The clash between German giants Bayern Munich and Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade took place at the Allianz Arena in Munich last evening. To say the least, the game went as expected for the Bavarians as they clinched a 3-0 win against their weaker opponents.
Bayern did not necessarily exceed expectations. This was a match against a team that isn't expected to even get past the group stages; even drawing the game was out of the discussion. Bayern fans flocked the arena and were hoping for a very solid win. That's exactly what they got.
The match started with Bayern immediately taking the upper hand in possession of the ball and consistency of attack. Some credit will have to go to the Red Star defence for holding the Bavarians off until Kingsley Coman's diving header that opened the scoring in the 34th minute.
Ivan Perisic received the ball on the left flank and made progress towards the byline. Dribbling past his marker with a quick movement to free himself up, Perisic sent an inch-perfect cross to the far post where Coman was waiting to deliver for the Bavarians. It was a great diving header, one the 23-year-old will certainly be proud of.
Crveno Beli's defensive stance went up a notch. While there were moments when Bayern could have put another goal in - like a couple of crossbar moments - nothing seemed to enter for the German hosts until late in the game when a defensive howler paved the way for a Robert Lewandowski goal.
Lewandowski received the ball just outside the 18-yard-box and located Serge Gnabry on the right, but the ball was intercepted quickly. However, that interception led the ball into the 6-yard box where a defensive mixup between the onrushing keeper and his defender gave Lewandowski a poacher's opportunity to slide the ball into the left bottom corner of the net.
The final goal came in injury time from what looked like a well-practised set-piece. Thiago Alcantara lined up with teammates to take the freekick, only to deftly chip it ahead of a running but onside Thomas Muller. The Red Star defence was barely able to think of a reaction before Muller's effort went under the keeper's legs and into the corner of the post.
With this 3-0 win, Bayern Munich remain unbeaten in 16 Champions League group stage games on home soil.
We take a look at five talking points from this Group B match:
#5 Red Star Belgrade are not going to spring any surprises
While they may be Serbian giants, Red Star Belgrade haven't really delivered on the European stage. Undoubtedly, they fought well in the playoffs and certainly deserve their place in the Champions League group stage, but that is almost certainly where it ends for them.
In the last decade, they have struggled to even get past playoffs for Europa League, and their Champions League efforts have consistently been thwarted at the group stage. Notably, the only year they managed to get into the knockout rounds of a European competition throughout this decade was the 2017-18 season when they made the Round of 32 in the Europa League.
While Red Star did beat Liverpool last season in the Champions League, it can be safely tagged as a one-off surprise. This match showed the visitors just how well behind their opponents in Group B they are.