Football

Bayern need 
to sharpen up

GOAL DROUGHT: Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (right), who has yet to score in a competitive game for the German side, failing to find a way past Man City goalkeeper Joe Hart (in yellow).

Bayern Munich's last-minute victory over Manchester City may have left fans pleased with a winning Champions League start.

However, the Group E opener at the Allianz Arena yesterday morning (Singapore time) highlighted the need to improve their finishing after missing a string of clear chances.

Bayern forward Thomas Mueller was one of the first to admit culpability.

He said: "It was a bit of a shame we didn't score earlier, but that was my fault.

"We played really well and didn't get our reward, but their goalkeeper had a good game."

Mueller's partner up front, Robert Lewandowski, brought in from Borussia Dortmund to boost their frontline, also had his share of missed opportunities.

The Poland international has yet to score in a competitive game for the Bavarian side, but Bayern coach Pep Guardiola chose to praise Manuel Pellegrini's defensive nous.

Said Guardiola: "The most difficult thing in football is to score a goal. I know Manuel Pellegrini very well and his defensive movement of the backline is almost perfect.

"My humble opinion is that there are six or seven teams who can win the Champions League. City are one of them."

INJURIES

To be sure, a string of injuries has contributed to Bayern still looking for last season's explosiveness that led them to the domestic league and Cup double.

Winger Franck Ribery is still not fully fit, playmaker Bastian Schweinsteiger is still injured and, while new transfers Xabi Alonso and Mehdi Benatia add confidence at the back, their front line is still far from peaking.

World Cup fatigue among many of the Bayern players has also played its role in their less-than-spectacular start as well as the absences of Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber through injuries.

"Not everything was super today but we fought until the end and we were then rewarded," said Boateng.

The late introduction of Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who had also been out injured for a few weeks, instantly added spark and pace down the wings and it was a move he started that eventually led to Boateng's winner.

It should be a different picture once Guardiola has a fullly fit squad to choose from and Lewandowski breaks his goal drought.

"What is very positive is that we carved out that many scoring chances," said Robben. "I think we are on the right track."

Meanwhile, Hart was left deflated after letting Boateng score the late winner.

Said the England goalkeeper: "Jerome's a good guy, someone I got on well with (when he was at City).

"The shot took a deflection and I think I'd have got it or it would have gone wide if it hadn't hit (Mario Goetze), but that's football." - Wire Services.

"My humble opinion is that there are six or seven teams who can win the Champions League. City are one of them."

— Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, after yesterday morning’s win