Resolute Reds beat Besiktas

FC Bayern have advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals for the seventh time on the bounce, beating Besiktas 3-1 on the night and 8-1 on aggregate. Thiago opened the scoring after 17 minutes, Gökhan Gönül miscuing a clearance right after the interval, putting through his own goal. Vágner Love pulled one back before the hour mark, but Sandro Wagner settled it in the closing stages. It meant the Bavarians handed their coach a new record: Jupp Heynckes has won all of his last 11 matches in Europe’s premier club competition, more than any other coach.

The German record champions started with Sven Ulreich in goal and Rafinha, Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and David Alaba in a back four. Javi Martínez filled the holding role behind Thomas Müller, Arturo Vidal, Thiago and Franck Ribéry, with Lewandowski as an orthodox centre-forward.

Heynckes made two changes to the XI that beat Hamburg 6-0 on Saturday. Rafinha and Thiago took over from Joshua Kimmich and Arjen Robben.

Thiago opens

The noisy 41,903 capacity crowd at the Vodafone Park saw the visitors dominate proceedings from the off. Barely 90 seconds had been played when Vidal miscued a header. Bayern soon had another gilt-edged chance, when Besiktas keeper Tolga Zengin only parried a fine Alaba free-kick, Müller beating the rearguard to the ball but blasting the rebound over the bar. Bayern’s dominance paid off when Müller’s pinpoint cross found Thiago, who coolly netted from five yards.

But the home side had by no means gone absent without leave. Vidal soon made an excellent and crucial interception in the box when he blocked a Gökhan Gönül cross. Hummels glanced a header wide before Besiktas’ Ricardo Quaresma skied two efforts, Ulreich proving equal to a Jeremain Lens effort from 18 yards. Scorer Thiago had to be subbed off with a knock after the half-hour, James coming on.

Entertaining second half

Niklas Süle took over from Hummels at half-time. Bayern got off to a perfect start to the second half. Gönül put through his own goal following a fine Rafinha cross almost immerdiately after the restart. Alaba warmed Zengin’s gloves from 25 yards, but Besiktas upped the pressure now and pulled one back when Vágner Lover slotted home after Bayern gifted possession away in their own half.

The goal galvanised the home side, Mustafa Pektemek drawing a fine save from Ulreich. Heynckes played his final card, Sandro Wagner replacing Lewandowski up front as Bayern slowly but surely reasserted their dominance. James miscued from the edge of the box before sub Wagner added the final flourish, chesting an Alaba cross into the back of the net before match official Michael Oliver blew for full-time.

The Reds are back in action on Sunday, when they travel to face Leipzig in the Bundesliga. They will learn the identity of their next Champions League opponents on Friday.

Live match report for by Greg Salmen

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