Bayern Reach Champions League Group Stage
Bayern Munich have booked a spot into the next term’s UEFA Champions League group stage after beating FC Zurich 1-0 at the Letzigrund stadium in the second leg of the play-off to make the progress thanks to a 3-0 aggregate result.
Gomez opened the score minutes into the meeting as Bayern managed to keep the sheet clean throughout the entire 90 minutes. The first chance belonged to the Swiss though who missed a great chance in the fifth minute through striker Chemiti who struck it wide of the target in what could have been a stunner for the hosts.
But just two minutes later, things got complicated for the same Zurich who conceded an early opener from Gomez. Muller picked the team mate in good position only to beat Leoni from the edge of the box. Muller then mocked another golden chance for the Germans, the striker hitting it just wide to his own dismay.
With newly arrived Neuer on the pitch, Bayern were protected at times from dangerous finishes which could have made them to work harder for a positive result. Rodriguez was denied by Neuer in the 20th minute as the German keeper was kept busy pretty often by the stubborn Zurich. The first caution was conceded by Buff who took down Muller following an ugly trip.
Barmettler saved the Swiss from disaster in the 39th minute when Muller was tackled by the defender at the death as the scoreboard remained unchanged. Two other actions followed that one, both created by Gomez who was denied twice by a vigilant Leoni who would not concede any goal until the end. The half time went 1-0 as Bayern were one step into the UCL group stage.
Two minutes into the second part, Munich new coach Jupp Heynckes replaced the scorer with Petersen. A couple of minutes later, Zurich threatened with a leveler. Djuric picked Aergeter in good position only to be denied by the same Neuer who has proven to be an inspired move from Schalke.
Chermiti made him work hard in the 55th minute when the Zurich forwarder was left unmarked and allowed to deliver a cross for Mehmedi whose shot went wide, in what should have been a more difficult test for Neuer, if not a first one for the home side. Petersen got his first big chance five minutes later when Boateng played the newly introduced on the edge of the box only to lift it well wide.
Heyckes replaced Kroos with Timoshchuck in the 65th minute, while coach Urs Fischer sent on Gajic for Aegerter and Brunner for Djuric. Both sides looked almost the same even after the substitutions so the qualification was just a matter of time for the Germans. Alaba was also introduced for Muller in the 72nd minute as Bayern were increasing their possession.
Petersen tried his luck for the second time in the 75th minute, his shot being denied by Leoni who was one of the best Zurich players. Ribery missed golden opportunity just a couple of minutes later, but he was blocked by Teixeria just before preparing his strike. A last change then saw Drmic replace Mehmedi for the Swiss.
The last ten minutes went actionless as Munich celebrated an easy progress into the Champions League group phase. “It was important for us to get an early goal, so that we had a commanding 3-0 lead. After that the tension wasn’t so great in the team. It was very important for Bayern Munich to be in the group stages,” said coach Heynckes after the meeting.
Four other teams have qualified for the UCL group stage including APOEL Tel Aviv, Genk, Dinamo Zagreb and Villarreal. The Israeli beat Wisla Krakow 3-1 to overturn to aggregate to 3-2, while the Belgians from Genk beat Haifa 4-1 on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate. Finally, Zagreb, who lost the second round 0-2, have progressed with a 4-3 aggregate, while Villarreal overcame a 0-1 deficit to beat OB 3-0 on Tuesday night at home.
FC Zurich – Leoni; Rodriguez, Bermettler, Teixeira, Koch; Djuric, Buff, Aegerter, Schonbachlers; Chermiti, Mehmedi. Reserves: M. Brunners, J. Drmic, R. Koch, L. Magnin, A. Guatelli, A. Nikci, M. Gajic.
Bayern Munich – Neuer; Boateng, van Buyten, Badstuber, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Luis Gustavo, Muller, Kroos, Ribery, Gomez. Reserves: Rafinha, A. Timoshchuk, D. Contento, D. Alaba, N. Petersen, A. Robben, H. Butt.11