Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the International Champions Cup fixture between Bayern Munich
and Real Madrid
from Houston. The match will mark Madrid's first fixture since losing at home to Real Betis in La Liga on May 19, but Bayern have already been in pre-season action this summer - suffering a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal last week. Stay tuned!
BAYERN: Neuer; Kimmich, Boateng, Martinez, Alaba; Tolisso, Sanches, Thiago; Arp, Muller, Coman
MADRID: Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Isco; Asensio, Benzema, Hazard
Bayern boss Niko Kovac has shuffled his pack from the clash against Arsenal, with Joshua Kimmich, Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman amongst those coming into the XI. Summer arrival Jann-Fiete Arp keeps his spot in a wide position, while Thomas Muller will start at the tip of the attack with Robert Lewandowski
only on the bench.
As for Madrid, the big news comes in the shape of Eden Hazard, who makes his debut for the club tonight. The XI otherwise has a familiar look, though, with Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema all starting. Marco Asensio and Isco are also in the team despite the speculation surrounding the future of the Spanish pair.
This game will mark the 23rd meeting between the two clubs. Madrid lead the head-to-head 11 wins to Bayern's nine, with the remaining two fixtures finishing level.
Madrid recorded a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern in the semi-finals of the 2017-18 Champions League, while Los Blancos also beat the Germans during the quarter-finals of the 2016-17 competition. The two teams previously met in the International Champions Cup back in August 2016, with the Spaniards picking up a 1-0 win courtesy of a late goal from now Man City defender Danilo.
Both sets of players have joined us on the pitch ahead of kickoff in Houston - slightly later than planned, but the action will soon get underway. It should be a cracking game here.
Here we go then - the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. It is Bayern versus Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup. There must be a winner tonight so penalties will arrive if the score is goalless at the end of the 90.
KICKOFF: Bayern kick things off in Houston...
... this is Madrid's first pre-season game of the summer, but Bayern started with a 2-1 loss at Arsenal last week. It will be fascinating to see what type of match arrives here in terms of tempo.
Good early possession for Madrid here, with Modric and Kroos already seeing the ball in the middle of the park. Benzema fires the game's first effort towards goal, but the flag is raised.
Strange moment for Neuer early on as the goalkeeper kicks the ball straight out for a corner when attempting to find Alaba with a curling pass. The resulting corner is worked short before Marcelo eventually delivers, but Bayern clear their lines. Bright start from Madrid.
Neuer has to make a decent save to keep out a close-range attempt from Isco, but the offside flag had once again been raised. Bayern are coming under early pressure.
SHOT! Bit of possession for Bayern in the last couple of minutes as the German side start to settle. Sanches hits one from distance, but his effort was always flying over the crossbar.
Benzema again breaks into a dangerous position for Madrid, but the flag is raised for the third time in this match. There does appear to be a lot of space out there, particularly in the middle of the park which will certainly suit the likes of Modric, Kroos and Thiago here.
Benzema finds space in a wide position before cutting it back to Hazard, who then works it the other side and eventually Isco wins a free kick in a dangerous position outside the box...
... Asensio's effort is straight into the Bayern wall.
CHANCE! Big chance for Madrid to make the breakthrough as Benzema meets a cross from Modric, but Neuer manages to keep it out from close range. Should have scored there!
Coman finds space in a wide area and looks to slide a pass into Muller, but Courtois is on hand to make the claim. Still goalless with 14 minutes played, but it is a good game here.
There is no Bale in the Madrid XI or indeed squad tonight, with Zidane due to give an update on the Welshman's future after the match. It does seem to be a strange situation... back to the action here and Los Blancos are currently advancing down the right through Carvajal.
GOAL! BAYERN 1-0 REAL MADRID (TOLISSO)
GOAL! Bayern make the breakthrough in the 15th minute of this match as Tolisso fires home at the second time of asking after seeing Marcelo keep his initial effort off the line. Alaba provided the cross from a wide position and the German champions open the scoring in Houston.
Courtois comes out of his goal to deal with a through pass but actually presents the ball straight to Arp - the youngster cannot make the most of it, though, and it stays 1-0 here.
Another dangerous cross comes into the Bayern box from Carvajal, but the German champions manage to clear their lined before breaking through Sanches, who has been lively.
Courtois does well to collect a deep cross under pressure before releasing Benzema, but Martinez is on hand to regain the ball. Much better from Bayern after a slow start here.
Hazard works some space in a dangerous position before feeding Marcelo, but there are no takers on the left-back's cross. Eventually Asensio strikes towards goal, but Martinez makes the block. Plenty happening with 23 minutes on the clock inside this brilliant stadium.
