Bayern down Celtic on Heynckes’ Champions League return
Jupp Heynckes enjoyed a successful Champions League return on Wednesday as Bayern Munich got their Group B campaign back on track with a 3-0 home win against Celtic.
Bayern captain Thomas Mueller put the hosts ahead after 17 minutes before Germany defender Joshua Kimmich made it two with a header just before the half-hour mark.
Mats Hummels — who insisted Bayern cannot currently consider themselves amongst Europe’s top teams in an pre-match interview — completed the win with a header just after the break.
The result leaves Bayern second in the group on six points, three behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain and three clear of third-placed Celtic.
“FC Bayern wants to qualify for the knock-out phase, so it was important for us to get the win,” said Heynckes.
“The team did well, even if we didn’t convert all our chances.”
It had been 1,608 days since Heynckes last took charge of Bayern in Europe when they beat Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League final.
The 72-year-old came out of a four-year retirement for his fourth stint as Bayern coach after Carlo Ancelotti was sacked in the wake of Bayern’s 3-0 drubbing at PSG three weeks ago.
Following Saturday’s 5-0 thumping of Freiburg, Bayern have now scored eight goals without reply in Heynckes’ first two games.
“The attitude was better, we were motivated after the win at Freiburg and wanted to use the momentum,” said Mueller.
“That was an important three points.
“We created a lot of chances in the second half which we should have used.”
Mueller back on form
Heynckes started four of the team – David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, Mueller and Arjen Robben – which won the Wembley final four years ago.
He also made a good start to solving the problem which perplexed predecessor Ancelotti of where to play Mueller.
The Germany star was restored to the attacking midfield role, happily roaming just behind Robert Lewandowski, with Thiago Alcantara dropping into defensive midfield.
Key Celtic defender Jozo Simunovic was missing with a hamstring injury, so coach Brendan Rodgers partnered Mikael Lustig with Dedryck Boyata at centre-back.
Captain Scott Brown and former Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong also returned from injury.
Bayern ran riot in the opening six minutes with Lewandowski a constant menace in front of a sell-out 72,000 crowd.
Thiago had a goal disallowed, incorrectly as replays showed the ball had not gone out of play in the build-up, before Lewandowski had a penalty appeal waved away.
Alaba sent a clear chance flying over the bar with 13 minutes gone.
Celtic’s defence finally broke on 17 minutes when Lewandowski’s header was saved by goalkeeper Craig Gordon, but Mueller smashed home the rebound.
Kimmich grabbed the second with a pin-point header on 29 minutes from Kingsley Coman’s floated cross.
It was 2-0 at the break, but Hummels headed Bayern’s third goal from the resulting corner after Robben fired over on 52 minutes.
“I was disappointed with the nature of the goals, but there were positives,” said Celtic boss Rodgers.
“There was no denying we played against a top-class side and we didn’t defend our box well enough when the crosses came in.”
Robben, who made his 100th Champions League appearance spanning 16 seasons, had a bullet header cleared off the line with half an hour to go.
“That is a step forwards,” said the Dutch winger.
“We want to improve. Not everything is perfect yet, but we are on the right path.”
Lewandowski put the ball in the net shortly afterwards, but the goal was chalked off for offside, as Bayern kept the pressure up.
Celtic improved for the final 20 minutes as winger Scott Sinclair also had a goal disallowed for offside just before the final whistle.
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