Munich, Nov 25 (IANS) German football giants Bayern Munich booked a spot in the European Champions League knockout stages thanks to a powerful 4-0 display over Greek side Olympiacos FC at the fifth round of group play here. Bayern on Tuesday overran Olympiacos with three goals within 20 minutes as Douglas Costa, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller were on target. Bayern lost their defender Holger Badstuber to a red card, which was a minor setback, as the ten-men were able to mark the fourth goal through Kingsley Coman to make the game safe, Xinhua reported. Pep Guardiola’s men caught a fairy tale start at the sold-out Allianz Arena as Costa broke the deadlock with just eight minutes into the game. 

The Brazilian capitalised on a defused hammer by Jerome Boateng, to curl the rebound past Olympiacos goalkeeper Roberto. Bayern gained momentum and doubled the lead only eight minutes later through Lewandowski, who unintentionally blocked an effort by Kingsley Coman to slot home from the edge of the box. Coman was again in the thick of things as Bayern tripled the lead in the 20th minute. Coman’s misplaced shot on target found Arjen Robben who headed into the goal area where Muller tapped home into the open goal. Mueller as well as Lewandowski donated now five goals in as many games for Bayern. The hosts suffered a dampener with seven minutes into the second half as Badstuber floored Ideye Brown as the last men to see a straight red card. Although Olympiacos were now in superior number they failed to pose any threat to Bayern’s defence. 

Instead Bayern pressed for another goal and were rewarded in the 75th minute as Coman got his name on the scoreboards after heading home Mueller’s assist. Bayern had even the chance to add the fifth goal but neither Joshua Kimmich nor Mueller were able to make use of promising opportunities in the closing period. With the result, Bayern secure their progression to the knockout stages with one round to spare meanwhile Olympiacos face Arsenal for a winner-takes-it-all encounter. The Bavarians top Group F with 12 points, followed by Olympiacos (9 points), Arsenal (6 points) and Dinamo Zagreb (3 points).

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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