Both managers are expected to make wholesale changes at the break, which is always fun for the commentator keeping up! Back to the action here and another pass has just run away from Benzema, who seems to be operating on the shoulder of Martinez.
Benzema again breaks into the Bayern box and looks to get a shot away, but Boateng does well to challenge the striker at the vital moment. Bayern can then break down the other end through Arp, but his cross loops up into the arms of Courtois. End-to-end stuff here.
SAVE! Comfortable save for Neuer to keep out a low strike from Benzema, who has been bright for Madrid despite being caught offside on a few occasions. Still 1-0 to the Germans.
We have not seen too much from Hazard in the first 29 minutes of this match and the Belgium international will more than likely be replaced at the interval along with a number of his teammates. This game is flying past which is an indication of its entertainment.
CLOSE! Another half-chance for Benzema as the striker meets a deep cross from Kroos, but his effort was never threatening to find the back of the net.
SAVE! Really smart save from Courtois to keep out a powerful strike from Thiago, who was looking to pick out the bottom corner of the net. Plenty happening at both ends of the field.
Both sides are shooting on sight and both teams are also looking to get the ball forward as soon as possible - not too much in the way of possession football in this pre-season game.
This game marks the 23rd meeting between the two clubs. Madrid lead the head-to-head 11 wins to Bayern's nine, with the remaining two fixtures finishing level. It has been a tight game in the first 34 minutes, but Bayern have the lead courtesy of a close-range finish from Tolisso.
CHANCE! Another big chance for Madrid as smart work from Hazard ends with Asensio finding himself inside the Bayern box, but the Spaniard's effort is blocked and Neuer can gather.
Madrid win another free kick in a dangerous position as Hazard is brought to the ground by Sanches - it is so incredibly difficult to take the ball away from the Belgium captain...
... straight into the wall from Asensio.
Without sounding like a broken record, the first 40 minutes of this game have flown past. It has been a very open and very entertaining match between two of the giants of European football. The only disappointment is that there has been just the one goal.
CHANCE! Opportunities at both ends - first Neuer keeps out a powerful drive from Hazard, before Arp fires just wide of the Madrid goal down the other end. All happening here.
It will be interesting to see how both managers use their squads at the interval - will Zidane make 11 changes? That seems more likely than Bayern, who are ahead of the Spanish giants when it comes to their preparations for the new campaign. Still 1-0 with 42 minutes played.
Madrid continue to force the issue late in the first period and Benzema comes close to meeting a couple of crosses in quick succession, but Bayern manage to survive.
SAVE! Another really smart save from Neuer to keep out a low strike from Modric. The Bayern goalkeeper has earned his wages in the first half of this friendly!
SAVE! Courtois has to make two saves in quick succession from Sanches and Coman as opportunities continue to arrive. The end-to-end nature of this game has been incredible.
HALF TIME: BAYERN 1-0 REAL MADRID
So there we have it - the referee brings the first period to a close with Bayern leading 1-0 courtesy of a close-range finish from Tolisso. It is incredible that there has only been one goal, though, with both teams having a host of chances to add to the scoring here.
Bayern have just shaded the possession with 51%, while they have had 11 attempts, six of which have been on target during a strong first-half performance.
Madrid, meanwhile, hit the target with four of their 13 attempts. It was a brilliant first half in terms of entertainment, with the only disappointment being that just one goal arrived.
Bale is not on the Madrid bench tonight and an update on the Wales international is expected after this match. Mariano Diaz, Lucas Vazquez and Junior Vinicius are amongst those available, though, in addition to summer signings Mendy, Jovic and Rodrygo.
Bayern, meanwhile, have the likes of Davies, Gnabry, Sule and Pavard on their bench, in addition to the goalscoring machine that is Lewandowski. Plenty of talent!
Both sets of players will soon be back on the field for the second period. It will be very interesting to see what changes - if any - occur at the break. Wholesale ones are expected.
KICKOFF: Madrid resume the action in Houston...
... MADRID SUBS! Jovic and Navas have replaced Benzema and Courtois.
Scrap that, well don't because those two changes have taken place, but so have about 50 others. I shall try and confirm the new Madrid XI when that becomes possible.
There does not appear to be any changes from Bayern, which is a relief. Madrid have seemingly sent an entire new XI onto the field, but I am still trying to confirm it.
REAL MADRID SECOND-HALF XI: Navas; Sanchez, De La Fuente, Nacho, Mendy; Kubo, Rodrygo, Seoane; Lucas, Jovic, Vinicius
BAYERN SUBS! Bayern did make changes at the break with Pavard and Sule on for Sanches and Martinez. Right, back to the action and Bayern have started the second half well.
