Bayern Munich kicked off their 2019/20 Champions League campaign by hosting Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday. The Bavarians are a part of Group B, which also has Tottenham Hotspur and Olympiacos, so the Serbian side isn't expected to qualify for the knockout stages. However, Red Star came into the game on the back of a stellar run of 6 consecutive, which meant that Niko Kovac had to be wary of his opponents.
After an eventful summer that saw Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic arrive at the club, the Bavarians have endured a less than impressive start to the season. However, they are still unbeaten in the league, winning 2 and drawing 2 of their 4 games in the Bundesliga this season and are currently 4th in the table.
The game against Red Star Belgrade represented a different challenge for Bayern. Kovac knew that he could not take any chances against the Serbian side and named a strong team for the tie.
Bayern Munich Starting XI: Manuel Neuer; Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, Benjamin Pavard, Lucas Hernandez; Corentin Tolisso, Thiago Alcantara, Philippe Coutinho; Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski, Ivan Perisic.
The home side started very well as expected and threatened to score in the opening stages. The deadlock was finally broken in the 34th minute by Kingsley Coman. The game went into the break with Bayern leading 1-0. In the second half, Bayern continued their onslaught on the visitors' defence and were finally rewarded in the 80th minute when Robert Lewandowski doubled the score. Thomas Muller came off the bench and made it 3-0 in the 91st minute and rounded up a successful night for Niko Kovac's men.
Here, we look at the 3 reasons why Bayern Munich won the game.
#3 Resolute defending
The performance of the Bayern Munich backline has been questionable this season, as they managed just 1 clean sheet from 6 games in all competitions before the Champions League tie. However, against Red Star, the Bavarians stood strong and were rock solid at the back. The away side did have a few chances, but could not muster a single shot on target.
The Bundesliga side played a high line at the back but recovered the ball well whenever the Serbian side tried to counter. Red Star did register 7 shots on the night, but could not hit the target. As a result, Bayern Munich came away with a precious clean sheet in their first game of the Champions League.