Bayern campaign with comfortable win
Bayern got their 2019/20 Champions League campaign off to a perfect start with a 3-0 win at home to Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday evening. After Kingsley Coman had given the Reds the lead in the first half, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller added further goals late on, although in truth the hosts should have put the game to bed by then given their clear domination.
Niko Kovac made three changes from the team that started at RB Leipzig on Saturday. There was a reshuffle in defence with Benjamin Pavard moving to centre-back to replace Jérôme Boateng and Joshua Kimmich reverting to right-back. Corentin Tolisso took Kimmich’s spot in midfield, while Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic – making their Champions League debuts for Bayern – were preferred to Müller and Serge Gnabry in attack behind Lewandowski.
Coman breaks Red Star resistance
Unsurprisingly, Bayern dominated possession from the off against the Serbian champions but initially struggled to find a way through the deep line of blue shirts. The lively Coutinho had the first real attempt on goal in the 21st minute when his half-volley from a cleared cross sailed just over the bar.
Red Star did threaten on the counter a couple of times, with Jander hitting a snapshot into the side-netting, but their resistance was broken on 34 minutes. Manuel Neuer’s clearance found Perisic on the left, and after some neat footwork, his pinpoint cross was headed in by Coman from close range.
The Reds had the ball in the net again a few minutes later but Coutinho’s goal was chalked off for offside. Bayern had around 70% possession in the first half, but just one goal to show for it.
Bayern made to wait for second goal
The start of the second half followed a similar pattern, with Coutinho again going close from distance and Tolisso hitting the side netting from a tight angle early on. Perisic then had a good chance in the 55th minute when the ball dropped to him from Kimmich’s ball into the box, but his low shot was straight at Red Star goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Kovac’s men were then left wondering how they hadn’t doubled their advantage in the 65th minute. Perisic was again at the heart of it, lobbing the ball over Borjan but only onto the crossbar, and then Lewandowski volleyed the rebound into the ground and over the bar.
After that flurry of chances, the game slowed down somewhat and Bayern were given a scare when Marko Marin curled the ball just wide of Neuer’s far post. The visitors were made to regret that missed opportunity moments later when Bayern finally got the decisive second goal. Lewandowski’s attempted through ball to substitute Gnabry was cut out but the Pole then pounced on some hesitation in the Red Star defence, sliding in and poking the ball home for his 200th goal in an FCB shirt.