Bayern finally see off Braunschweig in Real Madrid tuneup
Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga with a 2-0 triumph at relegation-threatened Eintracht Braunschweig.
In what was little more than a warm-up for Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final clash with Real Madrid, Bayern were still far from their best, but did the bare minimum to beat the bottom-placed Bundesliga side.
Claudio Pizarro put them in front in the 75th minute before Mario Mandzukic sealed victory five minutes from time.
Pep Guardiola’s men therefore end a three-game winless run in the Bundesliga, leaving Braunschweig with just three games left to survive.
Guardiola rotated as much as he could, with only 14 first-team players at his disposal.
Jerome Boateng fitted in at left full-back while Pierre Hojbjerg started with Thomas Muller left on the bench. Meanwhile, Pizarro was preferred to Mandzukic in the attack.
Jan Hochscheidt was in the thick of the action early on, throwing his weight around in the Braunschweig attack and making a nuisance of himself, without testing Lukas Raeder until the 25th minute with a weak shot which was easy for Manuel Neuer’s understudy to collect.
Hojbjerg missed Bayern’s best chance soon after when he blazed the ball over from Arjen Robben’s pull back.
Braunschweig gave as good as they got, but lacked incision in their attack against a Bayern side who seemed just to be going through the motions, saving energy for Wednesday.
They stepped up a gear in the second half, finally forcing Braunschweig onto the back foot, and making the breakthrough in the 75th minute.
Mario Gotze received the ball in a borderline offside position and stroked it into the penalty area for Pizarro, who lifted his shot inside the near post to celebrate having scored at least once against every side currently in the Bundesliga – his 172nd Bundesliga goal.
Mandzukic then came on, and did not need much time to get his name on the scoresheet, threading the ball through the legs of Braunschweig goalkeeper Daniel Davari to secure the points in the 85th minute.