Maccabi Haifa 0 Bayern Munich 3
Thomas Muller made it four goals in four days as his double helped Bayern Munich open their Champions League campaign with an away win tonight.
Muller, who only turned 20 on Sunday, netted twice in the final five minutes to end Maccabi Haifa’s hopes of a comeback in the Group A clash in Israel.
The Germany Under-21 international was handed a start as part of a three-pronged attack alongside Ivica Olic and Arjen Robben after scoring twice from the bench in the 5-1 rout of Borussia Dortmund at the weekend.
And he certainly justified his inclusion ahead of Mario Gomez as his late brace made the game safe for Bayern just as Maccabi were threatening to cancel out Daniel van Buyten’s 64th-minute opener.
Franck Ribery, who today indicated he may be willing to sign a new contract with Bayern after a summer of speculation linked him with a move to Real Madrid, was involved early on, shooting wide of the left post in the sixth minute
Danijel Pranjic saw his cross tipped round the post by Nir Davidovitch before the Maccabi goalkeeper saved Robben’s right-footed effort from the right side of the area as Bayern threatened a goal.
There was a rare moment of promise for Maccabi in the 19th minute when Yaniv Katan’s corner picked out Mohammed Gadir, but he sent his header over the top.
Olic might have given Bayern the lead in the 26th minute after Philipp Lahm’s cross found him on the edge of the six-yard box, but the Croatian sent his effort over.
Olic did find the net with a header two minutes later, only to be given offside.
It was the home side who came out stronger at the start of the second half, though, and Hans Jorg Butt in the Bayern goal had to be alert to save twice in quick succession.
First, in the 51st minute, a mistake from Lahm presented possession to Katan, whose shot from around 20 yards was kept out by Butt.
Two minutes later Katan beat van Buyten in the area on the left, but the veteran stopper was again equal to his effort.
His opposite number Davidovitch pulled off an even better stop shortly after to tip Robben’s free-kick from the right round the post.
Van Gaal brought off Ribery, sending on Gomez in his place, just after the hour mark and the visitors went ahead a minute later.
Maccabi failed to deal properly with Anatoliy Tymoschuk’s high cross and Van Buyten slammed a shot into the right corner from 13 yards.
Olic almost made it two with 20 minutes remaining but Eyal Golsa cleared his header off the line, while at the other end Dekel Keinan sent a header of his over narrowly over the bar.
And Bayern had Butt to thank for keeping them in front with a stunning save in the 76th minute.
The 35-year-old showed fantastic reflexes to tip substitute Ali Ottman’s effort from inside the area round the post.
And he was on his toes again in the 83rd minute to catch Vladimir Dvalishvili’s header from Katan’s cross.
But the final five minutes belonged to Muller as he settled the contest with two quickfire efforts.
First he fired home after Andreas Ottl’s pass into the area and then, in the 88th minute, ran on to Gomez’s right-wing cross to the near post and finished into the corner.