Bayern taking baby steps

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski dedicating his winner to his pregnant wife and unborn child during the Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski dedicating his winner to his pregnant wife and unborn child during the Champions League match against Atletico Madrid. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MUNICH • Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti has said that the 1-0 victory that ended Atletico Madrid's perfect record in the Champions League group stage is a boost for his side's confidence.

A Robert Lewandowski free kick sealed Bayern's win on Tuesday but the Spanish club go into the draw for the knockout phase as Group D winners, with the Germans in second place.

"The result had little worth in terms of the table, but it meant a lot for our self-confidence," said Ancelotti. "We have to keep improving, and we'll do that step by step."

Having been knocked out in the semi-finals by Atletico last season, Bayern avenged their 1-0 defeat in Madrid in September and extended their record streak in the Champions League to 15 wins at home.

Atletico, who were close to full strength, suffered their first defeat in the group stage this season, having been the only team to win all of their previous five games. It denied them a club record of a perfect six.

"We had a couple of big chances at the start, but then Bayern took control," said Atletico coach Diego Simeone. "They controlled the ball and dominated the first half. In the second period, we looked better and it was more even and we come away with a positive feeling from our final 15 minutes."

The hosts starved Atletico of the ball, with Bayern enjoying just under 75 per cent of possession.

"It wasn't an easy game as Atletico defended very well. We played a good game and deserved to win," added Ancelotti.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2016, with the headline 'Bayern taking baby steps'. Print Edition | Subscribe