Bayern see off Plzen to reach Champions League last 16


Leon Goretzka’s brace inspired Bayern Munich to a 4-2 win at Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Wednesday that sent the German side through to the last 16.

Bayern, who won their Champions League group in each of the last four seasons, now lead Group C with 12 points from four games.

Their last-16 berth was secured by a wild 3-3 draw between Barcelona and Inter Milan in the other game in their section on Wednesday.

“The games in which you are the clear favourite and have to win are tough,” said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann.

“We have 12 points, we’re in the last 16 so we’re of course happy about that.”

Thumped 5-0 by Bayern a week ago, Plzen found themselves trailing again after just 10 minutes in the Czech Republic.

Sadio Mane played a give-and-go with Goretzka to beat the Plzen defence and had no problems firing past Plzen goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek.

Nagelsmann made six changes from the first meeting, using Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Mueller who had missed the home game because of Covid-19 infections.

Mueller scored Bayern’s second on 14 minutes with an easy tap-in after Kingsley Coman sprinted down the left flank and found him facing a wide open goal.

Goretzka scored the third into the bottom corner after Mueller’s low cross picked him out by the penalty spot on 25 minutes.

Ten minutes later, Goretzka chipped the ball over Stanek after a perfect through pass from Leroy Sane, turning the first half into a nightmare for the Czech underdogs.

– ‘Fulfilled goal’ –

But with nothing to lose, Plzen offered a much livelier performance in the second half.

Adam Vlkanova blasted in a headed pass from Jhon Mosquera on 62 minutes past Sven Ulreich, who had replaced the injured Manuel Neuer.

With 15 minutes to go, Jan Kliment fired home neatly on the turn from a pass from fellow substitute Libor Holik but Plzen were eliminated from the competition.

“Of course a win is always important, especially away. We have 12 points from four games in the toughest Champions League group and we want to win the group,” said Nagelsmann.

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“We’ve fulfilled our goal. I’m not really surprised, although it is naturally hard to switch from the Bundesliga to the Champions League, especially when you’re not doing too well.”

Bayern are currently third in the Bundesliga, trailing leaders Union Berlin by four points after nine games.

“The players have worked hard on positional play in recent weeks. I think we are doing well in creating chances,” said Nagelsmann, who only brought 17 players to Plzen.

“We wanted and had to make replacements also with regard to the upcoming Bundesliga game (with Freiburg).”

“And of course when you’re up four goals at half-time, you start thinking about the league a bit,” he added on Plzen’s second-half recovery.

Bayern travel to Barcelona in the next round of games on October 26 while Inter host Plzen.

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