Bayern beat Beşiktaş 5-0, but Jupp Heynckes and Thomas Müller could see the flaws behind the scoreline.
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"The key to our success was the red card and the goal just before the break," said coach Jupp Heynckes after his "nervous" Bayern side beat Beşiktaş 5-0 to all but book their UEFA Champions League quarter-final spot.
Domagoj Vida's 16th-minute dismissal did not provoke an immediate collapse from the round of 16 debutants, and Heynckes was less than thrilled with his team until Thomas Müller put them ahead on 43 minutes. "In the first half we lacked tempo, our passing wasn't precise enough and it allowed Beşiktaş to play," he said, adding that Bayern "were a different team in the second half".
"We didn't start as well as we would have liked – we were a bit too sluggish and not aggressive enough in attack," Müller, who ended up with two goals and an assist, told UEFA.com. "But the game lasts 90 minutes and we made the necessary adjustments by playing more direct. We have a comfortable lead."
Not comfortable enough for Heynckes, however. "We will still prepare as normal for the return leg," the 72-year-old explained. "You cannot take any risks in the UEFA Champions League."
Against a Beşiktaş side unbeaten in this season's competition, the task Bayern faced last night was underestimated among some fans, who saw a 20th win in 21 UEFA Champions League home games as a foregone conclusion. Yet the Black Eagles finished up being used for round of 16 shooting practice in Munich – just as Arsenal (5-1 in 2017), Juventus (4-2, 2016) and Shakhtar (7-0, 2015) had been – though the circumstances of the victory have not blinded Bayern to their frailties or the challenges ahead.
Fully 19 points clear of second-ranked Dortmund as they cruise towards a sixth straight Bundesliga title, Bayern still have plenty to prove in the UEFA Champions League. That they scored five against knockout-stage debutants in the last 16 will be forgotten quickly if their European trail ends once more in the quarter-finals or semi-finals – as it has done every season since their 2013 triumph, with all those losses to Spanish clubs.
Liga sides are not the only danger this term, Heynckes noting that "all five English teams are very strong" and among the favourites "alongside Real, Barcelona and Paris". However, strong competition has not killed off treble talk in Munich, with Bayern now on a 14-match winning streak on all fronts. Heynckes insisted he is "not thinking about the treble", but Müller – like Bayern's fans – is not ruling it out, saying: "Anything is possible."