Created on 20-11-2012 at 00:00 AM
Bayern are safely through to the Champions League last sixteen and are favourites to finish top of Group F after a scrappy draw away to Valencia on Tuesday, although Jupp Heynckes’ men will be disappointed not to have wrapped up the group win there and then after the Spaniards, who join FCB in the first knockout round courtesy of Lille's 2-0 victory over BATE Borisov, played almost two-thirds of the match with ten men following Antonio Barragan’s 33rd-minute dismissal.
The 44,000 crowd at the venerable Mestalla in Valencia saw the visitors dominate the first 25 minutes but fail to put away a number of decent chances. The red card for Barragan’s scything challenge on David Alaba ought to have played into Munich’s hands, but Mauricio Pellegrino’s home team responded courageously and more than held their own for a spell.
FCB survived a couple of scares after the restart but gradually regained the upper hand, sub Mario Mandzukic hitting a post with 20 minutes to go. The evening took a wrong turn when Sofiane Feghouli scored a deflected opener after 77 minutes, but Thomas Müller put away the deserved equaliser five minutes later. Mario Gomez made a first appearance of term as the visitors poured forward in search of a winner, but the Spaniards held out with a blend of skill and some unsavoury time-wasting.
The result, combined with Lille’s first win of the Champions League season, sees FCB through to the Round of 16 on ten points from five games. Valencia's record is identical, but the La Liga side trail the Bundesliga leaders on the head-to-head comparison between the sides. Borisov on six points are now playing for third place when they visit the Allianz Arena in two weeks, where the Reds can win the section by equalling or bettering Valencia's result away to the French representatives in the parallel fixture. FCB are next in action on Saturday when Hannover 96 visit the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga.