Swiss Roll Over

Schweini scored the opener. Photo FC Bayern MunichAllianz Arena, Munich - FC Bayern beat a woefully ineffective FC Zurich side 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League playoffs on Wednesday night.

The prestigious 2012 Champions League Final is to be staged in Munich. Bayern went into the tie under pressure not to miss out on qualification to its own party.

The Bavarians, finalists in 2010, went ahead through Bastian Schweinsteiger's eighth-minute header from Arjen Robben's cross. The floodgates should then have opened but FCB failed to press home their advantage and were booed off at half-time despite their comfortable 1-0 lead.

A half-time dressing down by Coach Jupp Heynckes seemed to do the trick. A rejuvenated home side emerged for the second half determined to add to their lead against a Swiss side totally devoid of attacking intent.  Zurich only had three shots on goal the entire match.

Robben, playing despite back pain, doubled their advantage in the 72nd minute with a trademark goal. The 'Flying Dutchman' planted a marvellous curling shot into the top left hand corner to put Heynckes' men in total command of the tie.

Mario Gomez, who has scored 12 goals in 25 previous Champions League matches, missed a host of chances and looked to be short of confidence at this early stage of the season.

Thomas Müller, dropped to the bench for the fit-again Robben, replaced Toni Kroos just before the hour mark and breathed new life into the front-line in support of the misfiring Gomez.

Frank Ribéry hit a free-kick against the post that left Zurich goalkeeper Johnny Leoni stranded. Both Philipp Lahm and Ribéry were both later denied by a fine double reflex save from Leoni.

The visitors had ex-1860 Munich defender Mathieu Beda sent off in the 90th minute, much to the delight of the sell-out home crowd.

"In the second half we played well, we created several clear goal chances and dominated our opponents," said FCB CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. "In the first-half, we didn't really do enough, but a 2-0 result gives us a good chance of qualifying.

"We have to concentrate now for the second leg in Zurich and we could do with scoring a goal or two there." This result leaves the return leg in Zurich next Tuesday appearing to be nothing more than a formality for the four-time European champions to return to the group stage of the Champions League.


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