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Bayern 3 CFR Cluj 2

Last sixteen beckons as Bayern stride clear

The Champions League group stage has only reached the halfway mark, but Bayern already have one foot firmly planted in the next round after beating Romanian champions CFR Cluj in a somewhat curious and not unentertaining clash on Tuesday evening.

The 64,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Cluj skipper Cadu net twice in four minutes around the half-hour mark – but the second was at the wrong end and levelled the scores. The Romanians’ self-inflicted misery deepened when Cristian Panin scored another own goal to put Munich 2-1 up at half-time, and last season’s finalists seemed to have it wrapped up with a controlled second-half display and Mario Gomez’ 77th-minute strike. Juan Culio ensured it would be a tense finish with Cluj’s second near the end, but Munich’s makeshift side hung on for the win.

The ultimately deserved victory means Bayern are sitting pretty at the top of Group E on the maximum nine points from three matches, six clear of all their rivals. A place in the last sixteen is now virtually guaranteed, but despite Tuesday’s exertions, the Bavarians must immediately refocus on the Bundesliga, as they travel to face fifth-placed Hamburg in just three days.