Alaba breaks into a dangerous position for Bayern before delivering low towards Muller, but Navas is on hand to make the claim. Still 1-0 to the German champions with 52 minutes played.
YELLOW CARD! Kimmich (Bayern) is booked for a foul on Vinicius.
Just a reminder that there must be a winner tonight and therefore a penalty shootout would occur if the two teams cannot be separated. As it stands, Tolisso's goal is still the difference, but Bayern are the side chasing a second goal early in the second period.
BAYERN SUBS! Bayern make their third and fourth changes as Thiago and Coman are replaced by Goretzka and Davies. Still more than 30 minutes of normal time to play here.
SAVE! Smart save from Navas to keep out an attempt from Tolisso, who had broken into the Madrid box before attempting to find the back of the net. Excellent goalkeeping there.
Full list of the Bayern changes thus far tonight...
BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer (Ulrich 46'); Kimmich, Boateng, Martinez (Sule 46'), Alaba; Tolisso, Sanches (Pavard 46'), Thiago (Goretzka 59'); Arp (Gnabry 46'), Muller (Lewandowski 46'), Coman (Davies 59')
Not an awful lot happening for Madrid at the moment, with Bayern looking the team more likely to score the game's second goal. Jovic has not had much of a chance to impress at the head of the Madrid attack, although there is still plenty of time for that to change.
Madrid have a free kick in a dangerous area as Lucas is fouled by Davies...
... the set piece is wasted. Eventually Mendy does have a shot from distance, but the ball lands in the stands. Better from Madrid in terms of attacking intent, though.
GOAL! BAYERN 2-0 REAL MADRID (LEWANDOWSKI)
GOAL! Bayern score their second of the match in the 67th minute as Lewandowski turns away from two challenges inside the Madrid box before picking out the bottom corner. It is a wonderful goal from one of the best centre-forwards in the European game.
SAVE! Spectacular save from Navas to push a Gnabry effort over the crossbar.
GOAL! BAYERN 3-0 REAL MADRID (GNABRY)
GOAL! Bayern have their third of the match as Gnabry finds all sorts of space inside the Madrid box before simply settling and picking out the back of the net. Not entirely sure where the Madrid defence were, but the former Arsenal attacker has made it 3-0 to the German side here.
Madrid have the chance to threaten from a free kick in an advanced area, but Lucas instead goes back and Bayern manage to clear their lines after avoiding a penalty appeal.
BAYERN SUBS! Singh and Zaiser replace Tolisso and Alaba for Bayern.
SAVE! Another good save from Navas to keep out a low strike from Gnabry at the end of another brilliant Bayern move. Madrid are all over the place in a defensive area here.
CHANCE! Singh somehow fires wide of the Madrid post from inside the box!
Madrid were the better team for long stages of the first period, but it has been a different story in the second, which is often the case when the entire team is changed at the break.
Bayern will soon make another change as we head for the final 10 minutes of action. Can Madrid give their fans something to cheer? It seems unlikely at the moment.
RED CARD! Oh wow! Red card for Ulreich between the Bayern sticks as the goalkeeper races out of his goal and challenges Rodrygo, who had rounded the German. Huge scenes!
BAYERN SUB! Bayern goalkeeper Hoffmann is on for Zaiser here.
GOAL! BAYERN 3-1 REAL MADRID (RODRYGO)
GOAL! Oh my word - it is a stunning free kick from Rodrygo on his Madrid debut! Right into the top corner of the net and the Madrid fans do indeed have something to cheer tonight.
Some pre-season matches can be dull, but this has been a quite wonderful game. Both teams have contributed to what has been a seriously entertaining pre-season clash.
Madrid have been the better side since scoring, but it is too little, too late in terms of picking up a positive result. It will be interesting to see how much time is added here.
Three additional minutes have been signalled by the fourth official here.
Not an awful lot to report in stoppage time, with both teams breaking but conceding possession at the vital moment. It does appear that Bayern will be picking up a 3-1 win.
DISALLOWED GOAL! Singh turns inside the Madrid box and finds the back of the net with a brilliant effort, but the offside flag had been raised. Such a shame for the 20-year-old there!
FULL TIME: BAYERN 3-1 REAL MADRID
So there we have it. The referee brings the second period to a close with Bayern running out 3-1 winners over Madrid in Houston - what a terrific game of football.
Corentin Tolisso, Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry scored the goals for the Bundesliga giants, who saw substitute goalkeeper Sven Ulreich receive his marching orders in the latter stages.
That is just about it from me tonight, but I will leave you with the match report
. Be sure to check back in again soon for more pre-season coverage. Until next time!