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Villarreal bow to Bayern excellence

Villarreal CF 0-2 FC Bayern München
The four-time champions ended their hosts' run of nine straight home European victories thanks to a goal in each half from Toni Kroos and Rafinha.

Villarreal bow to Bayern excellence
Villarreal bow to Bayern excellence ©UEFA.com

A powerful display of technically excellent and entertaining football gave FC Bayern München victory at Villarreal CF and the early advantage in UEFA Champions League Group A.

The Spanish side had won their previous nine European home games – and had never lost against German opposition at El Madrigal – but struggled to get a foothold in a contest Bayern controlled. Goals in either half from Toni Kroos and substitute Rafinha secured the points for the visitors, and with matches against SSC Napoli and Manchester City FC to come there is plenty of hard work ahead for Juan Carlos Garrido's Villarreal.

The clinical nature of Bayern's early breakthrough set the tone for a first half they dominated. From the outset there was energy, conviction and muscle about Jupp Heynckes' men, who took the lead in the seventh minute. Franck Ribéry drew in Marcos Senna and Marió Gaspar on Bayern's left and then cut back a clever pass to Kroos on the edge of the area for a right-footed shot that flashed past Diego López and into the far corner.

Such was Bayern's superiority that the home side were frequently outnumbered both with and without the ball, Bastian Schweinsteiger adding to the menace with a fierce low shot which López turned away. Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar tried valiantly to take the game towards Manuel Neuer's goal, the former collecting Bruno Soriano's lobbed pass and stinging the goalkeeper's palms.

Unaffected, Bayern constructed a lovely passing movement which started under pressure in their own box and ended with only miscommunication preventing Ribéry from setting up a second goal for Mario Gomez. For all that, however, the away side's lead came close to disappearing before half-time, Neuer fortuitously sitting on the ball to deny Gaspar when unsighted.

Gomez was replaced by Nils Petersen at the break and within two minutes the substitute twice had chances to make it two, López coming to Villarreal's rescue on each occasion. Petersen swiftly picked up the wavelength of Kroos and Ribéry, the trio producing some exceptionally quick, eye-catching interchanges.

López produced the save of the match to stop Petersen's fierce bending shot nestling into the bottom corner but he was helpless when the 22-year-old cut the ball across the Villarreal goal, Kroos hitting the right-hand post at full stretch. Bayern finally made the points safe 14 minutes from time, Rafinha breaking on the left and thumping a shot under López at the near post to wrap up a well-deserved win.

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