Bayern Munich defeated Valencia 2-1 to open its Champions League campaign, but the match was not as close as the score suggests, and Bayern will have no problems winning Group F.
The Germans struck first when Bastian Schweinsteiger finished off a counter attack to put his team in the lead in the 38th minute.
Valencia defended in numbers and was unable to do much in the attacking third of the pitch. Bayern had the ball for 63 percent of the match and outshot the Spanish side 17-5.
Toni Kroos had an excellent outing and was a constant burden on the Valencia defense. After nearly scoring on multiple occasions, he finally gave his team a comfortable lead in the 76th minute with a perfectly placed strike from distance.
This set up a wild finish and Valencia’s Nelson Haedo Valdez headed home a corner kick to pull his side within a goal in the 91st minute. Almost immediately after play resumed, Bayern was once again in front of goal and Arjen Robben drew a penalty kick.
Mario Madzukic was unable to improve Bayern’s goal differential, but the Germans still held on for a victory in a match they dominated.
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The convincing performance is an excellent sign going forward for Bayern. With BATE Borisov and Lille as the other two teams in Group F, Valencia will likely be their most competitive opponents.
Borisov defeated Lille 3-1 and the Belarusian’s performance suggests that they will more competitive in UCL fixtures than they were last year. Lille appears as if it will struggle this season without Eden Hazard, and the club has just one victory in five Ligue 1 matches.
But neither of these sides will be able to compete against Bayern, whose roster is full of world-class players.
Now that Bayern—the clear favorites to win the group following the draw—have proved that they are undoubtedly better than the second-best side in Group F, there is little reason to doubt that the Germans will cruise past this stage of the competition.