Before we talk about the match, let’s look at the situation Dresden are facing. After all, this wasn’t an ordinary friendly but a charity match for the former East German stronghold. Dynamo still have to deal with repaying a loan from a man named Michael Kölmel. Around 15 years ago, his €7m cash injection saved the club. The repayment was set to take place until 2016 – a massive challenge for the club due to their recent lack of success and additional issues such as a recent temporary ban from the German Cup. Bayern, charging no fee for the friendly, allowed Dresden to collect the entire matchday revenue while the Dynamo fans themselves collected an additional €130k in a campaign named »Ein Herz für Dynamo«. All in all, the evening generated about €2m for the club and served as a useful opportunity for the coaches to try out some tactical tweaks.
In case you missed it:
Pep Guardiola didn’t miss the opportunity to hand out playing time to prospects and current bench guys. Sven Ulreich started in goal, Dante led the defense. Also in the starting lineup were Sebastian Rode, Joshua Kimmich, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and 17-year-old Fabian Benko. The latter has managed to make the jump from the U17 straight to the reserves, bypassing the U19 altogether. More talents could be found on the bench, namely Lucas Scholl, Patrick Weihrauch, Julian Green, Philipp Steinhart and Felix Pohl. Lewandowski, Neuer and Boateng stayed in Munich. This was a big chance especially for Dante and Rode who had failed to make the squad against Hamburg.
Bayern played with a very high defensive line with only Dante and Rafinha as protective pieces, with Kimmich and Lahm dominating build-up. Robben, Götze and Højbjerg attempted to use their deep central positions for forward runs, trying to avoid the opposing 4-3-3. Benko, who initially struggled a bit to get into the match, assumed a deeper position as well. The strategy was clear: use ball combinations to make it to the Dresden back-four and then either sprint through the gaps or play diagonal balls to create dangerous wing attacks. This proved to be successful, as Arjen Robben wasted two big scoring chances in minutes 9 and 14 before converting one in minute 17. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg played a through ball and the Dutchman put it in the far corner past the Dynamo keeper. Prior to that, Dresden exploited space between the left CB and the left-back but Sven Ulreicht stopped the shot.
After the goal, the match stayed surprisingly entertaining, albeit a little less so than before. Dresden played with a lot of heart and confidence, making a couple of decent attacks. Furthermore, they showed some solid midfield passing and interceptions. The half-time whistle ended an entertaining half with a close 1-0 lead for the Bavarians.
A handful of changes were made for the second half – Starke, Vidal, Müller and Weihrauch replaced Ulreich, Robben, Lahm and Benko. A fast transitional play by Højbjerg created a scoring chance for Arturo Vidal whose shot was deflected just enough to become unstoppable for the keeper, making it 2-0 in the 48th minute. In minute 61, Tom Starke’s foot prevented Dresden from scoring, following another long ball to the open flank which resulted in a cross.
Guardiola continued to rotate, subbing off Højbjerg, Kimmich and Rafinha for Alonso, Benatia and Alaba in the 63rd minute. These changes allowed Bayern to pick up the pace again, performing and creating chances like they had in the opening minutes. Combination play improved again, and it was one of those long combinations that allowed Bernat to bring the score up to 3-0 in the 74th minute. Young guns Green, Scholl, Steinhart and Pohl were granted ten minutes of playing time and the latter was involved in Dynamo’s consolation goal: Benatia misjudged the goal kick and Pohl lost the crucial battle for the ball. Dresden’s Testroet did well in the one-on-one, running past Starke to put the ball into the empty net.
An entertaining and financially successful evening saw Bayern win 3-1. Now the focus for the Bavarians will be on the match at Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Test match notes
- Matthias Sammer made it clear at half-time: at such an early phase of the season, nothing matters more in the fight for lineup spots than match practice. That is one reason why Guardiola’s preparations for this friendly were very thorough and serious. This match in Dresden was an opportunity for all those who didn’t get to play on Friday.
- Because of that very reason, every Bayern player had to wear a chest harness with a positional tracker. The analysis of that data provides the coaching staff with a performance measurement at a competitive pace. Neither UEFA nor DFL allow such real-time tracking.
- Excluding the visibly nervous Fabian Benko, most of the guys a bit lower on the depth chart tried to use their chance to prove themselves. Højbjerg, Kimmich, Rode, Dante and Rafinha showed a high tackling intensity and a desire to influence the match. While Højbjerg assisted two goals and had some long-range attempts, Kimmich committed some rough fouls in the center but otherwise showed his usual vision.
- Bayern started the match in a very offensive-minded fashion with only Dante and Rafinha staying back for protection. The full-backs were very aggressive, creating lots of passing options in midfield while sacrificing safety in transitional defense. In the opening minutes, the hosts successfully tried to take advantage of a left-sided gap between Dante and Højbjerg. Only Ulreich saved Bayern from conceding, as did Starke early in the second half.
- In the second half, Patrick Weihrauch got a chance to prove himself. Already 21 years old, his career seems to have hit a bit of a dead end after a potential transfer to Sandhausen fell through. In the last two matches for the reserves, he scored five goals. Against Dresden, Weihrauch confirmed his recent high, linking up well with Arturo Vidal.
|DYNAMO DRESDEN – FC BAYERN 1-3 (0-1)|
|Dynamo Dresden||Wiegers – Teixeira (46. Modica), Hefele (46. Aosman), J. P. Müller (87. Hagemann), Kreuzer – Andrich, Moll – Landgraf, Dürholtz (71. Fetsch), J. Müller – Väyrynen (71. Testroet)|
|Subs||Blaswich, Lambertz, Hartmann|
|FC Bayern München||Ulreich (46. Starke) – Lahm (46. Vidal), Rafinha (63. Benatia), Dante (81. Steinhart), Bernat (81. Scholl) – Kimmich (63. Alonso), Hojbjerg (63. Alaba) – Benko (46. Weihrauch), Rode (81. Pohl), Götze (81. Green) – Robben (46. Müller)|
|Goals||0-1 Robben (17.), 0-2 Vidal (48.), 0-3 Bernat (74.), 1-3 Testroet (86.)|