Bayern sends a message in debut
JOSHUA Kimmich grabbed a secondhalf double and birthday boy Thomas Mueller was on target as Bayern Munich hammered the Russian side Rostov 5-0 in the Champions League on September 13.
It was an ominous warning of intent from the Germans in their Group D opener, after prolific Robert Lewandowski scored midway through the first half from the penalty spot before Mueller doubled the lead in the second minute of firsthalf injury time.
Kimmich grabbed a simple third soon after the break following fine work from Douglas Costa, and then the impressive midfielder headed home to make it 4-0 just minutes later.
Spanish defender Juan Bernat popped up in the box in the closing moments for number five.
Carlo Ancelotti, taking charge of Bayern for the first time in the Champions League after succeeding Pep Guardiola, said, “It was a great game. We opened the scoring early and then the game was more open for us and we created more chances.
“Can we win the Champions League? For sure our team will be competitive this season and for the moment everything is good, but the first objective is to win the group, and then we will see the draw.”
Rostov, making their Champions League debut after finishing second in Russia last season, deployed the same 5-3-2 formation that brought them shock success against Ajax and Anderlecht in the qualifying rounds.
And the unheralded visitors frustrated five-time European kings Bayern in the opening quarter of an hour, throwing plenty of men behind the ball and looking to hit their more illustrious opponents on the break.
But on 18 minutes Kimmich floated in a free-kick that had Rostov goalkeeper Soslan Dzhanaev stranded, and moments later Lewandowski and Kimmich again both had chances.
Just before the 30-minute mark Bayern – Champions League winners in 2013 – took the lead through a Lewandowski penalty after the referee spotted the Rostov rearguard tugging at several home players in the box from a corner.
Lewandowski sent Dzhanaev the wrong way to put the Germans on their way, and they had several chances to extend their lead, with Thiago Alcantara, Mats Hummels, Arturo Vidal and David Alaba all spurning opportunities before Alaba crossed for Mueller – aged 27 on the day – to sweep home for 2-0 moments before half-time.
Soon after half-time it was 3-0 after Costa teed up the German international Kimmich, 21, for a simple tapin, and then Kimmich rose highest to nod home unchallenged on the hour.
Kimmich, who also netted on the weekend in a 2-0 win at Schalke, said even he was surprised by his scoring exploits.
“I don’t know why it is working at the moment,” he said. “When you score it gives you more confidence. Up until now I hadn’t been this prolific and had only scored two or three goals a season.”
Also in Group D, last season’s runners-up Atletico Madrid won 1-0 at PSV Eindhoven thanks to a first-half strike from Saul Niguez. –
Bayern Munich’s striker Thomas Mueller (right) celebrates scoring the 2-0 goal with his teammate, Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, during the Champions League football match between Bayern Munich and Rostov in Munich, Germany, on September 13.