FC Bayern München secured top spot in UEFA Champions League Group F with a comprehensive victory against FC BATE Borisov.
Mario Gomez, so prolific in the competition last season, gave the Bundesliga leaders a deserved half-time advantage. The visitors would have hoped to capitalise on Jérôme Boateng's 51st-minute red card, but further goals from Thomas Müller, Xherdan Shaqiri and substitute David Alaba, as well as BATE defender Denis Polyakov's dismissal for a second bookable offence, ensured Bayern cruised to a convincing three points even with Yegor Filipenko's late consolation.
Unsurprisingly it was the hosts who controlled possession early on, getting the first shot in when Toni Kroos's low effort was easily saved by Andrei Gorbunov. However, BATE's counterattacking model had already served them well in the reverse fixture and the tactic again produced chances with Vitali Rodionov almost breaking away and Artem Konstevoi seeing his angled strike held by Manuel Neuer.
Inviting Bayern onto them was always likely to be a dangerous ploy by the Borisov outfit, though, and the home team eventually found a way through in the 22nd minute. The lively Shaqiri, one of several players rotated into the side by coach Jupp Heynckes, beat his marker on the left before delivering a low cross for Gomez to slide in and mark his first start of this European campaign with a goal.
The Bayern players were queuing up to add to the tally with Kroos picking passes around the box and firing a couple of his own efforts goalwards, but the BATE bulwark held firm either side of the interval. For a moment it looked as though the freshly crowned Belarusian champions' luck would turn when Boateng was sent off for a lunge on Kontsevoi, yet ten-man Bayern netted again minutes later as Müller cushioned in Bastian Schweinsteiger's flick-on.
The term "role reversal" sprang to mind when Bayern got their third, Gomez crossing for Shaqiri, the shortest player on the pitch, to thud his header in. Substitute Alaba then slammed in his first ever UEFA Champions League goal and when BATE's Polyakov was shown a second yellow, it was clear it was to be Bayern's night – even after Filipenko finally beat Neuer late on.
Last season's finalists will avoid the other group winners in the draw for the last 16, while BATE's third-place finish means they enter the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.