Kroos Stars as Bayern Beats Valencia, 2-1

FC Bayern held on for a 2-1 win vs. Valencia, controlling the entire game with the exception of a few minutes in the second half. In the middle of the field, Bayern clearly had a talent advantage and were able to dominate possession and set up several attacks. But it took a while to break down Valencia in the final third. Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger were the difference, with Bayern now level with BATE Borisov at the top of the group.

With the exception of two or three half-chances, FC Bayern had a substantial advantage in the early going. Toni Kroos had a decent chance and put one a few inches over, and Die Roten had a few other threatening spells of possession. At about 25-30 minutes, though, Bayern supporters were trying to convince themselves that it wouldn't be that bad to go into the half at 0-0. Even though it would't be terrible, going into the 2d half scoreless would have opened the door for Valencia to score once and then play all-defensive. So it was a relief when Robben made an uncharacteristically patient / unselfive move when he layed it off for Bastian to give us the lead just before the half:

That one ^ also has Kroos blistering long range strike (probably MOTM, in my opinion) and the missed Mandzukic penalty. It would have been nice to get to 3, but the points were pretty much in the bag at that point.

Valencia's goal came just after the 90 minute mark, when Bayern failed to mark Nelson Haedo Valdez and let him get his head to a lob. I'd have to look at the replay, but it appeared that Goose was at fault. Even so, this is a decent opponent, and I thought that B-D-B-L back line performed decent overall. Javi and Bastian in front of those four is a pretty hard group to break down, and will probably give our front attack line a good chance to tee off on the opponent's goal.

A solid win against probably the toughest other team in the group, and sets us up nice in group play. We have a tough match-up in only 3 days vs. Schalke. Fortunately, we have a lot more depth this year (Mueller, Gustavo, Tymo, and Mandzukic all not having started today, as well as long-term injury guys starting to come back). Back with a preview of that tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

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