Robert Lewandowski was on the scoresheet and Lucas Hernandez made his club debut as Bayern Munich eased into the second round of the German Cup with a 3-1 win over fourth-tier side Energie Cottbus yesterday.
Amid pre-match fears of a double-figure scoreline, Cottbus proved their doubters wrong by holding Bayern off for half an hour before Lewandowski opened the scoring from close range. Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman both hit the bar before half-time, but it wasn’t until the 65th minute that Coman doubled the lead with a fizzing long-range effort.
Lewandowski then deflected in Leon Goretzka’s shot six minutes from time to complete a comfortable win for Bayern, who have not lost in the first-round of the competition since 1994. There was just time for club record signing Hernandez to come off the bench to make his competitive debut and for Berkan Taz to score a consolation penalty for the hosts. “My team played well today. I would have liked to bring Hernandez on earlier than the 89th minute, but he has a long injury behind him,” coach Niko Kovac said. Kovac’s side begin their Bundesliga campaign at home to Hertha Berlin this Friday.
Elsewhere on Monday, Wolfsburg needed two goals in extra time to win an eight-goal thriller against third division side Halle. The underdogs twice came from behind, scoring an injury-time equaliser to make it 3-3 before Robin Knoche and Josip Brekalo sealed a 5-3 victory for Wolfsburg in extra time. Second division clubs Karlsruhe and Stuttgart also reached the second round with wins over Hanover and Hansa Rostock.
Perisic joins Bayern on
loan from Inter Milan
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich signed Inter Milan and Croatia winger Ivan Perisic on a one-year loan deal, the club confirmed yesterday. “Ivan will help us immediately with his many years of international experience,” said Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. “He is technically gifted and flexible in attack.” Perisic, 30, is widely considered to be Bayern’s back-up option after their bid to sign Leroy Sane was derailed by the Manchester City winger’s recent knee injury. The 2018 World Cup finalist had already confirmed the transfer to German media after he was spotted undergoing a medical check in Munich on Monday.
According to Bild newspaper, Bayern have paid 5mn euros ($5.6mn) for the Croatian international, with the option to buy him outright for around 20mn Euros at the end of the season. Perisic is a familiar name in Germany, having won the Bundesliga title with Borussia Dortmund and the German Cup with Wolfsburg earlier in his career.
“I am very happy to be back in Germany. Bayern are one of the biggest clubs in Europe. We don’t want to just win the league and cup, we also want to attack the Champions League,” said Perisic. He also played under Bayern coach Niko Kovac during the latter’s two-year spell as Croatia coach between 2013 and 2015.
“I am sure that Ivan will integrate quickly as he already knows the Bundesliga and Niko Kovac,” added Salihamidzic. Perisic’s current contract at Inter runs until 2022, but he was reportedly set to play less of a role under new coach Antonio Conte.
At Bayern, he will provide much-needed reinforcement on the wing following the departure of veteran club icons Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of last season. The German giants had initially targeted Sane, but turned their attentions to Perisic after the Manchester City winger tore his anterior cruciate ligament last week, potentially ruling him out until early 2020.
It remains unclear whether Bayern will still make a bid for Sane despite his injury. Yet several former Bayern players have insisted that Perisic would be more than just a plan B.
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