FC Bayern beat Sevilla 2-1 on Tuesday night, taking a crucial step towards the Champions League semi-finals. Pablo Sarabia put the hosts in front after the half-hour, but Bayern upped the pace and levelled the scores when Jesús Navas deflected a Franck Ribéry effort, putting through his own goal. Thiago handed Bayern the lead midway through the second half of an absorbing contest. The German record champions survived a spell of Sevilla pressure in the closing stages, sealing a good position for the return leg next Wednesday.
The Bavarians started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and Juan Bernat in a back four. Javi Martínez filled the holding role behind Thomas Müller, Arturo Vidal, Thiago and Ribéry, with Robert Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.
Heynckes made four changes to the XI that beat Dortmund on Saturday. Kimmich, Vidal, Thiago and Bernat took over from Rafinha, the injured David Alaba, Arjen Robben and James.
Reds dominate but ease off
The 42,000 capacity crowd at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán saw a high-octane encounter with Bayern in the driving seat at first, Hummels miscueing a header after only one minute. But the hosts gained a grip on the contest and soon enjoyed a spell in command. Sevilla's Pablo Sarabia had only Ulreich to beat following a mix-up in the Bayern box but rifled wide. Thiago warmed netminder David Soria's gloves, but Sevilla made the pressure count after the half-hour, Sarabia beating Bernat to a Sergio Escudero cross and slotting home.
Bayern upped the ante now, James replacing Vidal, who had sustained a knock. The Colombian made an immediate impact when he found Ribéry on the left. The Frenchman tried to cross, but Sevilla's Jesús Navas deflected the ball, putting through his own goal.
Thiago makes the difference
Rafinha took over from Bernat at the break. Bayern went straight onto the front foot after the interval, but the first chance fell to the hosts, Martínez making a superb saving tackle to deny Ben Yedder from 12 yards. James fired over the bar from 20 yards before Soria made a fine save to deny Martínez. Bayern's dominance paid off when Thiago connected with a Ribéry cross, his diving header finding the net with the aid of a slight deflection.
James tested Soria from distance before Ribéry gave way to Arjen Robben. Steven Nzonzi rifled wide from 25 yards as the hosts went looking for a reply, Ulreich shining with a good save to deny Sandro Ramírez. Lewandowski fired wide from a tight angle and Ulreich proved equal to a Franco Vázquez effort, before match official Daniele Orsato blew for full-time
The Reds are back in action on Saturday, when they travel to face Augsburg in the Bundesliga. Bayern will seal their sixth championship title on the bounce if they win the all-Bavarian derby. They entertain Sevilla in the second leg next Wednesday, when they will be buoyed by a fine away win in the first leg.
Live match report for fcbayern.com by Greg Salmen
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Soria - Navas, Kjaer, Lenglet, Escudero - Pizarro, N'Zonzi - Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa (Ramirez 79) - Yedder (Muriel 80)
Rico, Geis, Pareja, Nolito, Arana
Ulreich - Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Bernat (Rafinha 46) - Martínez - Thiago, Vidal (James 36) - Müller, Ribéry (Robben 79) - Lewandowski
Starke, Wagner, Süle, Rudy
Daniele Orsato (Italy)
1-0 Sarabia (32), 1-1 Navas (37, og), 1-2 Thiago (68)
Correa, Pizarro / Ribéry, Bernat