Bayern could have won this game at a canter.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Neuer (6); Kimmich (6), Sule (5), Pavard (5), Alaba (7); Thiago (6), Muller (5), Tolisso (4); Gnabry (6), Coman (4), Lewandowski (7*).

Substitutes: Davies (4), Sanchez (5).


STAR MAN – Robert Lewandowski

Die Roten’s display can be best described as raw. There were clear positives, but also clear negatives. Nevertheless, their talisman managed to serve up his usual as he collected a brace in the curtain-raiser.

Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski should have had more, if truth be told. Still, there were always going to be areas for improvement and his ability to create opportunities for himself was impressive, whilst he will no doubt rediscover that clinical edge as the season wears on. 


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Hertha Berlin

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Jarstein (8*); Klunter (8), Stark (7), Rekik (6), Mittelstadt (7); Grujic (6), Darida (6); Leckie (5), Duda (6), Lukebakio (8); Ibisevic (5).

Substitutes: Skjelbred (6), Esswein (5), Selke (6).


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Looking Ahead

Bayern have an away game at Schalke on Saturday, a fixture they won 2-0 last term. Kovac will expect an instant reaction from his recruits as they look to continue their dominance of German football.

Meanwhile, the men from the capital play their first home match of the new league season on Sunday. They welcome Wolfsburg to the Olympiastadion, with Die Wölfe aiming to get back into the ?Champions League having fallen three points short of qualification in May.

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Philippe Coutinho and Barcelona Agree Deal for Brazilian to Join Bayern Munich on Season-Long Loan

?Barcelona winger Philippe Coutinho has agreed to leave Camp Nou and complete a one-year loan move to Bayern Munich.

The Brazilian has been heavily linked with a move away from Barcelona this summer, with Bayern thought to be seriously interested as they search for replacements for both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Philippe Coutinho

They have already completed a deal to sign ?Inter winger ?Ivan Perisic on loan, and ?RAC1 claim that Coutinho could soon follow him through the door after finally agreeing to a move to the ?Bundesliga giants.

Speaking ahead of Barcelona’s clash with Athletic Club on Friday evening (via BBC Sport), director Guillermo Amor revealed that a deal is nearing completion, saying: “We can confirm that there is an agreement in principle for the loan of Coutinho to Bayern. We just have to finalise the deal.”

Coutinho was subsequently left out of the matchday squad, and ?Alfredo Martinez adds that the winger is expected to fly to Germany on Saturday to finalise the move, which will see Bayern pay €12m now and have the option to sign him permanently next summer.

Coutinho’s exit from Camp Nou has been widely expected following a hugely disappointing debut season in Barcelona. He struggled to establish himself in Ernesto Valverde’s lineup, and the arrival of Antoine Griezmann looked to have pushed him further down the pecking order.

There was a belief that Coutinho could be used as part of a swap deal to lure ?Neymar away from Paris Saint-Germain, with the Ligue 1 champions thought to be incredibly keen on the former ?Liverpool man. However, should Coutinho join ?Bayern, it would suggest that a swap deal for Neymar is unlikely.

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As for Bayern, Coutinho would add some much-needed depth on the wings following the departures of both Ribery and Robben. They have pursued the likes of ?Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi and ?Manchester City’s Leroy Sane, but were forced to pursue other options.

A deal for Perisic was quickly concluded, and now it appears as though they could soon follow that up with a move for Coutinho.

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Women’s Champions League Draw: Lyon, Arsenal, Man City, Barcelona & More Learn Last 32 Fate

?The draw for the last 32 of the 2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League has been made following the conclusion of the qualifying groups, with Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg among the contenders looking to topple all-conquering Lyon.

Lyon thrashed Barcelona in last year’s final to win a fourth consecutive Champions League title, with 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg scoring a hat-trick inside half an hour. This time around the holders will kick off against Russia’s Ryazan-VDV.

Olympique Lyonnais v FC Barcelona - UEFA Women's Champions League Final

If they are to go one better than last season, Barcelona must first beat an improving Juventus side which has won Serie A in each of the last two years and recently strengthened by signing experienced Sweden defender Linda Sembrant.

The Catalans themselves have strengthened since losing the final in May, bringing in prolific Spaniard Jenni Hermoso and Norwegian star Caroline Graham Hansen to add to an already strong squad.

In their first European football since 2014, WSL champions Arsenal have been given the potentially tough task of overcoming Italian side Fiorentina, who landed Australian legend Lisa De Vanna this summer. For Manchester City, meanwhile, it is a tie against Swiss club Lugano.

Jill Roord

Bayern Munich must overcome Sweden’s Kopparbergs/Goteborg if they are to progress. Fellow Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, Champions League winners in 2013 and 2014 and finalists in 2016 and 2018, will meet Kosovan minnows Mitrovica.

