Moscow - FC Bayern München’s hard-fought victory at PFC CSKA Moskva may not have been a game that will live long in the memory, but it was certainly one for the history books, as the Bavarians recorded their 100th win in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday evening.
Thomas Müller’s first-half penalty proved enough to overcome a stubborn Russian side in Moscow, with Bayern joining an elite group consisting only of fellow European giants Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC.
The victory leaves the Bavarians, who last lifted the famous trophy in 2012/13, on course for the last 16 of Europe’s premier club competition. Pep Guardiola’s troops are two points clear of second-place AS Roma, and five ahead of Manchester City FC, whom they beat 1-0 at the Allianz Arena a fortnight ago. “We go home feeling very satisfied,” said Müller, who sent Igor Akinfeev the wrong way from twelve yards after Mario Götze had been felled in the box. “We’ve got the three points, and that’s all that could have been expected of us tonight.”
With the game played behind closed doors due to crowd misbehaviour during CSKA’s clash with FC Viktoria Plzen last December, however, there was an almost eerie atmosphere inside the Arena Khimkhi on Tuesday evening. Bayern, though, showed no sign of letting the apparent lack of noise get to them, dominating proceedings from the off, although the Bundesliga champions were made to work hard by a deep-lying Russian defence. “It was a strange game, not only because of the absence of a crowd but also due to our opponents’ tactics,” said Müller. “It wasn’t easy for us and the opening goal was important. We could and should have scored a couple more goals, but at the same time Moscow were always dangerous on the break.” With Bayern facing Roma at home and away in their next two games, Guardiola’s charges could all but seal qualification for the last 16 as early as the beginning of November. “We took a big step today,” Götze admitted. “If we can maintain our form, we should be able to avoid a do-or-die game on the final matchday.”