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CFR Cluj 0 Bayern 4

Three for Gomez as Bayern cruise through

Super Mario Gomez fired a hat-trick as Bayern’s makeshift side produced a performance of tremendous authority and tactical diligence on Wednesday night, comfortably seeing off Romanian double winners CFR Cluj and sealing a place in the Champions League first knockout round. A fourth win in four matches also represents the Bavarians’ best-ever start to a campaign in Europe’s elite club competition.

The display, arguably Munich’s best of a challenging season so far, was all the more remarkable for the absence of eight senior players due to injury, although the current streak of five wins in six undefeated games speaks volumes for the depth and quality in the FCB squad at present.

The first half at Dr. Constantin Radulescu stadium was one to warm the hearts and frozen limbs of the 1,350 Bayern faithful among the 14,100 crowd, as last season’s finalists took the game to the home side and deservedly led at the break through Gomez’ poacher’s brace.

The Romanians came out fighting for the second half, but the visitors weathered the storm and Gomez applied the coup de grace with 20 minutes to go, completing a hat-trick to delight 65th birthday boy Gerd Müller, watching the game at home in Munich. The legendary goal-getter’s namesake Thomas added a last-minute fourth to round off an accomplished team display.

The ultimately routine victory means the Bavarians are safely through to the last sixteen after collecting the maximum 12 points from their first four fixtures. A point away to Roma on 23 November will wrap up top spot in the group, but Louis van Gaal’s men now turn their attention to the domestic league and Saturday’s trip to struggling Borussia Monchengladbach.