Lewandowski at the double as champions held in Bundesliga opener
Robert Lewandowski scored a double but Bayern Munich failed to get their Bundesliga campaign off to a winning start as they drew 2-2 with Hertha Berlin at Allianz Arena.
Lewandowski’s 24th-minute goal put Niko Kovac’s side, who are set to sign Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho on loan, ahead on Friday but Hertha turned the game on its head in the space of two minutes.
Dodi Lukebakio’s fortunate strike restored parity in the 36th minute before Marko Grujic capitalised on sloppy Bayern defending.
Grujic turned from Hertha’s hero to villain just prior to the hour, however, when his needless foul on Lewandowski was spotted by VAR but, although Bayern’s striker tucked in the resulting penalty, the hosts could not carve out a winner.
Bayern wasted little time in flexing their muscles and the champions hit the front when Lewandowski pounced on Serge Gnabry’s cross.
Gnabry turned provider again two minutes later, but Corentin Tolisso was unable to beat Rune Jarstein and Bayern were swiftly made to pay for the miss.
Lukebakio tried his luck from range and was rewarded as his effort deflected off Vedad Ibisevic and beyond a flat-footed Manuel Neuer.
The turnaround was complete two minutes later – Grujic racing onto Ibisevic’s throughball before coolly slotting under Neuer.
Jarstein came to Hertha’s rescue again after the restart, diving in bravely at Kingsley Coman’s feet before he pulled off a superb stop to deny Gnabry.
But Jarstein’s good work was undone when Grujic ludicrously hauled down Lewandowski, who sent Hertha’s goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
Lewandowski looked set to snatch the spoils in the final minute of stoppage time but, under pressure from a defender, failed to direct his close-range header on target as Bayern had to settle for a point.
What does it mean? Bayern have plenty of work to do
Kovac came under much scrutiny last season but his side ended 2018-19 in sensational form, going unbeaten in their final 14 Bundesliga matches as they snatched the title ahead of Borussia Dortmund and then won the DFB-Pokal.
But, having already lost to Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup, Bayern know that even the goals of Lewandowski and imminent arrival of Coutinho may not be enough to hold off Lucien Favre’s side for a second season running.
Record-setting Lewandowski at it again
Lewandowski may be the wrong side of 30, but he is showing no signs of slowing down.
He was in inspired form on Friday, grabbing his opener – a record-setting fifth consecutive strike from the Poland international in an opening Bundesliga match – with a typical poacher’s finish before slamming in Bayern’s equaliser from the spot.
Grujic’s moment of madness costs Hertha
Hertha’s Grujic took a blow to the head in the build up to his goal, and being dizzy from that knock is the only excuse he can have for his bizarre decision to drag down Lewandowski.
Key Opta Facts:
– For the first time in 11 years the reigning champions are winless in the first Bundesliga match of the new season (2008, when Bayern drew 2-2 against Hamburg).
– For the first time since 1976 Bayern were trailing at half-time in a home game on Bundesliga matchday one.
– With Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman, Bayern had three French players in their starting line-up – the first time since May 2006 against Borussia Dortmund (Willy Sagnol, Bixente Lizarazu and Valerien Ismael).
– Robert Lewandowski became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in five consecutive first matchdays.
– Berlin’s Dodi Lukebakio scored his fourth goal against Bayern in the Allianz Arena – only Cristiano Ronaldo and Markus Rosenberg also scored four times against Bayern there.
Bayern travel to Schalke on August 24 in what is David Wagner’s first home game in charge of his new club, while Hertha host Wolfsburg.
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