FC Bayern on course for UCL quarter-finals
On and on! FC Bayern continue to march on with an impressive winning run that maintains the hope of honours in all three competitions. The German record champions celebrated a 14th win in succession with a runaway 5-0 win against Besiktas in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 and now have one foot in the last eight.
"We can be really happy with this result. We have to take it round by round. We're in a good position to go through to the quarter-finals and then we'll see what happens," said club President Uli Hoeneß after the biggest ever home win in the first leg of a Champions League knockout round. The return match in Istanbul is on 14 March.
After the match, coach Jupp Heynckes said FCB were "unusually nervous" in front of a sell-out 70,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena. "In the first half we found it incredibly difficult to establish our rhythm and a lot of it was very bitty," said the 72-year-old coach. "We were too passive overall in the first half."
Müller and Lewandowski bag braces
Heynckes identified the early dismissal of Besiktas central defender Domagoj Vida (16') for a professional foul on Robert Lewandowski and the opening goal from Thomas Müller just before half-time as the turning points in the win. "With a man down, Besiktas had to put in a lot of more running. In the second half we had more tempo and fluidity. That makes it incredibly difficult for the opponent," said Heynckes.
After the restart, the Besiktas team, unbeaten in the Champions League this term, had little else to offer. A goal from Kingsley Coman (52'), another from Müller (66') and a brace from Robert Lewandowski (79', 88') took FCB out of sight. At the start of the second half, we upped our effort and that paid off," explained Müller and, following his first double in the Champions League since November 2015, he talked about a "great result for the return leg."
Fully focused on return match
"Such an emphatic victory is enjoyable," said Heynckes on Tuesday night as he celebrated his 23rd win in 24 games since his return to FCB as head coach at the start of October 2017. At the same time, the boss was keen to damp down any sense of euphoria. "I still believe Besiktas are a good team and they have very experienced players. We'll prepare for the game in Istanbul as we always do and I expect to put out the best possible side."
Heynckes said it is crucial to avoid any risks in the Champions League and up to now he has taken the teams he has managed to the final every time. Arjen Robben declared: "We go to Istanbul with bags of confidence but we need to be focused. We know the atmosphere there is incredible. Normally it would be enough to go through. But anything is possible in football."