Wolfsburg stun Bayern to win Supercup

AFP, WOLFSBURG, Germany

Mon, Aug 03, 2015 - Page 20

DFB Pokal winners VfL Wolfsburg upset Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on penalties to win their first DFL-Supercup at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Saturday.

Arjen Robben’s second-half strike from close range looked to have secured victory for Bayern, who were searching for their first Supercup triumph since 2012-2013 after successive defeats to Borussia Dortmund, but substitute Nicklas Bendtner — who scored just one goal in 18 league appearances for die Wolfe last season — equalized in the 89th minute after a terrific cross from Belgium international Kevin de Bruyne.

With no extra-time to be played, the match went straight to penalties, with Xabi Alonso the culprit for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern, who lost the shootout 5-4.

Alonso — Bayern’s second penalty taker — was thwarted by Wolfsburg’s Belgian goalkeeper Koen Casteels, who saved with his legs, while Dieter Hecking’s Wolfsburg were successful with all five of their spot-kicks.

Former Arsenal striker Bendtner also converted the winning penalty to cap a fine personal performance as Wolfsburg secured the first piece of silverware of the German season.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich went into the match as slight favorites at the home of last season’s Bundesliga runners-up Wolfsburg, who hammered the Bavarians 4-1 in their last meeting on the ground.

In the match played before the start of every Bundesliga season between the previous campaign’s Bundesliga champions and the DFB Pokal winners, both sides contributed to what was at times a high quality opening period with slick passing and fluid movement.

Wolfsburg — who finished 10 points adrift of Bayern last season — could have taken the lead after 32 minutes when Ivan Perisic’s cross evaded the clutches of several Bayern defenders, only for Germany international goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to punch clear, but Bayern began to stamp their authority on the game with their trademark possession soccer and they took the lead just four minutes into the second half.

The impressive Brazilian Douglas Costa — a 30 million euros (US$32.9 million) arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer — fired in a cross which Casteels spilled into the path of Netherlands international Robben, who blasted high into the net, but just as Bayern looked like seeing out the match, Wolfsburg struck an equalizer a minute before the end.

Former Chelsea player De Bruyne — who contributed 28 assists for die Wolfe last season — fired in a cross toward Bendtner, who turned the ball past Manuel Neuer magnificently to make it 1-1.

Penalties ensued, with Wolfsburg prevailing 5-4 in a high quality shootout.

It was Bayern’s third straight defeat in the Supercup, which remains the only domestic trophy that Guardiola has not won during his tenure at the Allianz Arena.

Both sets of players wore black armbands during the game after the death of Bayern club legend Franz Beckenbauer’s son, Stefan, who died on Saturday aged 46 after a long illness.