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Bayern breeze past Villarreal into knockout stages

FC Bayern München 3-1 Villarreal CF
Franck Ribéry scored twice as the hosts secured top spot in Group A with a game to spare and left the Spanish visitors still without a point.

Bayern breeze past Villarreal into knockout stages
Bayern breeze past Villarreal into knockout stages ©UEFA.com

FC Bayern München confirmed their place in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 with a 3-1 victory against already-eliminated Villarreal CF.

Franck Ribéry's early opener set the tone for a dominant display from the Bundesliga leaders, who doubled their tally through Mario Gomez midway through the first half. Jonathan De Guzmán pulled one back for the visitors shortly after the restart, but Ribéry's second snuffed out any suggestions of a comeback as Bayern secured top spot in Group A.

Eager to bounce back after their nine-match winning run at home was brought to an end by title rivals Borussia Dortmund at the weekend, Bayern could not have wished for a better start. Barely three minutes had elapsed when Mateo Musacchio conceded possession to a grateful Toni Kroos, who threaded through for Ribéry to chip nonchalantly over Diego López.

Arjen Robben, making his first start in this season's group stage, could twice have doubled his side's tally soon after as the visitors, playing for their European survival, struggled to respond. Stroking the ball around with growing confidence, Jupp Heynckes' side increased their advantage on 23 minutes, Gomez controlling and stabbing in after Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's long-range effort had rebounded off the post.

Villarreal stirred as Borja Valero and Hernán Peréz each tested Manuel Neuer with shots from distance before the interval. De Guzmán then did pull one back for the away side with a smart volleyed finish from Joan Oriol's cross five minutes into the second half, yet even that had little impact on the balance as Bayern continued to prowl the borders of their opponents' area.

Rafinha provided two good deliveries from the right for Ribéry, but the Frenchman was unable to convert either by respective way of an audacious scissor-kick and a free header. However, the competition's most-fouled player eventually registered his second of the night on 69 minutes when Kroos intercepted a stray pass. The German international fed Ribéry, who had time to round Diego López and slot into the unguarded net.

Neuer got down well to deny Marco Ruben late on, but Juan Carlos Garrido's charges could not apply enough pressure to salvage something from the game. SSC Napoli's victory over Manchester City FC in the group's other game ensures Bayern are now unassailable at the section summit, while Villarreal's fifth consecutive defeat means they can no longer qualify for the UEFA Europa League.

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