Created on 16-09-2015 at 22:35 PM by Chris Hamley
Bayern marked their 200th match in the Champions League with a merited win on Wednesday night, a second-half opener from on-fire Thomas Müller setting up a deserved 3-0 victory away to Greek double winners Olympiacos, the 12th time in a row the Bavarians have won their group stage opener in Europe’s elite club competition.
The noisy 33,000 full house at Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Piraeus saw the German champions have the better of the first period but struggle to create more than half-chances against the fired-up home team. Müller broke the deadlock after 52 minutes with an opportunistic strike as his cross-cum-shot sailed into the top corner of the Olympiacos net. Sub Mario Götze added a late second and Müller himself tucked away a stoppage-time penalty to earn their side a first away win in four in the competition.
The result means the Reds go straight to the top of Group F on three points, level with next opponents Dynamo Zagreb following the Croatians' 2-1 win against Arsenal. The Bavarians return to the bread-and-butter of the domestic league in their next match, the trip to minnows Darmstadt 98 on Saturday afternoon.
One change for Pep
Pep Guardiola made a single change to the team that beat FC Augsburg in the Bundesliga last weekend, Juan Bernat coming in at full-back for Rafinha. The tactical set-up was subtly different however with Philipp Lahm and David Alaba in the back four, and Xabi Alonso restored to his conventional position in the holding role. After missing the FCA clash with a sprain, Götze began the match on the bench alongside the likes of Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman.
The champions lined up with Manual Neuer in goal behind a defensive unit comprising Bernat, Jerome Boateng, Alaba, captain Lahm and Alonso. Arturo Vidal and Thiago took up station in central midfield, with Müller, Douglas Costa and Robert Lewandowski in the forward line.
The Olympiacos team featured a familiar face from the German league in the shape of former Braunschweig right-back Omar Elabdellaoui, although by far the best-known player was veteran Argentine enforcer Esteban Cambiasso.
Deadlocked at the break
After Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo whistled proceedings underway, the visitors spent the first quarter of an hour probing for openings against their deep-lying opponents, with half-chances for Thiago and Müller, and first simple tests for Neuer in his 50th Champions League game from Alejandro Dominguez’ underhit shot and Brown Ideye’s harmless header.
Guardiola’s men upped the urgency levels midway through the half and the openings began to come, but home keeper Roberto and Ideye combined to scrape Lewandowski’s back post header off the line and Alonso aimed just wide from a Müller lay-off.
The German giants enjoyed a good ten minutes running up to the interval but Roberto made a routine save from Costa and then a fine reaction stop from Lewandowski. Both Bernat and Alonso came agonisingly close with thunderbolts from distance, but clear-cut openings were hard to come by against the gritty Greeks and the match was still goalless at the break.
Vidal whacked the first chance of the second half past Roberto’s right-hand post, but Bayern were ahead seven minutes after the restart when Vidal found Müller on the right, still well outside the box. The Germany striker shaped to cross but Roberto was off his line and the FCB man looped a hopeful but accurate shot over the keeper and in at the top corner.
Olympiacos were now forced to show more adventure and Ideye drew an excellent tip-over from Neuer with a well-struck 20-yarder. Guardiola sent on Coman for Lewandowski on the hour and Munich camped out in the Greeks’ final third, but Roberto saved at close range from Müller.
The excellent Alonso was left hobbling and needed treatment after a heavy challenge on 75 minutes and the Spaniard ultimately gave way to Champions League debutant Kimmich. Götze also took over from Vidal but there was a close have at the FCB end when Salino fired into the side-netting seven minutes from time.
Sub Götze made sure there was no drama with the second in the 89th minute, the striker firing across Roberto and in at the far corner from Coman’s assist, before the French youngster earned a stoppage-time penalty, coolly tucked away by Müller to round off the scoring.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley