Bayern Munich win game dedicated to Beckenbauer as Bundesliga returns

AP , Friday 12 Jan 2024

Bayern Munich paid tribute to soccer great Franz Beckenbauer ahead of its 3-0 win over Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Friday as Jamal Musiala scored twice and Harry Kane started 2024 with a goal.

Bayern's Jamal Musiala celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the German Bundesliga football match between FC Bayern Munich and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Photo: AP


From the towering “Thank you, Franz” in lights on the outside of the stadium to the same message on the front of Bayern players' jerseys, the game was all about Beckenbauer, who died Sunday at the age of 78.

It was especially fitting for the first Bundesliga game since Beckenbauer's death — and the first of 2024 — to be a win for Bayern, the club where the famed “libero” spent most of his playing career. A World Cup winner with West Germany both as a player and a coach, Beckenbauer’s death has prompted tributes from across Germany and the wider soccer world. Bayern is hosting a vast memorial service in its stadium next week.

After Bayern's players all warmed up wearing Beckenbauer's No. 5 on their kit, it was one of the team's younger stars who lit up the game with two goals. Musiala scored the opening goal in the 18th minute, ending a slickly played corner routine with a low shot in off the post from a very tight angle.

Hoffenheim briefly threatened to turn the game into more of a contest when Andrej Kramaric burst in behind the Bayern defense, only to be stopped by Manuel Neuer's save. Another chance a minute later ended with Hoffenheim's Maximilian Beier hitting the crossbar.

Musiala doubled Bayern's lead in the 70th with another show of skill as he danced past Florian Grillitsch on the edge of the penalty area, played a one-two with Leroy Sané and knocked the ball past goalkeeper Oliver Baumann. A red card soon after for Grischa Prömel's second booking all but ended Hoffenheim's chances of a comeback.

Harry Kane's 22nd Bundesliga goal in 16 games, and 26th of the season in all club competitions, settled the game in the 90th after the England striker was left in plenty of space by the Hoffenheim defense off Leon Goretzka's pass.

Bayern stayed second in the standings but moved one point behind leader Bayer Leverkusen, which plays Augsburg on Saturday.

There was no place in the Bayern squad for Eric Dier after he was signed on loan from Tottenham a day before to add depth to the Bayern defense.

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