Robben strikes as Bayern starts title defense in style

BERLIN (AP) — Bayern Munich launched its Bundesliga title defense with a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim on Friday, though the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) denied the champions a wider margin of victory in the season-opener.

Arjen Robben wrapped up the scoring in injury time, blasting the ball past Oliver Baumann after being set up by Thomas Mueller.

Mueller had a goal ruled out by the VAR as the ball deflected off his arm, while Robert Lewandowski was ordered to retake an 82nd-minute penalty he had missed.

Robben converted on the rebound, but video showed the Dutch winger encroaching in the penalty area, so referee Bastian Dankert asked Lewandowski to take the spot kick again and the Poland striker made no mistake at the second attempt.

Earlier, Mueller scored the first goal of the season with a header from a corner in the 23rd minute.

“We’ll take the 3-1,” Mueller said after a battling victory. “Nobody could complain if every Bundesliga game was like that.”

Ghana defender Kasim Adams epitomized Hoffenheim’s fighting performance, while Brazilian forward Joelinton should have equalized with the team’s only chance in the first half.

Lewandowski then thought he had scored early in the second half, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Adam Szalai shocked the home fans when he eluded Jerome Boateng and fired the ball in off the far post to level for Hoffenheim after 57 minutes.

The champions hit back, though, with their two late goals.