Bayern Munich got their quest for a seventh European Cup off to the perfect start by beating Inter Milan 2-0 in Italy. The German outfit dominated from the first whistle and thoroughly deserved the three points, with Leroy Sane playing a starring role.
The visitors were on the front foot from the off and regularly tested Inter’s debutant Andre Onana, who made a string of fairly straightforward saves from Joshua Kimmich. The goalkeeper was stretched somewhat more when he made a sublime stop to deny Thomas Muller though, diving high to his left to tip a powerful drive over the bar.
It looked like only a matter of time before Bayern took the lead, and they finally did so on 25-minutes when Sane brilliantly brought down Kimmich’s long ball, rounded Onana and slid into the bottom corner. That advantage was nearly doubled before the break too, as Alphonso Davies saw his curling effort superbly tipped away, with Muller’s rebound charged down before Sane fired wide.
Inter, who were sloppy in the final third, had a big chance to level after half-time as Edin Dzeko saw a ricochet fall his way in the box, but he fired straight at Manuel Neuer from close range. That proved to be one of very few chances for the hosts, and they were made to pay for wasting it when Sane doubled the lead, rounding off a sublime bit of one touch football, as he and Mane exchanged a pair of one-twos before firing home via a deflection off Danilo D’Ambrosio.
From then on, it was a walk in the park for Bayern, who were even able to withdraw some of their stars, perhaps with one eye on Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with Stuttgart. Simeone Inzaghi on the other hand threw on numerous attacking options, but they barely mustered so much as a shot in the final 20-minutes, surrendering to defeat with barely a whimper.
TALKING POINT – CAN ANYBODY STOP BAYERN?
Bayern sauntered through the group stages of the Champions League with six successive victories last season, and, even with Barcelona and Viktoria Poznan still to come, it is not implausible that history could repeat itself this year.
This was a big test for the Germans, against a rejuvenated opponent who reached the round of 16 last year, but they came through with flying colours, defending comfortably against a strong attack that included the ever dangerous Lautaro Martinez and Eden Dzeko.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was at the other end of the field where the six time European Cup winners really excelled though. Sane’s goal, his 10th in the competition for Bayern, was majestic, while Mane was a constant menace. Even without Robert Lewandowski, who signed for Barcelona this summer, they should go deep.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich). It remains one of football’s great mysteries that Manchester City decided to sell Sane, because he is an absolute superstar of a Bayern Munich side who already have plenty of stand-out forwards.
The German international has now scored 10 Champions League goals for FCB, and the way he took the latest strike was majestic, keeping his cool when perfectly bringing down a long ball, first with his foot, then his chest, before finishing.
But this particular display was about more than just this strike. He clearly played a huge part in the second, exchanging those passes with Mane before seeing D’Ambrosio bundle home his shot, while he nearly grabbed an assist when feeding Serge Gnabry. Put simply, when Sane was in full flow, Inter could not get close to him.
INTER MILAN: Onana 8; D’Ambrosio 6, Skriniar 6, Bastoni 6, Dumfries 7, Mkhitaryan 5, Brozovic 6, Calhanoglu 5, Gosens 5; Dzeko 6, Martinez 6. Subs: Darmian 6, de Vrij 6, Correa 5, Dimarco n/a, Gagliardini n/a Subs: Cordaz, Handanovic, Acerbi, Bellanova, Asllani, Barella
BAYERN MUNICH: Neuer 6; Pavard 7, de Ligt 6, Hernandez 6, Davies 8; Coman 7, Kimmich 7, Sabitzer 8, Sane 9; Mane 8, Muller 8. Subs: Goretzka 6, Upamecano n/a, Gnabry n/a, Musiala n/a, Stanisic n/a Subs: Schenk, Ulreich, Mazraoui, Gravenberch, Choupo-Moting, Tel
23’ WHAT A SAVE! Muller picks up possession from Mane’s lay off and unleashes a terrific shot towards the top corner, only for Onana to acrobatically tip over the bar
25’ GOAL! INTER 0-1 BAYERN (Leroy Sane). Oooooh what a goal that is! Sane’s first touch is simply sublime as he brings down a ball over the top, takes himself around the ‘keeper and then squeezes into the bottom corner. It’s been coming, and it’s well deserved
37’ BIG LET OFF FOR INTER! Penalty area pinball for Bayern. Alphonso Davies sees a shot superbly saved by Onana, Muller’s rebound is blocked and then Sane fires off target with the third effort. That was a huge chance to double the lead
66’ GOAL! INTER 0-2 BAYERN (D’Ambrosio own goal). Stunning! Simply stunning! If you thought the first goal was good, wait until you see this. Sublime one-touch football from Mane and Sane, who twice exchange the ball before the latter sees his shot deflect in off D’Ambrosio.
84’ CORREA WASTES A GOLDEN INTER CHANCE. The sub has to do better. A poor pass is intercepted by Correa, who puts a shot wide from inside the area, when one-on-one. Poor, poor finish