FC Bayern are through to the Champions League Round of 16 at Celtic’s expense after the champions of Germany overcame the champions of Scotland 2-1 in an intense and hard-fought battle in Glasgow on Tuesday night. The men from Munich posted the club’s 250th victory in European competition thanks to goals in either half from Kingsley Coman and Javi Martinez, with Callum McGregor on target for the home side in front of a boisterous 57,000 full house at Celtic Park.
With four games played in Group B, the Bavarians have nine points and can now finish no lower than second. PSG lead the section but still have to visit the Allianz Arena.
Five new faces for FCB
Jupp Heynckes made one enforced change to his line-up compared to the Bundesliga victory over Leipzig with Robert Lewandowski remaining in Munich after picking up an injury on Saturday. Kingsley Coman came into the side in attack, with James Rodriguez and Arturo Vidal operating up front. The Chilean, Rafinha, Niklas Süle, and Corentin Tolisso were the other new faces, with Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Sebastian Rudy and Thiago on the bench.
It meant Bayern lined up with Sven Ulreich in goal, Rafinha, Süle, Jerome Boateng and David Alaba in a back four, Tolisso and Javi Martinez in defensive midfield, captain for the night Arjen Robben and Coman out wide, and Vidal tucked in behind James.
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers made two changes to the team that lost 3-0 at the Allianz Arena 13 days ago, with Nir Bitton and Moussa Dembelé taking over from Cristian Gamboa and Leigh Griffiths.
Kingsley with the opener
After Dutch referee Danny Makkelie whistled the game underway on a damp but by no means chilly evening in Glasgow, the home team responded to the thunderous encouragement from the home faithful with the first couple of chances, the busy Stuart Armstrong guiding James Forrest’s dinked cross wide on five minutes and Dembelé shooting tamely across Ulreich’s goal after quarter of an hour.
The Hoops were clearly looking to play on the break and showed plenty of bite in the tackle, but FCB increasingly drew the Scots’ sting with a tactically flexible 4-3-3 formation featuring James in a false nine role, and the visitors’ dominance of the ball led to their first opening after 20 minutes when Coman’s shot was deflected behind following neat interplay with Alaba.
The opener duly arrived two minutes later and the assist went to Ulreich, although Dedryck Boyata’s failure to attack the keeper’s long clearance and home netminder Craig Gordon’s decision to come off his line did open the way for Coman to slide home his third for the Reds in the Champions League.
The home side regrouped and Alaba made an crucial saving tackle to deny Dembele on the half-hour, but a brief period of sustained Celtic pressure featured more passion and energy than real danger, with Martinez a real rock in front of the FCB defence. Robben put the last chance of the half over the bar from Coman’s cross and the sides turned round with the Bavarians a goal to the good.
Brave Javi restores lead
The Hoops began the second period on the front foot, Ulreich making his first real save of the game from Armstrong and then gathering Bitton free-kick at the second attempt. At the other end Tolisso dragged a shot wide from 20 yards, before Sebastian Rudy took over from Vidal with an hour gone.
There was still plenty of sound and fury from the home fans and although James drew a good save from Gordon, Celtic upped the ante and Armstrong played in McGregor to slot home through Ulreich’s legs and level it up on 74 minutes.
Celtic Park was now an incredible cauldron of noise but Martinez silenced the home following with a brave header to restore the lead after 78 minutes, the Spaniard suffering a nasty gash to the head in a collision with Bitton for his trouble. Both the Bayern man and the Celtic defender were able to continue after treatment, with Kimmich coming on for Tolisso and Thiago replacing Robben for the closing stages. The home side never gave up but the visitors skillfully ran down the clock and sealed a hard-fought but ultimately deserved victory.
Chris Hamley reporting from Celtic Park for fcbayern.com
Celtic - FC Bayern - 1-2 (HT: 0-1)
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Gordon - Lustig, Boyata, Bitton, Tierney - Brown, Armstrong (Griffiths 80) - Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair (Rogic 64) – Dembelé
de Vries, Gamboa, Ajer, Hayes, Ntcham
Ulreich - Rafinha, J. Boateng, Süle, Alaba - Javi Martinez – Tolisso (Kimmich 83), Vidal (Rudy 59) – Robben (Thiago 90+4), Coman - James
Starke, Friedl, Hummels, Wintzheimer
Danny Makkelie (Netherlands)
0-1 Coman (22), 1-1 McGregor (74), 1-2 Martinez (78)