Tuesday 11 December 2018

Heynckes and Bayern deal Celts big blow

Bayern Munich 3 Celtic 0

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths (l) challenges Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels for the ball at the Allianz Arena last night.
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths (l) challenges Bayern Munich’s Mats Hummels for the ball at the Allianz Arena last night.

Celtic discovered Bayern Munich are still very much a European force as the Hoops suffered a 3-0 drubbing in their Champions League clash at the Allianz Arena.

The German giants had replaced Carlo Ancelotti with Jupp Heynckes following their 3-0 Group B defeat by Paris St Germain last month but any thoughts of demise were swept away as skipper Thomas Muller opened the scoring in the 17th minute before right-back Joshua Kimmich nodded in a second before half-time.

Stopper Mats Hummels headed in a third six minutes after the break and the Bundesliga champions were unfortunate their dominance was not properly reflected in the scoreline. The Hoops' 3-0 win away to Anderlecht in September means they are favourites to at least end up with a Europa League place after Christmas but they were simply outclassed by the Bundesliga side.

And after losing 5-0 to Paris St Germain in their opening fixture, it is clear they still have a way to go to compete with the big boys on the Champions League stage.

Boss Brendan Rodgers had been wary of the bounce from Heynckes's return but he was boosted by the return of skipper Scott Brown and fellow midfielder Stuart Armstrong. However, not for the first time this season he had a hole to fill at centre-back with Jozo Simunovic out with a hamstring problem.

Mikael Lustig, rested for the win over Dundee at the weekend, moved inside to partner Dedryck Boyata with Cristian Gamboa taking over at right-back for only his second Hoops start of the season.

The 4,000 strong Celtic supporters were relieved in the sixth minute when the linesman flagged when Thiago Alcantara had the ball in the net from a Robert Lewandowski cut-back, ruling the ball had already gone behind for a goal kick, although television replays showed that was not conclusive.

Returning keeper Craig Gordon did brilliantly to parry Lewandowksi's close-range header from a Kimmich cross but the unmarked Muller was on hand to fire the loose ball high into the net.

Gordon but had no chance with Bayern's second just before the half-hour mark when France winger Kingsley Coman beat Gamboa again down the left and crossed for Kimmich to loop a header in from 14 yards.

Bayern's third goal was simplicity itself as Hummels beat Brown to head in Robben's corner.

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