?2019/20 UEFA Women’s Champions League Last 32 Draw
?Juventus (ITA) vs Barcelona (ESP)
?Hibernian (SCO) vs Slavia Prague (CZE)
?Spartak Subotica (SVK) vs Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Braga (POR) vs Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)?
?Vllaznia (ALB) vs Fortuna Hjorring (DEN)
Chertanovo (RUS) vs Glasgow City (SCO)?
?Ryazan-VDV (RUS) vs Lyon (FRA)
?Arsenal (ENG) vs Fiorentina (ITA)
?Kopparbergs/Goteborg (SWE) vs Bayern Munich (GER)
St Polten (AUT) vs Twente (NED)?
?Anderlecht (BEL) vs BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ)
?Breidablik (ISL) vs Sparta Prague (CZE)
Mitrovica (KOS) vs Wolfsburg (GER)?
Pitea (SWE) vs Brondby (DEN)?
?Lugano (SUI) vs Manchester City (ENG)
?Minsk (BLR) vs Zurich (SUI)

The two-legged ties will be played on 11/12 September and 25/26 September.

The round of 16 is then scheduled for October, before the competition breaks until late March for the quarter finals. The 2020 final will be played on 24 May at Franz Horr Stadium in Vienna.

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Niko Kovac Wary of Threat Hertha Berlin Pose to Bayern This Weekend

?Niko Kovac has set his Bayern Munich side the task of defending their Bundesliga title as they head into their opening match of the season at home to Hertha Berlin on Friday.

The Bavarians secured a seventh consecutive league trophy in May and the coach insists the goal for the upcoming campaign is to extend that run.

Hertha finished in 11th last season, 35 points behind the champions and having lost nine more matches. Yet despite ?Bayern’s recent domestic dominance, Kovac does not expect the game to be easy.

Niko Kovac

“It’s like every year, no one really knows where he stands,” the 47-year-old said in a press conference reported by the club website.

“[You should not] overvalue the results of the preparatory games. A lot of work is waiting for us on Friday. But we play at home, we have the first game of the ?Bundesliga season and, of course, want to end this with a win. We want to win the title.

The Croatian boss will be without new signing Ivan Perisic after the striker was ruled out through a yellow card suspension carried over from his time with Serie A club Inter.

Also sidelined for the Bavarians is Spain’s Javi Martinez, who has yet to train with the team after picking up a knock. In the previous meeting between the two sides Hertha managed a narrow 1-0 victory over Bayern, but in the four meetings before that the Bavarians were unbeaten.

FBL-GER-CUP-COTTBUS-BAYERN MUNICH

Hertha general manager Michael Preetz believes his side will need to produce something special to beat last year’s champions.

“I don’t even know if there is a team that has caused Bayern difficulties in recent years. We are possibly one of them,” he said.

“We know that we need an exceptional performance.”

Hertha’s new coach Ante Covic was just as cautious, adding: “If you play away against the German champions, you have the heaviest opponent before the start on the first match day.

“Still, the anticipation is great when you open the season and we all start from scratch.”

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Mario Mandzukic Favouring Bayern Return as Bundesliga Rivals Look to Sweep in

?Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic has his heart set on a return to Bayern Munich, despite interest from fellow German side Borussia Dortmund.

With the hitman sinking down the Bianconeri pecking order in recent seasons and watching his game time get cut as a result, a move away from Turin has looked increasingly likely. Fortunately for him, his former employers are known to be weighing up a move for the 33-year-old, who favours a transfer back to Bayern as he believes they are capable of challenging for more silverware than Dortmund.

Mario Mandzukic

The ?Bavarians are also able to meet Mandzukic’s salary demands, with the Croatian wanting any potential suitors to match his wages at ?Juve.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the World Cup finalist is hopeful that Die Roten will trump any offer made by the ?Yellow and Blacks. Given the Old Lady’s €10m valuation of the player, it should not be difficult for the ?Bundesliga champions to make an acceptable bid.

It is understood that Mandzukic is also pushing for a move to Bayern because of the presence of his countryman Niko Kovac in the dugout. The latter is more than just a compatriot, however, having befriended the Juventus man during his tenure as the Croatian national team manager.

With the veteran striker having clearly decided that he wants to join Kovac’s ranks for the 2019/20 campaign, it is extremely unlikely that Dortmund will have a say in where he ends up.

Mats Hummels,Mario Mandzukic

Bayern’s interest is strong according to multiple reports. The same may be true of their rivals in yellow, but Die Roten have a sizeable advantage in the race for Mandzukic, who played for them between 2012 and 2014.

Familiarity, financial might and a near-guarantee of trophies mean the forward should be wearing red by the time September starts.

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