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Sports

Bayern get back to winning ways in Lille

With Bayern Munich looking to make up for their shock away loss in Minsk, a trip to Lille was the perfect opportunity to get back on track. While the result could have been more emphatic, the Bavarians did enough.

On their trip to northern France, Bayern had been looking to atone for their humiliating defeat to Belarusians BATE in their last round of Champions League action.

But while the Bavarians will be satisfied with a win, the league leaders didn't find their usual joie de vivre in their 1-0 win in Lille on Tuesday evening.

After the first five minutes it was evident that Bayern were already in control of the game, with the home side defending deep in their own half.

Wave after wave of attack looked sure to pay off as the first half wore on and Bayern took the game by the scruff of the neck. The pressure paid off on 20 minutes, when Lucas Digne gave away a penalty through his foul on Philip Lahm.

The penalty kick was taken cleanly by Thomas Müller, pictured above. He buried the ball to the right past Lille keeper Mickael Landreau, who was caught out spinning down and to the left.

Lille defenders Franck Beria (L) and Djibril Sidibe (C) vie for the ball with Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery (Photo: dpa)

Lille were keen to press Bayern throughout, with Ribery being particularly targeted

It was followed by a phase in which Bayern seemed to be playing keep-ball but, despite being the better side, the Germans didn't seem to be firing on all cylinders. The nagging frustration might have led to yellow cards for Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez.

Tough play from French

However, it was the French who were forced to resort to a more physical game, giving away 13 of the first half's 20 fouls. Six of those alone were on Bayern's Franck Ribery, who was replaced at the break.

By the beginning of the second half a somewhat refreshed Lille come out, with Bayern looking a little shakier at first before once again building up an overall dominance they were able to capitalize on. Mario Mandzukic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Toni Kroos all hovered on the brink of opening up a wider gap.

Slowly, Lille began to build up some momentum of their own, with forward Ryan Mendes looking especially dangerous as spaces opened up at the back.

The Lille pressure appeared to catch Bayern on the back foot and, as the game wound on, the Bavarians seemed happy to hold on to a win. But, if the game ended a little flat, it's not something Bayern would have minded too much when set against their last European outing.

"Towards the end I was getting worried, as Lille was pushing forward and with just one goal up, anything can still happen," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes. "It was not a very nice victory, but it was a win and that is important."

Valencia, who beat Bayern's conquerors BATE, now top Group F while Bayern go level on six points, albeit with a slightly inferior goal difference, with the Belarusians.

In Wednesday's games, German champions Borussia Dortmund play host to Group D opponents Real Madrid, while Schalke are away to Arsenal in Group B.