Munich - FC Bayern Munich brought their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign to a close with an easy 4-1 win over BATE Borisov.

On one of the rare occasions that Allianz Arena was not sold out, Mario Gomez put the hosts ahead midway through the first half, before Thomas Müller, Xherdan Shaqiri and David Alaba settled things in the second period, with a consolation effort struck by Borisov's Yegor Filipenko. The result ensured that last year’s runners-up go through to the knock-out rounds as group winners.

Gomez brings game to life


Having already qualified, Bayern needed to match Valencia's result to top the group. That didn’t stop head coach Jupp Heynckes ringing the changes however - six to be precise, compared to the side that started against Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, among them Daniel van Buyten and Diego Contento, who had just three appearances between them all season.

With so many changes and with Borisov content to sit deeply in their own half, it took a while for the home side to hit their stride, but that changed with 22 minutes on the clock. Xherdan Shaqiri finally injected some urgency into what had been a pedestrian encounter and stormed into the box, eventually crossing for Gomez to tap in his first Champions League goal since April. Toni Kroos then went close to adding a second, firing a half-volley over and then forcing a smart stop from BATE keeper Andrei Gorbunov.

Boateng dismissed, Müller doubles lead


After a quiet first half, the game seemed to erupt into life in the early moments of the second period. Bayern suffered a temporary setback when they were reduced to ten men after Jerome Boateng was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on Artem Kontsevoy. Yet no sooner had they fallen a man down did the Reds double their lead, Thomas Müller popping up to finish off Bastian Schweisteiger’s flick-on.

In the freezing temperatures, the opportunity was there for the Bavarians to sit on their two-goal lead and see out the game, but Heynckes’ men had other ideas. After a good spell of possession, they soon stretched their advantage to three, as Gomez displayed his unselfish side to chase down a ball and pick out the diminutive Shaqiri for a well-taken header.

Never in doubt


Moments later, it was ten against ten as BATE midfielder Denis Polyakov was shown a second yellow to for a dive in the Bayern box. The hosts sensed blood with parity restored again. Substitute Alaba got in on the act, controlling smartly and firing home from Franck Ribery’s deflected corner.

Filipenko struck a consolation effort for BATE with a low drive inside Manuel Neuer’s post, but though the clean sheet may have been spoiled, this was a most satisfactory evening for Bayern. They now await the draw for the last 16 on 20 December with justified anticipation.

Bernie Reeves

Line-ups:

Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, van Buyten, Boateng, Contento - Tymoshchuk, Schweinsteiger (Ribery, 72') - Müller (Dante, 54'), Kroos (Alaba, 64'), Shaqiri - Gomez

Borisov: Gorbunov - Polyakov, Radkov, Filipenko, Bordachev (Yurevich, 87') - Olekhnovich, Baga, A. Volodko - Kontsevoy (Bressan, 58'), Hleb - Rodionov (Vasilyuk, 67')