A second-half brace from Robert Lewandowski eased Bayern Munich to a comfortable 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb in their final Champions League Group F game.
ayern suffered their first Bundesliga defeat of the season at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday, but bounced back impressively in Croatia four days later.
Pep Guardiola’s side were already assured of top spot in the pool, but Lewandowski’s clinical double – taking him to seven Champions League goals for the campaign – made it 15 points from their six games.
Thomas Muller – introduced at half-time – hit the post with a late penalty as Bayern cruised home and bottom-placed Zagreb’s Champions League run came to a predictable end.
Bayern should have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute when Medhi Benatia climbed highest to meet a Xabi Alonso corner only to wastefully glance his header wide.
To their credit, Zagreb responded swiftly to that early let-off, with the rested Manuel Neuer’s deputy, Sven Ulreich, called upon to deny Domagoj Antolic and Josip Pivaric in quick succession.
As the lively opening continued, Franck Ribery and Lewandowski both went close to putting the visitors in front, Eduardo producing two fine saves to keep them at bay.
The home side’s attacking forays became less frequent as the half wore on, although Ulreich did have to react sharply to block a shot from El Arabi Hilal Soudani after the Algerian was played in by skipper Antolic after 25 minutes.
Alonso and Sebastian Rode were next to threaten for Guardiola’s team, but for all their attacking fluency, Bayern continued to look vulnerable at the back and were fortunate not to be punished on the stroke of half-time when Soudani headed over after Ulreich had failed to gather a free-kick.
Guardiola brought on both Muller and Jerome Boateng at half-time, and the former made an immediate impact as he flicked an Alonso corner inches wide of the post and drew a sprawling save from Eduardo shortly after.
A superb reflex block from Ulreich at the other end then prevented Junior Fernandes from firing the Croatians into an unlikely lead before Bayern finally made their pressure count in the 61st minute.
Rode provided the cross from the right and Lewandowski got in front of his marker to glance a diving header into the bottom corner.
And three minutes later the two combined again to make the game safe, Rode bisecting the Zagreb defence with a superb throughball and Lewandowski cleverly lifting the ball over the advancing Eduardo.
Pivaric struck the woodwork late on, but a comeback never looked likely as Guardiola claimed his 100th win in 132 games in charge of Bayern.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!