Champions League

Bayern edge out AEK to move top of group

2018-10-23 22:17
Robert Lewandowski (Getty Images)

Athens - Quick-fire goals by Javi Martinez and Robert Lewandowski on Tuesday moved Bayern Munich top of their Champions League group with a 2-0 win at AEK Athens, as they made it back-to-back victories after a difficult start to the season.

Dogged defending by the reigning Greek champions left Bayern facing a frustrating draw until Martinez finally broke through with an hour gone at AEK, who travel to the Allianz Arena in a fortnight's time.

"It was very difficult, the pitch was not good, we played well in the first half, but the final pass was missing," said Arjen Robben.

"We started using our chances and once Javi got the first goal, you could feel the relief.

"This was an important win for us."

The result leaves Bayern top of Group E and puts pressure on nearest rivals Ajax, who earned a 1-1 draw in Munich three weeks ago, to beat Benfica in Amsterdam later on Tuesday and join the Germans on seven points, while AEK remain bottom after three straight defeats.

Bayern have never lost a European game in Greece, but despite breaking a four-match winless streak with a 3-1 victory at Wolfsburg on Saturday in the Bundesliga, the German champions laboured until Martinez scored with an athletic half-volley.

The hosts' best chance of the match came on 20 minutes when Argentinian striker Ezequiel Ponce held off Bayern defender Mats Hummels, but fired wide.

At the other end, Thiago Alcantara's pass rolled agonisingly away from Bayern striker Lewandowski.

Just as it was looking like AEK might earn their first point in the group stage, Bayern turned the game.

Hummels picked out Robben, whose effort was blocked, but the ball flew towards Martinez, who slammed his shot home.

Any frustrations in the Bayern ranks disappeared and just two minutes later they struck again.

Serge Gnabry, a constant threat on the right wing, played in Rafinha inside the box with a clever backheel, and the Brazilian's low cross found Lewandowski unmarked to tap home and delight the travelling fans.

It was Lewandowski's third goal in two games after also netting twice at Wolfsburg.

Thiago tried an acrobatic volley of his own with 15 minutes left which flew wide as Bayern kept on the pressure to safeguard the three points.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, Stadion Luzhniki 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Galatasaray v Porto, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 19:55
Schalke 04 v Lokomotiv Moskva, Veltins-Arena 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur, Camp Nou 22:00
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid, Jan Breydelstadion 22:00
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund, Stade Louis II 22:00
Internazionale v PSV, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Crvena Zvezda v PSG, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Viktoria Plzen v Roma, Doosan Arena 19:55
Real Madrid v CSKA Moskva, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 19:55
Valencia v Manchester United, Estadio de Mestalla 22:00
Benfica v AEK Athens, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Hoffenheim, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Ajax v Bayern Munchen, Johan Cruijff ArenA 22:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Olympique Lyonnais, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 22:00
Young Boys v Juventus, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 22:00
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