Semi-competitive football is back, and so is Newcastle United. The Magpies played their first “real” friendly of the season facing German side 1860 Munich at the latter’s stadium after kicking their preseason off last week against neighbors Gateshead. And of course, the Men in Black trashed both teams with 5-1 and, most recently, 3-0 victories to keep an impeccable pre-season record.
Newcastle opted to spend their early summer days in a training camp based in Austria after their trip to the United States got halted by the cancelation of a friendly tourney scheduled to be played overseas. The game against the third-division club from Munich is the first of the two friendlies (the other one against Mainz 05) Newcastle will play on Bavarian grounds.
The Magpies, led by Eddie Howe, used a starting XI comprised of Nick Pope at goal, Burn and Lascelles in the middle of the defensive line, Krafth and Targett deployed as wing-backs and behind a midfielder trio of Willock, Shelvey, and youngster Elliot Anderson, two wingers in Jacob Murphy and Saint-Maximin, and a lone striker with Callum Wilson leading the crew.
The game had nothing to offer in the first 45 minutes of playing time with Newcastle dominating and Lascelles receiving a yellow card midway through the period leading up to halftime. Things got much more interesting in the second half of the affair, though, if not for anything else for the entire facelift the XI suffered between the 46th (Botman in for an injured Lascelles) and 61st minutes of playing time.
Funnily enough, two of the subs would find their way through the scoreboard with Sean Longstaff (in the 63rd) and Bruno Guimaraes (76th) adding to the early Joe Willock score in the 55th minute of the game.
For the main takeaways of this not-very-competitive game, one thing clearly stands above all others and that’s the inclusion of Nick Pope in Newcastle’s starting XI. Pope, signed from Burnley this summer, is expected to battle for the GK1 role in Tyneside while facing strong competition from long-time Magpie Martin Dubravka (who got to the pitch as a sub on Friday’s game).
Other than that, Howe used the oft-deployed 4-3-3 that helped Newcastle avoid relegation last season, though the structure morphed into something closer to a 4-1-4-1 scheme in the second half, and with it came the goals.
Willock opened the score with a left-sided strike to the right top corner of the goal after getting a weird-looking assist from Shelvey with both men already into the penalty area. Longstaff put a thunderous strike into the net after receiving a ball to the space from Brazilian Bruno. And finally, Bruno himself found his way to the history books (?) dumping a third goal on Munich’s net by completing a play in which New Zealand gain Chris Wood softly assisted him.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Ryan Fraser had their chances at different points throughout the game, but they were ultimately denied by TSV’s goalie. Nothing that the Toon Army can complain much about, though, considering the team has now bagged eight goals in two friendlies while only conceding one a week ago. Maybe bringing some prima donna such as Hugo Ekitike is not needed, after all?
Mainz 05 is next on Monday with the Magpies trying to make it 3-0 in pre-season friendlies before actually going against a strong, head-to-head-type competitor in Benfica on July 26th.
Howay the Lads!