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Berlin tie Bayern 2-2 in Bundesliga season opener
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Berlin tie Bayern 2-2 in Bundesliga season opener

Agency News

Berlin, Aug 17 : Robert Lewandowski's brace secured defending champions Bayern Munich a two-all draw with Hertha Berlin at the curtain raiser of the 57th Bundesliga season on Friday. Hertha Berlin hijacked one point on the road as goals from Dodi Lukebakio and Marko Grujic spoiled Bayern Munich's first game of the season on home soil. The German record champions took control from the kick-off and worked out their first opportunity with just three minutes played when Thiago Alcantara tested Rune Jarstein with a low shot.

Bayern let the ball do the work and came close through Thomas Muller twice. The German international missed the target just wide from the edge of the box before he headed a free kick into the arms of Jarstein in the 17th minute. The host's efforts paid off with 23 minutes into the clash as Robert Lewandowski slid into Serge Gnabry's square pass to break the deadlock. Bayern gained momentum and should have doubled their lead moments later but for all that Jarstein defused Gnabry's shot on target.

Berlin shocked the defending champions out of the blue in the 35th minute after Dodi Lukebakio's deflected shot on target caught Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer on the wrong foot. Things went from bad to worse for the hosts as Marko Grujic danced through Bayern's defence to slot home the 2-1 lead against the run of the game only three minutes after the equalizer. Bayern had to take the deficit into the half-time but came out highly motivated into the second half. Gnabry remained a factor in Bayern's game but was unable to overcome Jarstein from the edge of the box in the 56th minute.

The German record champions eventually restored parity as the video referee intervened due to a foul play inside the box from Grujic to Lewandowski. Bayern's top striker Lewandowski stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to beat Jarstein into the bottom right corner at the hour mark. Niko Kovac's men remained on the front foot and pressed for the winner but Hertha Berlin kept all their men behind the ball and stood firm until the final whistle. "We have to be happy. A 2-2 draw is a great result against Bayern. We played a powerful first half but lacked in penetration in the second half," Hertha Berlin coach Ante Covic said.

"We wasted too many chances, especially in the first half. Berlin had two chances but scored twice and that is how we shared the spoils today," Bayern Munich's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said. The following fixtures are scheduled for Saturday: Werder Bremen host Fortuna Dusseldorf, Freiburg face Mainz, Bayer Leverkusen see newly promoted Paderborn, Borussia Dortmund encounter Augsburg, Wolfsburg clash with Cologne and Borussia Monchengladbach meet Schalke.XINHUA