Bayern kick off Champions League campaign in winning style | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.09.2013
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Bayern kick off Champions League campaign in winning style

Bayern Munich have opened their Champions League campaign right where the left off last season, as winners. It was not the same story for Bayer Leverkusen, who were handed a heavy defeat away to Manchester United.

Bayern dominated for 90 minutes at home to CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, running out 3-0 winners in their opening match of the Champions League group stage. After hearing some harsh words from their Sports Director Matthias Sammer following their lackluster but still victorious performance against Hanover at the weekend, Bayern responded with an emphatic performance.

It only took three minutes for the Bavarians to get on the board in Munich. David Alaba's free kick from the top of the box flew right over the wall and dipped at the last moment, bouncing right in front of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and into the net.

The early goal set the tone for what would be a dominant performance from Bayern, who controlled an impressive 80 percent of possession for the opening 20 minutes.

Minutes before halftime, Mario Mandzukic doubled the hosts' lead off a set piece. Arjen Robben sent in a free kick from the right wing and an unprepared CSKA defense left Mandzukic wide open to head in the goal.

The story was same in the second period of play. Robben got one of his own in the 68th minute when he received Alaba's pass in the box, trapped the ball down and fired right under Akinfeev to make it 3-0.

Coach Pep Guardiola gave vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who recently recovered from an injury, a run-out for the final 30 minutes match. But the midfield general was hardly a necessary addition for Bayern to secure the win.

The 3-0 victory was just the kind of start the Bavarians wanted in their campaign to defend their Champions League title - something no team before them has been able to manage. They'll face a much tougher test in their next group stage match when they travel to last year's English Premier League runners-up Manchester City.

Disappointment for Leverkusen

There was much less for Bayer Leverkusen to celebrate Tuesday on Sami Hyypia's introduction to Champions League coaching. A 4-2 defeat away to Manchester United demonstrated that there might be a little way to go before they're ready to play with the big boys.

Manchester's Wayne Rooney (not in the picture) scores the 1-0 lead against Leverkusen's goal keeper Bernd Leno (C) during the UEFA Champions League group A soccer match between Manchester United and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, 17 September 2013. Manchester's Antonio Valencia (R) and Robin van Persie look on. Photo: Federico Gambarini/dpa

United were far superior against Leverkusen

United went ahead in the 22nd minute through Wayne Rooney. The referee ruled Patrice Evra onside when he received the ball on the left flank. He crossed into the box and Rooney volleyed past goalkeeper Bernd Leno to make it 1-0.

Leverkusen, who were always considered the underdogs heading into the match, did well to play with United, but star striker Stefan Kiessling was given little opportunity to test goalkeeper David de Gea.

The visitors unexpectedly equalized in the 54th minute when Simon Rolfes' beautiful curler caught out an unsuspecting de Gea. After failing to create a shot of his own in the box, Heung-Min Son found Rolfes at the top of the box. The Leverkusen captain sent a beautiful effort that started out off target but curved several feet towards goal and into the net as de Gea could only stand and watch.

But Leverkusen's momentum would not last long. Five minutes later Robin van Persie put United ahead again with an awkward but impressive, twisting volley. In the 70th minute, Rooney got a second when he slotted past Leno on the breakaway.

In the 79th minute Rooney capped off his impressive performance with a well-placed pass to Antonio Valencia on the counterattack. The Ecuadorian winger's low shot from the right side of the area beat Leno at the near post to make it 4-1.

Defender Ömer Toprak pulled one back for the visitors in the 87th minute when a corner kick rebound fell to him in the box, but it was too late to make any difference in the result.

The match finished 4-2, and United ran out deserved winners against their German opposition.

City, Madrid bag wins

In the evening's other Champions League action, Manchester City thumped Viktoria Plzen 3-0 in a match between Bayern's fellow Group D opponents. In Leverkusen's Group A, Shakhtar Donetsk spoiled Real Sociedad's Champions League return by stealing a 2-0 away win in San Sebastian.

In Group B, Cristiano Ronaldo's hat trick was the highlight in Real Madrid's 6-1 mauling of Galatasaray in a rematch of last season's Champions League quarterfinal. Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw away to FC Copenhagen.

Benfica dispatched Group C Anderlecht opponents 2-0 in Lisbon, while Paris St. Germain won 4-1 at Olympiakos to round out the night of European matches.

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