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‘Best game this season'

Mental strength and patience see FCB home

The 68,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena and the millions watching on TV saw an excellent game of football on Wednesday night but were forced to wait until the 90th and last minute until the spectacular climax, when Jérôme Boateng battered home the only goal of the Champions League Group E opener against his former club and Premier League champions Manchester City. The defender’s thunderbolt handed the Bavarians a winning start to this season's campaign in the continent's elite club competition.

“You have to keep believing until the end and I think we deserved it, although it was a very tough match,” the goalscorer said afterwards. The last-gasp strike meant Munich extended their exceptional record to 11 consecutive victories in group stage opening games. “It was hard work but I was determined to win," continued Boateng, “it was important to start with a victory.” Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reckoned he had seen Bayern's “best performance of the season,” featuring “fantastic football” and ending in a “totally deserved” three points.

Out of luck in front of goal

Sporting director Matthias Sammer was just as pleased with the result: “Our mentality was excellent in a very intense game of football.” In fact, FCB need not have kept their fans on tenterhooks for quite so long: Thomas Müller hit the side-netting with the goal gaping after just 40 seconds, and there were chances for Müller again (19), Mario Götze (21), David Alaba (32) and Robert Lewandowski (36) before half-time. For the visitors, ex-Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko came closest after 13 and 22 minutes.

“We lacked that little bit of luck in front of goal," reflected Müller, a state of affairs that persisted until Boateng’s 90th-minute cracker. “We had chances but we actually struggled at the start. Our opponents saw a lot of the ball. So the coach switched things around, and it was the right decision. We were better and more aggressive in defence and got closer to our man," reasoned captain Philipp Lahm.

CSKA up next

At the end of an entertaining and high-quality encounter, the stats showed Bayern with 58 percent of the possession, 21 shots to City’s seven, and - thanks to a significant improvement after half-time - 52 percent success in tackling. “We worked hard and we're delighted we've won. It's important to make a good start so you're not under as much pressure in the next game away from home,” said Lahm.

Two weeks from now on 30 September, FCB contest the second group fixture away to CSKA Moscow. The Russian champions were thumped 5–1 away to AS Roma in the parallel fixture and must take something from the meeting with Munich. “They've been thrashed today but we mustn't underestimate them,” Rummenigge warned. “Roma must be good, because you don't often score five goals in the Champions League.”

Guardiola may have better selection options by the time of the trip to eastern Europe. New signing Medhi Benatia made a very decent 85 minute debut against City, Rafinha celebrated a successful comeback from a six-week lay-off and Arjen Robben returned from injury for a brief substitute appearance. “We need all our players back because the season starts for real now,” Rummenigge advised.