Audi Cup: Douglas Costa inspires Bayern win over Real Madrid

It would have made a fantastic Champions League final, but as it was, the ‘friendly’ Audi Cup final was the stage for two of Europe’s biggest clubs to go head-to-head with Pep Guardiola taking on fellow Spaniard Rafa Benitez.

Bayern emerged victorious with new signing Douglas Costa the star of the show in a final that too often took on the slow pace of a friendly.

Four changes were made to the Bayern side that beat Milan, while Madrid had their biggest stars absent or on the bench to start with.

There were no signs of fatigue from Thomas Müller in the opening minutes as he fired in a dangerous early shot. Toni Kroos back on his old stomping ground also fired in a similar dangerous effort on seven minutes. Jese then flashed a ball across the Bayern six-yard box as the Spaniards attacking fervour mounted.

A thunderous effort from David Alaba then forced Keylor Navas into a save in what had been a lively attacking start from both sides. The loose ball was headed wide by Philipp Lahm.

A fine passing move some ten minutes before break saw Müller fizz a shot wide and then Bayern wasted a free-kick effort from right on the edge of the area when Alaba could only crash the ball into the wall.

Müller was then given too much time and was allowed to shoot from distance. He shot was deflected and had Keylor Navas scrambling only for it to skim off the foot of the post.

Bayern had the upper hand going forward and a great spin, turn, run and cross from Douglas Costa set up Götze but Navas was able to save on the line.

The second 45 minutes began with Mehdi Benatia picking up a harsh yellow card and Toni Kroos firing in a 30-yard free-kick. Former team-mate Manuel Neuer, though, got across well to deny him.

With quite a few substitutions made, the game’s pace slowed to a comfortable friendly pace. However, another peach of a ball from Douglas Costa set-up Robert Lewandowski, but the Pole incredibly side-footed wide.

That man Kroos then fired in a dipping drive that forced Neuer into a fine save low down to his left to keep it out. After some good saves, Neuer then almost blotted his copybook by delivering a poor clearance to the feet of Asier Illarramendi. From 30-yards he went for precision rather than power and Neuer recovered.

The keepers were the ones gaining the plaudits with Navas pulling off a top save from Juan Bernat. Real were seemingly content to set themselves into a wholly defensive stance looking to soak up Bayern’s pressure.

With a penalty shoot-out looking inevitable, Robert Lewandowski stole in to get on the end of a fantastic free-kick delivery from Costa to turn the ball in with just two minutes remaining.

So, Bayern win the Audi Cup against prestigious opponents, but the real hard work starts next week when the Bundesliga begins. Douglas Costa though once again was the stand-out Bayern player.

Bayern Munich: Neuer, Rafinha (Benko 80), Boateng, Benatia, Alaba, Alonso (Hojbjerg 66), Lahm (Rode 46), Vidal (Bernat 59), Costa, Müller, Götze (Lewandowski 46)

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe (Nacho 15), Marcelo (Arbeloa 57), Kroos (Danilo 72), Casemiro (Illarramendi 46), Vasquez (Borja Mayoral 72), Isco (Modric 57), Jese (James 57), Cheryshev (Asensio 46)

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.