In the fourth match in the UEFA Champions League group stage, the group C leaders Bayern Munich were hosted by bottom side Viktoria Plzen. Coming into the match, things were looking very bright for Bayern as the last match against Plzen ended in 5-0 win for the German giants. The return fixture also had the same outcome as Die Roten clinched qualification for the round of 16 with a 4-2 win in Plzen.
In a quick start, Bayern opened the game with a golden opportunity in just the second minute. Leroy Sane found space up the right side of the pitch, firing a shot that narrowly missed wide. Even though the first shot didn’t find its target, it wasn’t long after that Bayern scored their first goal.
In the 10th minute, a beautiful passage of play between Leon Goretzka and Sadio Mane led to the opening goal. Mane, darting into the middle of the pitch, played the ball off to Goretzka who was waiting at the edge of the box. Goretzka quickly played the ball back to Mane as he charged the goal, ending the run with a cool, calm finish into the bottom left corner of the net.
The quick start continued for Die Roten as they were able to net two goals in just four minutes of each other. In the 14th minute, Kingsley Coman played a low-lying cross into the center of the box to find Thomas Muller with acres and acres of space to himself. All it took was a slight tap-in from Muller to double Rekordmeister’s lead on the night.
Goretzka was the next player to put himself on the score sheet after finishing off a bobbling ball in the 24th. A Muller cross was nudged onward into the box by Sane, and with no Plzen defender insight, Goretzka had time and space to slot the ball past the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Plzen’s only promising opportunity of the half came from a defensive mistake for Bayern. Two poor passes from goalkeeper Sven Ulreich and center-back Dayot Upamecano allowed left the German shot-stopper stranded with two Plzen attackers. Keeping his body wide, Ulreich blocked to back-to-back shot, what should have been an opening goal for the hosts.
The first half ended with a second Goretzka goal, bagging his brace in the 35th minute. A clean through-ball from Sane split the Plzen defense through the middle, finding Goretzka streaking into the box. From there, all took was a calm finish to make it 4-0 for the Bavarians.
The match certainly seemed to slow down as the second half played on. No real chances were created through nearly the first 20 minutes; however, Plzen was the first to strike. In the 62nd minute, after the hosts forced an excellent save from Ulreich, Plzen midfielder Adam Vlkanova hammered in a half-volley from outside the box to put his side on the score sheet.
The flourishing second half continued for Plzen as they managed to score second goal in the 75th minute. A run from substitute Jan Kliment caught the Bayern defense lacking as they were too slow to react, leaving Kliment open for a perfect opportunity to bring Plzen’s total to two goals.
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As the game drew to an end, intensity for both sides simmered. In a rather uneventful final 15 minutes, Bayern saw out the game to make it four consecutive wins in the Champions League this season. The 3-3 draw at Camp Nou between Inter Milan and Barcelona meant Die Roten had booked a place in the round of 16 from a tricky group on matchday four.