Dominant Bayern ease to 3-0 win over Red Star

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) - Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski scored a landmark 200th goal for the club as they kicked off their Champions League campaign by easing to a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday in a one-sided Group B encounter.

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group B - Bayern Munich v Crvena Zvezda - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - September 18, 2019 Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski in action with Crvena Zvezda's Nemanja Milunovic REUTERS/Michael Dalder

The Bavarians were in complete control and Kingsley Coman put them ahead with a diving header in the 34th minute from a fine Ivan Perisic cross.

Late goals from Lewandowski, to bring up his double century in all competitions, and Thomas Mueller, who came on as a substitute for a club-record 106th Champions League appearance, completed their trouble-free evening after they squandered several scoring opportunities.

Bayern, who stretched their unbeaten Champions League group-stage home run to 16 matches, carved out chance after chance and hit the woodwork three times while the Serbs, who battled through qualifying, were largely toothless up front.

“You have to win the first game of the competition, that’s important,” said Bayern coach Niko Kovac, whose team have won their last 16 opening group matches in a row.

“Yes, we could have scored more, but we should be happy with three goals in the end. I think the team was very focused. Maybe we missed the last touch a bit.”

Brazilian Philippe Coutinho had the hosts’ first good chance in the 21st minute, as Bayern dominated possession from the start but had to remain patient against a packed Serbian defence.

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They eventually broke the deadlock through Coman’s diving header.

The Serbs had no answer to Bayern’s firepower, with the Germans mustering 16 shots on goal in the first half alone.

They instead defended and waited for the rare opportunity to launch a quick counter attack in the hope of catching Bayern off guard.

It was the same story after the break with Corentin Tolisso hitting the post in the 53rd.

Bayern should have scored shortly after when Perisic chipped the ball over the Red Star keeper, but it bounced on the bar and Lewandowski’s half volley on the rebound flew over the empty goal.

Yet the Poland striker got onto the scoresheet in the 80th, sliding in to beat his Red Star markers, before Mueller got his first of the season in stoppage time.

Thiago Alcantara had earlier also hit the woodwork with a deflected cross.

“It goes without saying that my team had quite a few uncompleted passes and these were punished by our opponents,” said Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic.

“Bayern and Tottenham are the favourites in the group, and we saw why tonight. We are aware that we played against a possible winner of the Champions League.”

In the group’s other game, Olympiakos Piraeus came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in Athens.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Toby Davis