Created on 10-12-2014 at 22:30 PM
Bayern concluded their 2014/15 Champions League group stage campaign on a high with a fully merited home win over CSKA Moscow, and as comfortable winners of Group E with 15 of a possible 18 points, can now look forward with calm confidence to next Monday’s Round of 16 draw.
The 68,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena saw Thomas Müller hand Pep Guardiola’s team an 18th-minute lead from the penalty spot as the Bundesliga leaders comfortably controlled their ultra-defensive opponents. Chances and half-chances came and went for the Reds before Sebastian Rode and Mario Götze wrapped up the points in the closing stages to complete an ultimately comfortable fifth win of the group stage.
The result means FCB finish on 15 points in the group they had already won after four of the six games, with the unlucky late defeat at Manchester City the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record. With City defeating Roma 2-0 in the parallel fixture, it is the English champions who accompany Munich into the last sixteen. The Reds return to action with the tricky Bundesliga trip to high-flying Bavarian neighbours Augsburg on Saturday.
Pep rings the changes
Guardiola indicated he would use the fixture to rotate his squad and the Spaniard duly made five changes to the team that beat Leverkusen at the weekend, with Rode, Dante, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Bastian Schweinsteiger and European debutant Gianluca Gaudino coming in for the rested Rafinha, Xabi Alonso, Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski and the suspended Mehdi Benatia.
It meant FCB lined up with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rode, Jerome Boateng, Dante and Juan Bernat in defence, captain Schweinsteiger and Hojbjerg in central midfield, Ribery, Götze and Gaudino in attacking positions, and Müller as the focal point of the attack.
Thomas from the spot
After Portuguese referee Olegario Benquerença whistled play underway on a mild and rainy evening in Munich, the pattern of the match became instantly clear with the home team dominating the ball and the visitors massed in defence, looking for chances exclusively on the break. The first chance did indeed fall to CSKA dangerman Seydou Doumbia, but the Ivorian directed a header wide of Neuer’s goal.
Bayern otherwise had the game under control and Boateng loosed off a sighter on the quarter-hour, before the lively Ribery was tripped in the box by Israeli international Bebars Natcho and Müller stepped up to stroke home the ensuing penalty after sending CSKA keeper and captain Igor Akinfeev the wrong way.
Götze saw his shot scrambled away, but Neuer was called into action midway through the half with a trademark close range block after Doumbia dribbled his way through four home defenders. The Russians refused to be drawn from their deep-lying positions at this stage and chances were scarce until the five minutes before half-time, with Akinfeev saving from Schweinsteiger, Müller’s flick from a corner finding no takers, and Ribery and Götze combining superbly but to no avail. At the other end, Dante did well to block Roman Eremenko before Mr Benquerença blew for half-time.
Sebastian and Mario settle it
With Robben and Lewandowski on for Ribery and Müller after the restart FCB continued to push and probe, but Leonid Slutskiy’s visitors showed only a little more enterprise and chances remained thin on the ground. Rode whipped a shot wide of the target, and Robben tested Akinfeev twice, once with a gentle header and the second time with a fierce drive, with the Dutchman also wrongly flagged offside from Rode’s fine defence-splitting pass.
Götze had the ball in the net on 68 minutes from Schweinsteiger’s terrific scooped pass but the goal was correctly disallowed for offside, before the Russians briefly threatened through Nigeria star Ahmed Musa. Mitch Weiser replaced Gaudino for the last 20 minutes, with Robben and Schweinsteiger thwarted in quick succession, before Weiser’s beautiful dinked cross went unused and CSKA sub Zoran Tosic cracked a drive only just too high.
The game sprang into life in the last ten minutes with the Russians finally throwing men forward, opening up gaps for the Reds on the break. Lewandowski was unlucky to see his shot rebound from the inside of the post and along the goalline where it was hacked clear, but Rode gave the score a far more realistic look with a close-range header after the marauding Boateng had cleverly released Schweinsteiger for a cross. Götze then applied the icing to the cake with a cool 90th-minute finish to make it 3-0 after Robben and Lewandowski combined well
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley