Bayern maintain perfect German start | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 19.09.2012
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Bayern maintain perfect German start

Bayern Munich made it three out of three as far as the Bundesliga's contenders for Champions League glory are concerned, beating Valencia 2-1. It could have been a wider margin of victory for the Bavarians.

With Germany's two other Champions League representatives enjoying wins, it was Bayern's job to make sure of a 100 percent start.

It looked promising from the beginning. Valencia started out very much the cautious visitors, and there were plenty of chances with Frenchman Franck Ribery looking particularly bright.

Opportunities for Toni Kroos came in the fourth and 19th minute, the second of these tantalizingly placed but caught by the keeper. Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger also had efforts blocked as the Valencia defense grew tighter.

FC Bayern Munich's Claudio Pizarro of Italy, right, challenges FC Valencia's Tino Costa for the ball during the Group F Champions League soccer match and in Munich, southern Germany, on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. (Foto: Kerstin Joensson/AP/dapd)

Valencia were far from threatening for much of the game, but did not make things easy for Bayern

The Spaniards, rooted in defense, looked unlikely to mount a proper attack and there was not much room for Bayern to create. With the Germans camped in and around the Valencia box, it looked as though any breakthrough might require a set piece or goalmouth scramble.

In the end though, a foray out into the great beyond for Valencia had worse results than anticipated, at least as far as they were concerned. The Bavarians gained posession and Ribery made a run back towards the Spanish goal, passing the ball across the box. An alert Robben tapped it on to Schweinsteiger, who put it away from a tough angle to give Bayern the lead on 38 minutes - the ball touching defender Aly Cissokho on the way in.

Jitters fail to shake home side

There were one or two sticky moments after the break for Bayern, with Thomas Müller having come on for Ribery. Bayern also brought on Mario Mandzukic, who might have been wondering why he was on the bench after five goals in four games during Bayern's four opening matches of the season. A reasonable claim for a penalty for Bayern in the 53rd minute was turned down.

Soon it was the Spaniards who seemed to be carving out more of the chances but it was Kroos who finally made it onto the score sheet on 76 minutes thanks to an assist by Holger Badstuber. Kroos's well-placed decisive effort into the far side of the net gave Valencia keeper Diego Alves no chance. 

That was the way it stayed as Bayern then enjoyed the majority of possession, until the 91st minute. In extra time, thanks to a cross from Valencia's Jonathan Viera, former Borussia Dortmund man Nelson Valdez headed the ball down to narrow the lead.

Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos celebrates his goal against Valencia

Kroos looked like scoring throughout - finally he did, and it was spectacular

Some final minute drama came as Bayern were awarded a penalty, Mandzukic getting his chance to add to those impressive statistics. However, his effort was far too weak and the narrow one goal difference - perhaps a little flattering to Valencia - was preserved.

Bayern coach Jupp Heycknes spoke of a "game of patience," expressing irritation at the late goal for the visitors. "You have to concentrate right up to the end with a game like this," he said.

Captain Philipp Lahm also bemoaned the Valdez goal, but was prepared to look on the bright side. "A win against the toughest opposition in our group is a good start."

Three first half goals earned Belarusian champions BATE a 3-1 away win over Lille, meaning that Bayern take second place in Group E.

In Tuesday's Champions League games, Schalke beat home side Olympiakos 2-1, while Dortmund beat visiting Ajax 1-0.

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