Bayern Munich beat Stuttgart


Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in preparation for their opening Champions League fixture against Manchester City in midweek with a 2-0 win over Stuttgart on Saturday. Mario Gotze gave the defending Bundesliga champions the lead just shy of the half-hour mark and Franck Ribery celebrated his first appearance of the season with the second goal to settle Bayern's nerves five minutes from time. The only concern for Bayern was the sight of defender Holger Badstuber limping away with an injury which seems certain to rule him out of Wednesday's clash with City. Bayern coach Pep Guardiola resisted the temptation to give Medhi Benatia a debut, preferring Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Dante at the heart of his defence with Xabi Alonso making his second start just in front of the back three. Only Alonso was really involved in the game early on, though, as Stuttgart rarely progressed into the final third of the field with the hosts controlling possession. They did not manage to create any danger until the 15th minute when Gotze's shot was saved and then, from a Boateng cross, Muller's header was tipped over by Sven Ulreich. Antonio Rudiger sent a free header wide of the post at the other end, but that was only a prelude to Bayern going in front. A generous free-kick down the left was awarded and the ball found its way out to Gotze, who threaded his shot through a pack of players, including Robert Lewandowski who tried to help it in with a backheel, but did not make contact as the ball found its way in. Everything seemed to be going according to plan until Badstuber limped out of the action just before half-time. Thoughts of his almost two-year injury break sprang to mind as he pulled up after kicking the ball. He was replaced by Gianluca Gaudino with Bayern reverting to a back four, and there followed a spell in which they appeared to lack their usual organisation. Stuttgart improved and Rudiger should have done better when faced with only Neuer to beat in the 63rd minute, but he did not connect well with the ball. Ten minutes later, Alonso's deflected shot looped over Ulreich and hit the crossbar with the rebound falling for Lewandowski, who struck the right-hand post with his shot. Lewandowski then set up Ribery, who took one touch with his right foot before threading the ball through the legs of Ulreich with his left to celebrate his return to action with a goal.