Munich (dpa) – Hansi Flick welcomed his goalscorers beaming with joy. A hug for first goalscorer Niklas Süle, a pat on the back for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting – thanks to two goals after the break, FC Bayern Munich ended its triumphant Champions League year with a victory.
In the last group match, the defending champions won 2-0 (0-0) against Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday after a performance improvement in the second half.
With his first goal in the premier class in the 25th game, Süle cleared the way for the German record champion (63rd minute), who were already group winners and the round of 16. The Choupo-Moting calling for the slightly battered Robert Lewandowski made everything clear (80th) and then showed a symbolic gesture in the fight against racism with a kneeling and raised fist. “You must lead by example, you must not stop fighting racism,” he told Sky TV.
The win brought in another 2.7 million euros in prize money at the defending champions’ box office. “We wanted to end 2020 – it was an excellent Champions League year – with a win,” said coach Hansi Flick. “We did well defensively,” he added, praising Choupo-Moting: “It was good for him to score.”
The Bavarians, who in addition to Lewandowski (mild muscle problems) also did without David Alaba (stress management) against the Russians, are now looking forward to Monday’s draw in Nyon. The round of the best 16 will be played in February and March of the coming year. “Interesting clubs for the next round,” said Thomas Müller in view of opponents like FC Barcelona or Atalanta Bergamo and FC Porto. Before that, the third of the last game of the year is Saturday in the Bundesliga against Union Berlin.
Coach Hansi Flick spared some regular players and tested the B-line-up. Instead of Lewandowski, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting was again allowed to attack 1: 1 at Atletico Madrid, just like last week. The long-injured Canadian Alphonso Davies made his return to the left side of the defense, where Alaba last defended. “It’s nice to be on the team again,” he said.
Nevertheless, Bayern started out dominantly against the defending Russians as expected. In addition to their starting eleven, they brought only five substitutes to Munich, including two goalkeepers.
For almost 20 minutes, neither team had any chance of scoring. Bayern tried over the wings, but due to a lack of precision on the flanks, this did not work. FC Bayern tried their best against the many-legged defense of the guests. But the defending champion also lacked the creativity to crack the stronghold.
The Russians, meanwhile, were counting on the counterattack. One of the 35th-minute counterattacks saw goalkeeper Manuel Neuer intervene and use both fists to deflect the ball after Dmitri Rybtschinski hit the ball. In the 39th minute, the guests appeared dangerously in front of Bayern’s goal, but François Kamano’s shot caught Leon Goretzka. In return, Thomas Müller only hit the outside and missed the best chance to make it 1-0 up to that point.
For Bayern, the mandatory task against the bottom of the group turned out to be a tough test of patience. Serge Gnabry came into the game for Thomas Müller in the second half. Niklas Süle headed on goal after a corner kick from the national player, but Marinato Guilherme prevented Bayern from scoring (50th). The goalkeeper was also there for a heel spur from Choupo-Moting (53rd).
With Gnabry, the German record champions put the pressure on. In the 57th, he failed with a double chance of Guilherme and then shot just wide. In the 63rd minute, Süle rewarded the hosts’ efforts and headed a corner kick from Costa to make it 1-0. In the 80th minute, Choupo-Moting succeeded with his goal to make it 2-0.