Bayern leaves it late to beat Roma
Late goals by Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose gave Bayern Munich a 2-0 win over AS Roma Wednesday to start their Champions League campaign.
Last season's runners-up were clearly missing the creative impulses of injured Arjen Robben and suspended Franck Ribery in a lackluster first half. But Bayern attacked continuously after the break before finally breaking through in the 79th minute with Mueller's goal. Klose then put the game beyond doubt with his tally in the 83rd.
"That is our game. The fans need to realize that it takes time for us to make the opponents tired," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said. "It's not always fantastic, just passing the ball around. But that's how you beat a defensive team."
The game started with very few highlights as Bayern could not find its way through Roma's defense. The Italians hardly ventured forward offensively in the first 40 minutes but had the first serious chance of the game five minutes from the break. Aleandro Rosi's cross into the middle found Marco Boriello, whose deflection attempt forced a strong save by Bayern keeper Hans Joerg Butt.
"We want to offer our fans attractive football," Van Gaal said. "And it's more difficult to attack than defend. You need to be creative. And then we play a game like that without Robben and Ribery and I can only say 'great."'
Ribery was serving the last game of his three-match suspension for getting sent off in last season's semifinal.
Bayern fans sent their team into the locker room with whistles of dissatisfaction and the hosts came out more aggressive in the second half.
Ivica Olic's shot was wide at the 53-minute mark before Roma keeper Julio Sergio made a fine save against Toni Kroos two minutes later and stopped Mueller in the 56th.
Looking for the final touch up front, Bayern coach Louis van Gaal brought on forwards Klose and Mario Gomez with 22 minutes remaining. And the Germans remained in control though Kroos' shot went wide right in the 70th minute and Klose struck wide left four minutes later.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was the next Bayern player to narrowly miss in the 76th with a hard blast before Klose's header hit the left post with 12 minutes to play.
Mueller finally broke through in the 79th minute with a superb volley into the far left corner after a headed pass from Daniel van Buyten for his fourth Champions League goal.
"In the first half it was really difficult for us because they stood really defensive," Mueller said. "We moved the ball around a lot and made them tired that way. We just had to remain patient."
Munich nearly gave up a counter attack goal just two minutes later but Butt fended away Borriello's one-on-one attempt.
And Klose then doubled Bayern's lead in the 83rd minute, poking home a free kick by Holger Badstuber with a volley in front of Sergio.
Bayern's second match in Group E is at Basel on Sept. 28 while Roma hosts Romanian club Cluj.