Needing only a draw to secure their place in the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League, FC Bayern München secured top spot in their group with plenty of room to spare, keeping up their fantastic goalscoring record in easing to a 4-0 win over a limp Olympiakos Piraeus at the Allianz Arena.
In truth it could have been more as a number of excellent opportunities went begging. The gulf in class between the two teams was clearly evident over the course of the ninety minutes: Bayern ‘keeper Manuel Neuer was barely tested, and although the Bavarians had to play most of the second half with only ten men, nobody would have known it.
The injury to left-back David Alaba against Schalke 04 at the weekend brought Brazilian utility man Rafinha into an adjusted starting eleven, with Holger Badstuber also returning for his first start after his second long spell out with injury.
The composition of the Bayern front line clearly signalled coach Pep Guardiola’s intent: French youngster Kingsley Coman was brought into the side to start out on the left side of the attack, allowing Douglas Costa to assuming a more flexible position in the middle of the park. With Arjen Robben out on the right and Thomas Müller in his usual string-pulling role the Bayern front line was a heady mix of speed and guile – with the deadly executioner Robert Lewandowski leading the line. It was a lineup that would have scared any opponent.
It didn’t take long for the Bavarians to get themselves on the scoreboard. Olympiakos ‘keeper Roberto could only palm away Jérôme Boateng’s stinging long-range effort on eight minutes, and in a flash Douglas Costa was on hand to slot the ball low into the net to get the pot bubbling.
A further eight minutes later Bayern doubled their lead, as a Coman shot from outside the box was gathered by Lewandowski who calmly stroked the ball home. The clock had not even reached the twenty-minute mark when the home team netted their third, Thomas Müller tapping home from close range after being served up by Robben via a miscued Coman effort.
The game was more or less done and dusted, and despite slipping down a couple of gears Bayern kept creating opportunities. Robben was withdrawn as a precautionary measure just past the half-hour mark after taking a knock, but Joshua Kimmich was a more than adequate replacement.
The visitors would have to wait until the cusp of half-time for their first shot on goal, a free-kick from Luka Milivojevic that flew just wide of the target.
The second half saw Olympiakos struggle to keep the gently rolling red tide under control, but the biggest talking point was the dismissal of comeback kid Badstuber. Outpaced by Brown Ideye, the Bayern centre-back’s soft challenge was clearly inversely proportional to the amount of energy that propelled the Nigerian forward and onto the ground, but Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson had no hesitation in waving a straight red. It was not the first questionable decision by the official, who had earlier booked Boateng for a perfectly clean challenge on Brazilian Sebá.
Guardiola immediately covered for the loss at the back with Medhi Benatia replacing Lewandowski, but despite being a man down and without their star striker Bayern continued to dominate – and the chances continued to come. Costa sent a fizzing shot into the side netting before being denied by Roberto, and on sixty-nine minutes Coman would get his reward when Müller’s headed flick-on was nodded home by the recently-capped French international.
Coman took a good clout on the head from Roberto for his pains, but at 4-0 Bayern had kept up a staggering home record that has seen them score four or more in their last seven matches.
Neuer would see a little more action as the game drew to a close, but for all their huff and puff Olympiakos couldn’t force the Bayern ‘keeper into making a save. Meanwhile at the other end Roberto kept out both Kimmich and Müller, though the highlight was arguably Coman’s searing run that saw him turn on the afterburners as he left a succession of blue-shirted defenders in his wake. Sadly, his ball into to box for Müller was just a little too high and awkward to see the move finished off – though Müller tried to make the most of an awkward chance in his own characteristic style.
There was even time for Der Raumdeuter to hit the base of the post after galloping past Roberto, and the capacity crowd at the Allianz could go home more than happy having witnessed yet another sparkling display with plenty to spare.
FC Bayern München 4-0 Olympiakos Piraeus
Costa 8., Lewandowski 16., Müller 20., Coman 69. / –
FC Bayern: Neuer – Lahm (c) – Boateng, Badstuber, Rafinha – Vidal – Robben, Müller (33. Kimmich), Douglas Costa (72. Martínez), Coman – Lewandowski (56. Benatia)
Olympiakos: Roberto (c) – Elabdellaoui (78. Leandro Salino), da Costa, Siovas, Masuaku – Pardo (67. Hernâni), Kasami (67. Fortounis), Milivojevic, Cambiasso, Sebá – Ideye
Yellow Cards: Boateng / Milivojevic
Red Cards: Badstuber / –
Stats summary (courtesy of kicker.de):
Shots on goal: 19 / 8
Passes: 712 / 323
Completed passes: 644 / 248
Missed passes: 68 / 75
Passing success: 90% / 77%
Possession: 69% / 31%