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Kovac finds bright side to Bayern's late loss to Arsenal

5:54 PM GMT+4 18/07/2019
Niko Kovac - cropped
Though often exposed at the back, the Bundesliga champions' attacking combinations against the Gunners gave their manager cause for optimism

Niko Kovac summoned positives from Bayern Munich's first pre-season run-out despite slipping to a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in California.

Eddie Nketiah's close-range winner near the end of a three-goal second half denied the Bundesliga champions any points in their International Champions Cup opener.

Robert Lewandowski had not long earlier cancelled out Louis Poznanski's own goal, the prolific Poland centre-forward having been introduced as a half-time substitute alongside Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry.

Thomas Muller spearheaded a youthful attack that included new signing Jann-Fiete Arp throughout the opening 45 minutes and it was the performance going forward that pleased head coach Kovac.

"We saw a very entertaining game with a lot of dynamism and speed," the Bayern boss told reporters.

"At this stage of the pre-season it is possible for both teams to be very satisfied.

"Unfortunately, the result didn't go our way, but I liked what I saw from the team offensively.

"The viewers got their money's worth. The result is certainly secondary."

Bayern would have been on course for victory had Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno not produced a brilliant reaction save from Muller before the break.

The World Cup winner joined Kovac in opting not to dwell on the result.

"It doesn't feel super cool to lose, but we did a lot of things quite well," Muller said.

"It wasn't a focus for us to have the highlight of the season in this game. It was a very good match."

Serge Gnabry, who was facing his former club, told Bayern's official website: "Finally we play football again. After the many training sessions, today's game was really fun, especially as we took on my former team Arsenal.

"I was very glad to see my former colleagues and the staff again. Then I saw Mesut [Ozil] and Hector [Bellerin] in the dressing room, we teased each other a bit, which was fun of course.

"Needless to say, I would have like to score. I had a few good chances but the ball just refused to go in. I'll save it for the upcoming season.

"Taken altogether it was a really good dress rehearsal, only the late goal was unnecessary. But we can definitely build on the performance."