Bayern Munich, Clubs, Red Star Belgrade, Story, UEFA Champions League

Bayern Munich kicked off their Champions League campaign by easing to a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday in a one-sided Group B encounter.

Kingsley Coman headed them into the lead in the 34th minute from a fine Ivan Perisic cross and the Bundesliga’s leading scorer Robert Lewandowski slid in for the second goal in the 80th.

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Thomas Mueller, who became the club’s record Champions League appearance maker when he came on as a substitute for his 106th game in the competition, volleyed in his first goal of the season in stoppage time.

Bayern, who stretched their unbeaten run in Champions League group stage home matches to 16, carved out chance after chance and twice hit the woodwork, while the Serbs, who battled through qualifying, were largely toothless up front.

“You have to win the first game of the competition, that’s important,” said Bayern coach Niko Kovac.

“Yes, we could have scored more, but we should be happy with three goals in the end. I think the team was very focused. Maybe we missed the last touch a bit.”

Brazilian Philippe Coutinho had the first good chance in the 21st minute for the hosts, who dominated possession from the start but had to remain patient against a packed Serbian defence.

They eventually broke the deadlock through Coman’s diving header.

The Serbs had no answer to Bayern’s firepower, with the Germans mustering 16 shots on goal in the first half alone.

They instead defended and waited for the rare opportunity to launch a quick counter attack in the hope of catching the Germans off guard.

It was the same story after the break with Corentin Tolisso hitting the post in the 53rd.

Bayern should have scored shortly after when Perisic chipped the ball over the Red Star keeper, but it bounced on the bar and Lewandowski’s half volley on the rebound flew over the empty goal.

Yet the Poland striker got onto the scoresheet in the 80th, sliding in to beat his Red Star markers for his 200th Bayern goal in all competitions before Mueller got his first of the season in stoppage time.

Thiago Alcantara had earlier also hit the woodwork with a deflected cross.

“It goes without saying that my team had quite a few uncompleted passes and these were punished by our opponents,” said Red Star coach Vladan Milojevic.

“Bayern and Tottenham are the favourites in the group, and we saw why tonight. We are aware that we played against a possible winner of the Champions League.”

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