Renato Sanches scored his first competitive goal for Bayern Munich as the defending Bundesliga champions breezed past Benfica in their opening UEFA Champions League Group E fixture.

Benfica 0-2 Bayern Munich

Goals: 0-1 Lewandowski (10’), 0-2 Sanches (54’)

With James Rodriguez making his first start of the season and Sanches a surprise inclusion against his boyhood club, Bayern did not have to wait long to take the lead. Sanches and Franck Ribery combined to release David Alaba, whose pin-point cross found Robert Lewandowski in the box. The Poland striker still had work to do, but made light work of his marker before slamming in his seventh goal of the campaign. Arjen Robben - with two goals in his last three games - spurned two very presentable chances to extend Bayern’s advantage.

Bayern did add a second shortly after the restart, though. Joshua Kimmich instigated the move with a quite brilliant long ball to Sanches. Lewandowski involved Ribery and then James, before Sanches tapped into an empty net with the Benfica defence all at see. The offside flag denied substitute Serge Gnabry a third following another breathtakingly flowing team move as Bayern cruised over the finish line to hand Niko Kovac his first Champions League win as a coach and preserve the record German champions’ 100 per cent start to the 2018/19 campaign.

Match stats

  • Bayern have won all six of their competitive matches so far this season, scoring 17 goals and conceding two.
  • Sanches is a product of the Benfica academy. He made his professional debut in a Champions League group game against Astana on 25 November 2015. The Benfica game was his 27th in a Bayern shirt after joining the club in summer 2016.
  • Lewandowski has now scored 46 goals in 73 Champions League appearances for Bayern and former club Borussia Dortmund.
  • A late substitute for Javi Martinez, Thomas Müller made his 100th Champions League appearance.
  • Gnabry made his third Champions League appearance. His first two came against Dortmund and Bayern in 2013/14, whilst at Arsenal.
  • Reserve-team players Paul Will (19) and Woo-Jong Jeong (18) were named in a senior competitive squad for the first time.

Line-ups

Benfica: Vlachodimos - Almeida, Dias, Jardel, Grimaldo - Fejsa - Salvio (Gabriel 62’), Pizzi (Rafa 62’), Fernandes (Zivkovic 75’), Cervi - Seferovic
Unused subs: Svilar, Conti, Alfa Semedo, Castillo
Absentees: Corchia (knee), Jonas (back), Krovinovic (knee)
Coach: Rui Vitoria

Bayern: Neuer (c) - Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba - Martinez (Müller 88’), Sanches - Robben, James (Goretzka 78’), Ribery (Gnabry 62’) - Lewandowski
Unused subs: Ulreich, Süle, Will, Jeong, Wagner
Absentees: Coman (ankle), Tolisso (knee), Rafinha (ankle)
Coach: Niko Kovac

As it happened

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