Munich- FC Bayern München began the defence of their UEFA Champions League title with a comfortable 3-0 victory over PFC CSKA Moskva at the Allianz Arena.

David Alaba set the tone with a free-kick inside three minutes, before Mario Mandzukic doubled the lead with a header just before the break. Arjen Robben’s calm finish from Alaba’s clever pass then put the game firmly beyond the Russians, who barely troubled their Bavarian hosts.

Awesome Alaba


As the defending champions, there was undoubted pressure on Bayern coming into the game. The home side responded excellently to the challenge, however, by making a blistering start to the game. Not even four minutes had been played when Alaba netted the first Champions League goal of the campaign with a well-struck free-kick that crept inside the post.

To a man, CSKA looked nervous and Mario Mandzukic should have doubled the lead when he fired straight at Igor Akinfeev, a poor decision considering that a square pass to Thomas Müller would have left the German international with an open goal. Ahmed Musa then gave the home defence a moment of concern when he drove at Dante only to fire wide of the target.

Mandzukic makes amends


The home side were well on top, with the busy Philipp Lahm keeping things ticking over nicely in midfield. Mandzukic had something to make up for following his early miss, and after striking the inside of the post with a header, he made no mistake with his next attempt, nodding in Robben’s flighted centre.

The half-time break afforded the Russian outfit some respite, but Bayern were still clearly in the ascendancy in the early exchanges of the second period. Robben had had rather a quiet game by his standards, but came closest to adding to the scoreline when Akinfeev denied him with two smart saves, before holding a tame effort from Mandzukic on the stretch.

Robben settles it


CSKA were playing like a team of strangers that looked to have already accepted defeat, and the result was effectively confirmed on 68 minutes when Robben finally got his goal. He collected a beautiful chipped pass from Alaba, controlling the ball on his chest before calmly volleying into the corner.

Xherdan Shaqiri enjoyed a flourishing cameo from the substitutes’ bench, testing Akinfeev with a low drive before side-footing wide from Müller’s inviting pass. Three goals was a more than satisfactory margin of victory in Pep Guardiola’s first Champions League game in charge, though, and Bayern will travel to Manchester City FC in confident mood on Matchday 2.

Line-ups:

FC Bayern: Neuer - Rafinha, J. Boateng, Dante, Alaba - Lahm – Robben (Shaqiri, 79‘), T. Müller, T. Kroos (Schweinsteiger, 71‘), Ribery – Mandzukic (Pizarro, 75‘)

CSKA Moskva: Akinfeev - Nababkin, V. Berezutski, Ignashevich, Schennikov - Wernbloom, Cauna – Zuber (Milanov, 77‘), Honda, Vitinho (Tosic, 46‘) – Musa (Bazelyuk, 74‘)

Goals: 1-0 Alaba 3', 2-0 Mandzukic 41', 3-0 Robben 68'

Bernie Reeves