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Opening UCL win

"A step in the right direction"

The run continues... FC Bayern have started their Champions League campaign with a win for the 14th time in a row and sown the seeds for a successful group stage. The record German champions beat their Belgian counterparts RSC Anderlecht 3-0 on Tuesday night and are now level on points with Paris Saint-German, who beat Celtic 5-0, ahead of the meeting in Paris in a fortnight.

“They’re a top team. They have super players in their squad but we’re also a very, very good team. We’ll give as good as we’ve got and I think we can do it,” sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said after the game at the sold-out Allianz Arena. The Parisian club lead Group B on goal difference ahead of FCB, but both teams want to progress to the knock-out stage as winners of the group.

However, before attentions turn to Paris, the team need to analyse the Anderlecht game and work on any issues. And as all participants agreed afterwards, there is room for improvement. “We won and have the three points from the first group game, and that’s okay,” Salihamidzic stated, but also added, “There’s a lot of things we can do better. It was a bit slow throughout.”

Not taking advantage of the extra man

Bayern found things tough going following the early dismissal of Anderlecht’s Sven Kums and Robert Lewandowski’s converted penalty to make it 1-0, and couldn’t find a way through the ten-man Belgian champions. “We didn’t have as many chances today. There were plenty of shots from range but not enough clear-cut chances,” explained right-back Joshua Kimmich. “We had to up the ante quicker.”

“We wasted a couple of chances in the first half and could have had a bigger lead,” analysed Champions League debutant Niklas Süle. It allowed the visitors a chance to get back into the game and Bayern rode their luck early in the second half when the ten men squandered a chance to make it 1-1. However, the tiring visitors were unable to cover the ground as the game wore on and it allowed Thiago and then Kimmich to secure a 3-0 win in the end.

Ancelotti “happy on the whole”

“It wasn’t a top performance but it was enough for this stage. We had the game under control and played the ball well,” said coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was “happy on the whole” with the display. Jerome Boateng, who made his comeback after a four-month absence, stressed, “It has to be our objective to play better. We made too many simple mistakes, and we have to improve on that quickly because we’ve got other teams to face now.”

According to Süle, the game against Anderlecht was “definitely a step in the right direction” following the defeat to Hoffenheim three days earlier. “We dominated the entire game but also had a couple of lapses in concentration which led to hairy moments at the back. There is always room for improvement,” said the centre-back. The next chance to show that is on Saturday when Mainz are the guests at the Allianz Arena in the Bundesliga.