Bayern crowned an almost flawless run into the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Wednesday evening as a much-changed side defeated PFC CSKA Moskva 3-0, despite having already qualified for the knockout stages as Group E winners after Matchday 4.
Robben: ‘The team deserves praise’
Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the encounter but lacked penetration in the first half, only breaking the deadlock through Thomas Müller’s penalty. Robben’s introduction at the start of the second period gave the hosts greater verve, and they went on to score two more late on through Sebastian Rode and Mario Götze.
“CSKA didn’t do very much,” Robben insisted. “They sat deep and waited to break on the counter. We controlled the game completely and if we’d made the most of our chances in the second half we’d have scored a couple more goals. It was enjoyable. We had a difficult group but the team deserves praise because we did very well.”
Attention will inevitably focus on Bayern’s opponents in the last 16 draw on Monday, but before then the record Bundesliga titleholders have the not insignificant matter of a Bavarian derby away to local neighbours Augsburg, who are the surprising occupants of third place in the table following four consecutive league wins. “They’ll be tougher than playing CSKA because they're on a good run,” Robben said. “They've got a good team and the Bundesliga is always intense.”
Götze agreed, insisting Bayern will not be taking their smaller neighbours lightly: “It'll be an interesting game. They've been very good in recent years and if my memory serves me correctly we didn't do too well there last season. It's difficult to play there.” Indeed, Bayern lost 1-0 at the SGL Arena on Matchday 29 of the previous campaign, although by that point they had already secured the Bundesliga title. With rather more at stake this weekend, it is an encounter not to be missed.