FC Bayern München secured a second straight 1-0 win in Group A, but profligate finishing and a lack of attacking ambition kept the German title-holders sweating until the end in the first UEFA Champions League game at the München Arena.
Argentinian anchorman Martin Demichelis scored the only goal, prodding high into the net on 32 minutes, but the scoreline fails accurately to convey the measure of dominance Bayern enjoyed. Roy Makaay, Michael Ballack and José Paolo Guerrero all failed to convert good chances to double the lead.
Guerrero partners Makaay
With Owen Hargreaves, Ali Karimi and Claudio Pizarro sidelined, Bayern coach Felix Magath had to shuffle his pack. Young Peruvian Guerrero partnered Makaay up front, while Roque Santa Cruz claimed a place among the substitutes despite being dogged by injury.
Club Brugge coach Jan Ceulemans also had injury concerns with Michael Klukowski, Günther Vanaudenaerde and Joos Valgaeren ruled out. Croatian forward Boško Balaban shouldered the bulk of the goalscoring burden, as a change from a 4-3-3 to a 3-4-3 formation forced on-loan striker Javier Portillo on to the bench.
Crowd lift Bayern
Bayern struggled to find any rhythm early on due to Club Brugge flooding the midfield, often with six players in the centre as the wingers tracked back diligently. Home defender Valérien Ismaël had the first opportunity, heading centimetres wide yet succeeding in increasing the volume in an already cacophonous München Arena.
Balaban could have shocked Magath's men moments later, though. The forward was played in by Ivan Leko's precise cross from the left and Ismaël's slip, but failed to put enough power on the shot and allowed Oliver Kahn to deny him with a smart save. At the other end, Ballack's free-kick had Club Brugge hearts in mouths, but bent just wide with goalkeeper Tomislav Butina a spectator.
Inspired by Zé Roberto on the left wing, the hosts increased the pressure, before Demichelis gave Bayern supporters genuine reason to raise the roof just after the half-hour. The Argentinian reacted quickest when Butina missed Zé Roberto's corner, flicking out his right boot to fire into the roof of the net from close range, despite being surrounded by defenders.
Ballack finds range
After the break, the Bundesliga leaders continued to attack and seemed eager to make the points safe. Ballack began to exert more influence, seeing more of the ball and bringing his colleagues into play, and shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box on 48 minutes.
Shortly afterwards, Mehmet Scholl replaced the injured Bixente Lizarazu, taking up a midfield position while Bastian Schweinsteiger slotted into the Frenchman's left-back role. The reorganisation may have caused some unusually slack Bayern defending, as Balaban went close again by firing just wide.
Scholl quickly made his presence felt, curling a peach of a free-kick towards the top-left corner from 25 metres, only to see Butina claw it brilliantly away. Yet the visitors continued to trouble Bayern with their counterattacking play, and Ballack and Willy Sagnol were booked trying to break up Club Brugge raids.
But the Belgian side never really looked like scoring, and Bayern successfully slowed the game in a pedestrian final ten minutes. They share top spot with next opponents Juventus FC on six points, while Club Brugge and Matchday 3 rivals SK Rapid Wien have yet to get off the mark.
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