FC Bayern beat AEK Athens 2-0 on Wednesday night, and the Champions League round of sixteen beckons for Niko Kovac and his men. Robert Lewandowski put the Bavarians ahead from the spot after 30 minutes before rounding off his brace midway through the second half.
The German record champions started with Manuel Neuer in goal and Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Rafinha in a back four. Javi Martínez filled the holding role behind Serge Gnabry, Thomas Müller, Leon Goretzka and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as sole striker. Rafinha, Renato Sanches and Sandro Wagner took over from Ribéry, Gnabry and Lewandowski in the closing stages.
Dour first half
The 70,000 crowd at the Allianz Arena saw the Bavarians dominate proceedings but struggle against AEK's back five at first. Müller saw an effort blocked before Vassilis Lampropoulos nodded a header just wide at the other hand. A fine Kimmich cross found Goretzka, whose header was tipped over the bar. The visitors worked tirelessly when not in possession, and chances proved few and far between for the next 20 minutes.
Lewandowski was upended in the box on the half-hour and proved a cool customer from the spot, putting Bayern ahead. Müller almost doubled the lead, but his shot was deflected and went wide. Poland striker Lewy miscued following a strong Boateng lob shortly before half-time, but the linesman's flag was raised anyway.
Lewy seals it
The match followed a similar pattern in the second half. Goretzka connected with another pinpoint Kimmich cross, but visiting netminder Vasilios Barkas proved equal to the former Schalke man's volley. After the hour mark Bayern upped the pressure in search of a second goal, but Barkas saved from Lewandowski following a brilliant Martínez through-ball.
Bayern duly doubled the lead when Lewandowski crowned his 100th European appearance, converting a Kimmich corner, but it was telling that both goals came from set-pieces. Gnabry almost closed out the meeting but Barkas made another fine save. Bayern increasingly engaged cruise control now, and with no more presentable chances to come, match official Matej Jug blew for full-time.
The result takes Bayern onto ten points from four matches, two clear of Ajax, who were held to a draw by Benfica. With the Portuguese side on four points, Bayern only need one more point to make it to the last sixteen. The Bavarians will be back in action on Saturday, when they travel to face Borussia Dortmund in the latest edition of the Bundesliga's biggest clash.
- Match stats:
FC Bayern: Neuer – Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, Alaba – Martínez – Gnabry (Sanches 87), Müller, Goretzka, Ribéry (Rafinha 84) – Lewandowski (Wagner 90+1)
AEK Athens: Barkas – Bakakis, Lampropoulos, Chygrynskiy, Cosic, Hult – Galanopoulos (Rodrigo Galo 78), Simoes, Alef (Morán 67) – Ponce, Mantalos (Boyé 79)
Referee: Matej Jug (Slovenia)
Goals: 1-0 Lewandowski (31, pen), 2-0 Lewandowski (71)
Yellow cards: - / Cosic, Simoes, Lampropoulos
- Match report by fcbayern.de