SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) - Bayern Munich secured a 2-1 win at Sevilla on Tuesday that puts them on the verge of the Champions League semi-finals but know they were fortunate to triumph at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan.
Sevilla were the better team in the first half and Bayern needed a Jesus Navas own goal to level after Pablo Sarabia’s opener, before Thiago’s header deflected in off Sergio Escudero to hand them the win after a laboured performance.
Sarabia missed another golden opportunity in the first half and Joaquin Correa might have had a penalty for a trip by Jerome Boateng in the first half but was instead booked.
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, 72, has won his past 12 Champions League games and could lead the Germans to the Bundesliga title at the weekend if they win at Augsburg.
Enjoying his third spell at the helm, Heynckes led the Bavarians to European glory in this competition in 2013, and said they must improve to lift the trophy again.
“We lost the ball too often and lacked structure in midfield, which allowed Sevilla to create chances,” he said after the first leg of the quarter-final.
“We improved in the second half and in the end deserved to win. Psychologically, it was very important to equalise quickly, even if it took a bit of luck. But if we want to win the Champions League, we need to improve.”
Bayern’s French winger Franck Ribery had a strong influence on the result with his two crosses resulting in the two goals for the five-time European champions.
The first was diverted by Navas into the bottom left corner of his own net five minutes after Sevilla opened the scoring in the 32nd minute, putting Bayern level against the run of play.
Then, with the Andalusians tiring rapidly, Ribery looped a ball to the back post where Thiago was waiting to head home.
“The first 10 minutes were good, but then we lost our organisation and didn’t play well together,” said Ribery. “The second half was much better.”
Forward Thomas Muller said Bayern’s first half performance was disappointing but that the Bundesliga leaders were better than their opponents, who are seventh in La Liga.
“We are the better team, even if we didn’t show it throughout,” he said. “We conceded too many chances by giving away possession too easily. We didn’t use the space in midfield and the tempo wasn’t high enough.
“Heynckes wasn’t happy at halftime, nor were we. Then we upped the tempo and things looked better. An away win is always a great result, but we want to win at home in Munich,” he added referring to next Wednesday’s return.
Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris