FCB on track in the Champions League
Uli Hoeneß left the Allianz Arena mixed zone smiling. He was "satisfied," the FC Bayern president said about his mood after the 2-0 Champions League victory over AEK Athens on Wednesday evening. The Bavarians have taken a giant stride towards the last sixteen. But not only the result but also the way it came about pleased the 66-year-old. The team turned in "a very decent display" especially in the second half, according to Hoeneß.
The Bavarians fulfilled their task on Wednesday. Only the 1-1 draw between Ajax and Bayern's next CL opponents Benfica prevented a berth in the knockout stages after only four matchdays. But the German record champions are in a good mood because of the situation: "We now have ten points, and we have a very good chance of going through to the next round," said Niko Kovac. Bayern beat Benfica 2-0 in the first match and encounter the Portuguese side again in three weeks. If Bayern do not lose the head-to-head comparison they seal a berth in the last sixteen.
Lewandowski extends his impressive tally
Robert Lewandowski played a major part in Bayern's victory and their comfortable situation. The Bavarians struggled against the deep-lying Greeks at first, but the Poland international broke the deadlock when he converted from the penalty spot after 30 minutes. "We struggled to get a grip on the match," analysed Joshua Kimmich, "but we were solid and stable after the opener." Apart from Vasilios Lampropoulos' header in the early stages, the Greeks did little to avoid defeat, but it was only after 70 minutes that Lewandowski doubled the lead to Bayern's relief.
"We were in control today. A clear-cut victory is important for your confidence," explained Lewandowski, who scored his Champions League goals number 48 and 49, advancing in the all-time scorer rankings. Only six players boast more goals in the competition than Lewandowski. "Lewy has been a crucial player for us all season," Kovac said in praise of Bayern's most prolific scorer this term, who boasts 13 competitive goals so far.
Crunch time against Borussia
There is no question the 47-year-old would be pleased if Lewandowski scores in the Bundesliga top clash away to Borussia Dortmund too. But the situation in the Bundesliga is different than in the Champions League. Bayern are four points short of the league leaders. "We won't travel to Dortmund as favourites but as underdogs – for the first time in a long time," summarised Hoeneß. But Bayern do not understate their role. "FC Bayern can beat any opponents," a confident Kovac declared. If they win on Saturday, the club president would have another reason to smile.