As expected, Bayern cemented their position the top of group A, but not quite in the way people expected, fine goals from Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich seeing them past Lokomotiv’s spirited challenge.
When Fyodor Smolov missed a free header, from five yards and after three minutes, it felt as though Lokomotiv had missed their chance, all the more so when, on 13 minutes, Bayern crafted a fine opener with Leon Goretzka headbutting home following lovely work from Corentin Tolisso and Benjamin Pavard. But Bayern could not press home their advantage, missing various chances – Lokomotiv likewise – before, on 70 minutes, Aleksei Miranchuk guided home a lovely equaliser.
At that point, the game could’ve gone either way, with Lokomotiv looking the marginally likelier scorers, but the brilliant Kimmich had other ideas, dragging home a volley from 20 yards like it was nothing, which it was not. Lokomotiv did their best thereafter, but Bayern hung on. They know they must play better, also know they they will – and the rest of Europe do too.
Lord Lucan, Shergar, the Loch Ness Monster and a Tory with a conscience are just a of the few things that are easier to find than fault with this ridiculously brilliant Bayern side. In the history of the Champions League, no side has ever been as dominant as they were last season, and nothing we’ve seen this suggests that anyone is likely to best them.
What is particularly noteworthy about them isn’t the ability of the individuals, though that is extremely high – if you put together a world XI, not many Bayern players would be in it – but how they combine, and how their nous and mentality elevates them to a higher plane.
So how can a team go about beating them? Well, there’s the Lokomotiv way - hoping for fast attackers to take advantage of their high line - good luck with that - or there's the even more hopeful way - trying to pass around their brilliant midfield with nippier, more skilful players - good luck with that too. Bayern are lucky to be playing in an area when Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United and Manchester City are searching for something, but by the end of it, they could be one of the greatest teams we’ve ever seen.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Joshiua Kimmmich (Bayern) An absolute giant of a footballer, quick, strong, clever and brilliant in pretty much every position on the pitch, who decided this game with a superb finish.
Lokomotiv Moscow: Guilherme 6, Rybus 6, Murilo 7, Corluka 6, Zhivoglyadov 7, Ignatiev 7, Kulikov 6, Anton Miranchuk 7, Krychowiak 6, Smolov 6, Ze Luis 7. Subs: Rajkovic 6, Rybchinskii, Lisakovich 6, Zhemaletdinov 7.
Bayern Munich: Neuer 6, Pavard 7, Alaba 6, Sule 5, Hernandez 6, Kimmich 8, Goretzka 7, Tolisso 7, Muller 6, Lewandowski 5, Coman 5. Subs: Javi Martinez 6, Gnabry 5, Costa 6.
Bayern Munich have lost only one of their 15 Champions League games against Russian opposition (W11 D3).
3’ - Don Hutchison reckons Lokomotiv will have a go at Bayern, and have a look! Milanchuk bends a cross into the box and Smolov is alone in the middle! What a chance this is! The defenders have stepped up and he looks like he's offside but he's not, and he could do anything here, take it down, pick a corner, mow the lawn ... but instead he plops a header directly into Neuer's midriff. Dearie him!
13’ - GOAL! Lokomotiv Moscow 0-1 (Goretzka) How must Smolov feel now?! Tolisso clips a lovely cross-kick over the top, Pavard leaping to deflect is back into the middle, where Goretzka continues his beastly behaviour, headbutting past Guilhereme with minimum fuss and maximum prejudice.
54’ - Smolov comes deep to find possession, and Ze Luis is on the burst ... play him in! PLAY HIM IN! But instead he checks, incurring the fury o team-mate and manager alike.
69’ - Lovely from Bayern, Coman into Kimmich who feeds him back in, and he opens his body, ready to curl into the far corner from eight yards, only to get underneath his shot, lifting it over the bar!
70’ - GOAL! Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1 Bayern Munich (Miranchuk) Well! Zhivoglyadov knocks a ball in behind Hernandez as Sule plays offside and Ze Luis hares onto it, streaking clear before drilling a low cross into the path of the onrushing Miranchuk, who times his foot-pattern beautifully, caressing inside the near post without breaking stride. Brilliant!
79’ - GOAL! Lokomotiv Moscow 1-2 Bayern Munich (Kimmich) Bayern move the ball quickly, Javi Martinez dictating, and when he darts a pass into Kimmich, his first touch allows him to turn as the ball bounces, and as it drops, he keeps his eyes fixed upon it, cracking a perfect finish into the far corner from 20 yards. What a goal! What a player! ;™áÿ¿