Bayern cruise in Champions League last-16 first leg

Written by on February 21, 2018

Bayern Munich equalled their longest winning streak with a 5-0 victory over 10-man Besiktas in the Champions League last-16 first leg at the Allianz Arena.

A bright start by the Turkish side was halted when Domagoj Vida was sent off for bringing down Robert Lewandowski, but the visitors hung on until a minute from half-time as Thomas Muller slotted in from close range.

Bayern racked up 35 shots to Besiktas’ five and their dominance was reflected with goals in the second period, doubling their lead within seven minutes of the restart as Lewandowski played a lovely one-two with Muller before squaring for Kingsley Coman to sweep into the far corner.

Muller added a third from close range before Lewandowski got on the scoresheet himself from Mats Hummels’ rebound, and finished off a punishing half late on with a simple finish from Muller’s inviting through-ball to give Bayern a 14th victory in a row – equalling the longest run in their history.

Besiktas began the game with the energy of a side who could challenge that record, and fashioned the best chance of the opening stages when Vagner Love skipped past two challenges but wasted the position he fashioned by firing way over.

Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes made nine changes from the win at Wolfsburg on Saturday. Only Martinez and Ulreich kept their places.

Besiktas were more consistent, with Quaresma, Adriano and centre-back Vida – who did not last long – all in, and former Sunderland winger Lens benched. Their line-up was the oldest named by a Champions League side in almost six years.

Minutes later their hopes were dealt a huge blow when last man Vida was sold short by Atiba Hutchinson’s awful pass, and hauled down Lewandowski as he headed for the box.

Bayern began to turn the screw, forcing Fabri into a number of saves, but looked like they would be frustrated at the break until a just-onside Muller was played through by David Alaba to finish from close range.

From the restart Besiktas failed to live up to their first-half promise, and Bayern had chances to double the lead before they produced a move a full-strength Besiktas would have struggled to stop. Lewandowski found Coman following a smart one-two with Muller, and the Frenchman swept the ball into the far corner from 12 yards.

It was three thanks largely to an increasingly influential Robben as the relentless pressure told again, as he slipped in Kimmich whose delivery found Muller to volley past Fabri.

The romance of Besiktas’ Champions League campaign, and their first ever run to the knock-out stages, meant little to Bayern even now. They pushed the visitors back so far even Hummels began to join attacks – and when he took aim from 25 yards, a far from convincing save from Fabri gifted Lewandowski another goal from the rebound.

Lewandowski’s record at the Allianz Arena is remarkable, and he added a 19th goal in 17 Champions League home games in the dying moments from another excellent piece of build-up from Muller and Kimmich.

Man of the match – Robert Lewandowski

The big Polish striker was in excellent form to score two and made another. He had a quiet start before effectively earning the red card for Vida, before really coming into his own after the break, where he could have easily had a hat-trick.

The second leg of this last 16 tie is on March 14 in Istanbul. Next up, Bayern host Hertha Berlin on Saturday, and on Sunday Besiktas can go top of the Super Lig if they can find a way past second-placed Fenerbahce.

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