Bayern München boosted their Group E hopes on matchday three and another win against AEK Athens would be most welcome.
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Victory in Greece has put Bayern München in a strong position in Group E as they welcome AEK Athens on matchday four looking for their first home victory of this season's UEFA Champions League.
• Bayern stretched their unbeaten run against Greek clubs to ten games with a 2-0 success at AEK on 23 October thanks to two goals in three second-half minutes from Javi Martínez and Robert Lewandowski.
• That left the German champions on seven points, joint top of the section with Ajax – while AEK have lost all three matches. Bayern will therefore be through with a win if Benfica lose at Ajax in the section's other matchday four contest; AEK will be unable to finish in the top two if they lose, or if they draw and Ajax avoid defeat.
• Having opened Group E with a 2-0 win at Benfica, Bayern were held to a 1-1 draw by Ajax in their first home game.
• The Ajax draw made it three European home games without a win for Bayern. They won their first four in 2017/18, before drawing with Sevilla in the quarter-final second leg and losing to Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg.
• Champions of Germany for a record 28th time last season – with a landmark sixth successive Bundesliga title – Bayern are in the group stage for the 22nd time.
• The Munich club have reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals or better in each of the last seven seasons. They last failed to progress from the initial group section in 2002/03, although they missed out altogether on the UEFA Champions League in 2007/08.
• For the second year in a row Bayern's campaign was ended by Real Madrid in 2017/18, via a 4-3 aggregate semi-final defeat.
• Bayern have never lost to a Greek club, home or away (W8 D2), and have won four of out five at home – most recently a 4-0 success against Olympiacos in the 2015/16 group stage in which Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Kingsley Coman all scored. Bayern have scored 18 goals without reply in those five matches.
• The German side have kept clean sheets in their last seven matches with Greek opponents, scoring 15 goals across the four most recent contests.
• Beaten 3-0 at Ajax in their first fixture, AEK went down 3-2 at home to Benfica on matchday two. The home defeat by Bayern made it three successive European losses – the Greek side have not lost four in a row in Europe since autumn 2011.
• AEK were 14 European games unbeaten (W4 D10), home and away, before the loss at Ajax. That result also ended a seven-match undefeated run away from home (W2 D5).
• AEK are in the group stage for the fifth time – and the first since 2006/07.
• All four of the Athens club's previous UEFA Champions League group campaigns have ended at that stage.
• Greek champions for the 12th time in 2017/18 – their first championship success since 1994 – AEK entered this season's UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round, where they defeated Celtic 3-2 on aggregate (1-1 away, 2-1 home) to reach the play-offs. There they overcame Hungarian club Vidi 3-2 over two games (2-1 away, 1-1 home).
• The home win against Celtic ended AEK's run of eight successive draws in European competition.
• Last season AEK lost to CSKA Moskva in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round and moved into the UEFA Europa League, where they were eliminated by Dynamo Kyiv in the round of 32 despite avoiding defeat in all ten of their matches in the competition (W2 D8).
• AEK have won only two of their ten European fixtures against German clubs (D1 L7), both at home. They lost their first three games in Germany although the most recent, at Bayer Leverkusen in the 2000/01 UEFA Cup third round, ended in a remarkable 4-4 draw.
Links and trivia
• Has played in Germany:
Yannis Gianniotas (Fortuna Düsseldorf 2013/14)
• Have played together:
Thiago Alcántara & Dmytro Chygrynskiy (Barcelona 2009/10)
• Robert Lewandowski's next appearance in UEFA club competition will be his 100th.
• James Rodríguez is one game away from 50 in the UEFA Champions League, group stage to final.
• Bayern had won four games in a row, all away from home, before being held 1-1 in Munich by Freiburg on Saturday to slip four points behind Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund.
• Before that sequence of victories Bayern had been four competitive matches without a win – their worst run since April 2017.
• The Munich club have not won in four home matches (D3 L1), their longest run without a success in front of their own fans since four straight draws in November/December 2001.
• The 3-0 home defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 6 October was Bayern's biggest reverse since a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain on matchday two of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League.
• Bayern won 2-1 at fourth division Rödinghausen in the German Cup second round on 30 October, Sandro Wagner scoring his first goal of the season. Thomas Müller was on target with a penalty, Renato Sanches missed one.
• Three days earlier Thiago Alcántara had sealed Bayern's 2-1 Bundesliga success at Mainz with his first goal of the season.
• Lewandowski has scored eleven goals in 14 appearances for Bayern this season.
• Mats Hummels (muscular problems), Jérôme Boateng, James Rodríguez (both illness) and Arjen Robben (back) all missed the Rödinghausen game; the last three returned against Freiburg with Hummels an unused substitute.
• Thiago was substituted at Rödinghausen with an ankle injury and is expected to be out for several weeks.
• Corentin Tolisso, part of the victorious France squad at this summer's FIFA World Cup, suffered torn cruciate ligaments in his right knee in the 3-1 win against Bayer Leverkusen on 15 September and will be absent for several months.
• Kingsley Coman suffered an ankle injury that required surgery in a 3-1 win against Hoffenheim on 24 August, the first day of the Bundesliga season.
• Niko Kovač claimed silverware in his first competitive game as Bayern coach with a 5-0 defeat of his former club Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Super Cup on 12 August – the third year in a row the Munich club have won the competition following three successive defeats.
• AEK's 25-match unbeaten run (W20 D5) in the Greek Superleague was ended by a 2-0 loss at PAOK on 23 September – their previous defeat was a 1-0 home reverse against Atromitos on 23 October 2017. They have picked up three wins and two draws since, sharing a goalless stalemate with Panathinaikos on Saturday.
• AEK have kept three successive clean sheets in all competitions and four in their last five games, and have lost only one of their last seven matches (W4 D2) – the matchday three defeat by Bayern.
• The Athens club made it two wins in as many games in the Greek Cup group stage with a 4-0 success at Apollon Larissa on 31 October.
• Lucas Boyé marked his first AEK start with the opening goal in a 4-0 victory against Aris on 28 October and also provided the assist to Marko Livaja for the fourth goal.
• The victory against Aris was Marinos Ouzounidis's 100th Super League win as a coach.
• Tasos Bakasetas suffered a hip injury in training on 26 October.
• Hélder Lopes underwent surgery after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee against OFI Crete on 29 September. He is expected back to action in spring 2019.
• Erik Morán sustained a left ankle strain during the league encounter against Apollon Smyrni on 20 October, returning to training ten days later.