Bayern Munich set up an Audi Cup final against Real Madrid on Wednesday after brushing aside AC Milan 3-0 at the Allianz Arena. Coming off a penalty shootout defeat to Wolfsburg in the DFB-Supercup at the weekend, Bayern played with far too much intensity and quality for their Italian opponents. After Juan Bernat’s first-half deflected effort, Mario Gotze’s precision finish and Robert Lewandowski’s spectacular volley late on gave the scoreline the sheen it fully deserved.
The result was of little surprise given the current gulf between two clubs that have shared 12 European Cups between them but now find themselves in very different positions. Bayern are also further advanced in their preparations to defend their Bundesliga crown, with the kick off of the campaign just 10 days away. Milan, looking to rebuild and move toward recapturing former glories under new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, still have close to three weeks before beginning the new Serie A season.
But there were some encouraging signs for Bayern coach Pep Guardiola off the back of a third consecutive Supercup defeat. Eight changes were made to the lineup on Tuesday, with Arturo Vidal one of those to come in to make his first start in a Bayern shirt. And the former Juventus midfielder was prominent in fine first-half display that signaled Bayern meant business from the off. The other of the Bavarians’ big summer arrivals, Douglas Costa, also impressed alongside Vidal in what was a fluid and constantly altering shape for Bayern going forward.
Milan, meanwhile, were simply overwhelmed for much of the contest as their major summer signings Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano struggled to make an impact up front . With Keisuke Honda playing in behind the pair, the lineup of new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic also left Milan shorthanded in midfield as Bayern dominated possession. For Milan, a contest now awaits with Tottenham for third-place ahead of Bayern Munich’s meeting with Real Madrid in a heavyweight duel to decide the champions of the biennial exhibition event.
For Bayern it continues their record of making the final in each of the Audi Cup’s four editions. And, in truth, that streak never looked in danger. Bayern pressed and passed with purpose from the first whistle and were quickly creating openings. Götze saw a shot blocked by Diego Lopez before the lively Costa curled a free-kick just over the bar. Despite losing impressive young midfielder Joshua Kimmich to injury after just 21 minutes, following a tackle form Nigel de Jong that had Guardiola confronting the Dutchman at halftime, Bayern went in front just two minutes later. Bernat was allowed to drive into the box down the left and the Spaniard, playing in a back three, saw his shot deflect off Milan defender Cristian Zapata to wrong-foot Lopez.
Bayern changed things up at the interval, with Vidal and Costa among those withdrawn to be replaced by Thomas Müller and Robert Lewandowski in a sign of the strength of Guardiola’s squad. And, although Milan briefly threatened through efforts from Bacca and De Jong, the second half saw further domination from Bayern. The only surprise was that it took until the 74th minute for the hosts to extend their lead. It came when Milan’s Alex prevented Lewandowski from seizing on Götze’s pass into the box, but could only direct that ball back to the World Cup winner, who placed an effort into the corner of the net.
The best, though, was still to come. After Alex’s sloppy pass out of defense, Sebastian Rode intercepted, Müller lifted the ball over a defender and Lewandowski emphatically volleyed home from the edge of the box.