Bendtner stumps Bayern

Above: Wolfsburg's Kevin de Bruyne getting the better of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but the Belgium international fails to slot home the ball into an open goal at 0-0. Left: Wolfsburg captain Naldo lifting the German Super Cup after Nicklas Bendt
Above: Wolfsburg's Kevin de Bruyne getting the better of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but the Belgium international fails to slot home the ball into an open goal at 0-0. PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Above: Wolfsburg's Kevin de Bruyne getting the better of Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer but the Belgium international fails to slot home the ball into an open goal at 0-0. Left: Wolfsburg captain Naldo lifting the German Super Cup after Nicklas Bendt
Wolfsburg captain Naldo lifting the German Super Cup after Nicklas Bendtner's final spot kick wins the shoot-out.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Much maligned striker equalises, then scores winning penalty for Wolfsburg in Super Cup

Minutes away from finally clinching the only domestic trophy he had never won, Pep Guardiola could be forgiven for not expecting what happened next.

Wolfsburg's Nicklas Bendtner (remember him?) popped up with the kind of performance that only the Dane himself believed he was capable of.

The former Arsenal man has become a figure of fun, ridiculed for having the immense self-belief to once claim, among other things, that he would be the English Premier League's top scorer within five years.

Reality, however, never quite matched up.

Bendtner never scored more than nine goals for Arsenal in a Premier League season and, as recently as last month, was told to get fitter or face the boot at Wolfsburg.

NO EXCUSES

I'm disappointed. We have to look very critically at ourselves because we should have wrapped up the win earlier. We had our chances and, at 2-0, it would have been all over.

ARJEN ROBBEN, Bayern Munich forward

Maybe that was why he was only given 20 minutes as a substitute on Saturday. But he did not need much time to win the Super Cup for Wolfsburg.

First, he knocked in Kevin de Bruyne's perfect cross in the 89th minute. It was an equaliser that seldom looked like it was coming after Arjen Robben had opened the scoring in the 49th minute, hitting home after Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels had spilt Douglas Costa's low cross.

Then the decisive final penalty in the 5-4 shoot-out victory thumped into the top corner.

Bayern's Xabi Alonso had seen his effort saved by Casteels earlier.

It was Guardiola's third Super Cup loss in as many years. Borussia Dortmund twice beat his Bayern side in Germany's curtain raiser.

And while the Spanish master tactician will not be losing much sleep over missing out again, this could very well have been his last shot at the trophy.

His contract runs out at the end of the season and Manchester City are reportedly keen on hiring him.

Some Bayern fans are sure Guardiola will leave.

Said Simon Ortgies, 22: "I think this will be his last season. I like him as a manager - he's pretty good but makes some very strange decisions."

But even if the former Barcelona coach departs without having won the Champions League with Bayern, some are content.

"It's not a disappointment if Bayern doesn't win. The squad is too old and (new signing) Arturo Vidal is just one guy," said Heiko Hoffman, 36.

Wolfsburg will also play in Europe's top club competition for the first time since 2009-10.

Despite the Super Cup win, fans are pessimistic about their chances.

"I think maybe they will go out in the group phase. We don't know which teams we will get, said Claudius Traumann, 44.

Bendtner may well have something to say about that.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2015, with the headline 'Bendtner stumps Bayern'. Print Edition | Subscribe