Bundesliga - Pep's Bayern beat under-strength Barca

Goals from Philipp Lahm and Mario Mandzukic gave Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich a 2-0 friendly win over Barcelona at the Allianz Arena.

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Friendly Match - Bayern Munich cruise past Sao Paulo
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GERMANY, Munich : Bayern Munich's Spanish head coach Pep Guardiola gestures during the "Uli Hoeness Cup" friendly football match FC Bayern Munich vs FC Barcelona in the stadium in Munich (AFP)

Lahm’s first-half header put Bayern ahead with substitute Mandzukic adding a late second as Bayern controlled the match against a weakened Barcelona side, whose second-half XI was effectively their B-team.

The performance will have impressed Guardiola, with his new charges adopting a combination of their former style and that the former Barca coach developed at the Camp Nou.

The match was nothing to write home about as, after a decent start, the gap in quality of personnel became apparent, particularly after half-time when Barca replaced their first XI.

And with Bayern also making several changes, the rhythm of the match was disrupted in its latter stages, livened up only by some tricky skill from Xherdan Shaqiri, and Mandzukic's goal.

It started 18 minutes late after Barca’s bus was caught in traffic, arriving at the Allianz Arena barely half an hour before the scheduled kick-off time of 17:30 UK time.

Barca – whose new boss Gerardo ‘Tato’ Martino will officially start work on Friday – were significantly under strength, as none of the Spain or Brazil stars who featured in the Confederations Cup final were involved for the Spanish champions.

Messi was present though, and he started the match promisingly with a solo run and shot wide. But his team-mates were quickly overrun by the treble winners, who won their last encounter 7-0 over two legs and showed that possession football is not monopolised by the Catalans.

With Guardiola at the helm, Bayern – boasting La Masia product Thiago Alcantra in midfield – were knocking it about beautifully as Toni Kroos and David Alaba tested keeper Jose Manuel Pinto, while Adriano cleared off the line from Arjen Robben.

So the opener was deserved for Bayern as Lahm exploited slack positional play by Barca’s makeshift centre-half pairing of Marc Bartra and Javier Mascherano to flick Franck Ribery’s cross over Pinto for 1-0 just before the quarter-hour mark.

Barca responded well, as Sergio Roberto somehow put wide after skipping one-on-one with Manuel Neuer. But it was unusual to see the Spaniards largely playing on the break as the hosts controlled the game.

Indeed, Bayern should have gone two up as Thomas Mueller fired just over, while Adriano again cleared from the goalmouth after Mueller combined beautifully with Alaba.

The visitors were, however, still a dangerous counter-attacking force, highlighted when Cristian Tello put just wide, while Rafinha was the width of a post away from a spectacular own-goal nearing the end of the first half.

There was a whiff of the B-team about Barca’s line-up, but this became a full reality when wholesale half-time changes were made.

They battled gamely but the match had by now descended into an exhibition, as Bayern took their collective eye off the ball against a further weakened opposition.

Barca’s third-choice keeper Oier Olazabal made a couple of decent stops, particularly from Mandzukic, but the Croatia striker had the last laugh as he drilled the ball home after a fine low cross from fellow substitute Diego Contento.

That added a veneer to the match, which will have been useful for both sides as they look to blow away the cobwebs from what has been a summer of upheaval, for very different reasons.

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