Bayern Munich eased into the Champions League’s last 16 after a second-half double by top scorer Robert Lewandowski gave them a 2-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb in their Group F match on Wednesday.
Bayern, who had already secured top spot in the group, finished with 15 points from six games, six ahead of Arsenal, who booked their berth with a 3-0 win at Olympiakos Piraeus.
After a drab first half, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola brought on Thomas Mueller into his makeshift side at the interval and Germany’s 2014 World Cup winner made a telling impact despite missing a 90th-minute penalty.
Mueller’s perfect cross allowed Lewandowski to break the deadlock with a diving header on the hour and the Poland striker added the second with a dinked finish three minutes later.
Five times European champions Bayern dominated from the start but Dinamo missed the best two chances in the first half on a chilly night in Zagreb.
Bayern’s Sven Ulreich denied El Arabi Hilal Soudani with a superb save before the Algeria striker headed wide after the German side’s reserve keeper misjudged an inviting cross by Dinamo’s 18-year old midfielder Ante Coric.
The lively Coric also tested Ulreich early on, before Lewandowski’s scuffed shot from a good position was easily cleared by the home team’s defenders at the other end.
Ulreich then kept out a stinging shot by Junior Fernandes before Lewandowski opened the scoring thanks to good work by Mueller, who replaced the ineffective Franck Ribery.
The irrepressible Lewandowski showed his class when he made it 2-0 with an exquisite finish after racing clear of a defender and leaving Dinamo keeper Eduardo clutching at thin air, taking his Champions League tally this season to seven goals from six games.
Josip Pivaric hit the woodwork as Dinamo threw men forward and left gaping holes at the back, with Lewandowski missing two more chances to extend Bayern’s lead.
Mueller then forced Eduardo to save at full stretch with a ferocious volley before hitting the post with a penalty after Dinamo’s keeper fouled second-half substitute Arturo Vidal.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate