Bayern Munich qualify for Champions League last 16

Posted on by SoccerPunter

France winger Franck Ribery scored twice as Bayern Munich booked their place in the Champions League‘s knock-out phase with a 3-1 win over Villarreal on Tuesday.

After Napoli beat Manchester City 2-1 to go second in the table, Bayern are now five points clear at the top and will win Group A regardless of their last game away to the Premier League leaders.

“It is very important to us that we have now clearly won the group,” said coach Jupp Heynckes, who admitted he was irritated when Bayern conceded a second-half goal through Villarreal midfielder Jonathan de Guzman. “It’s been a good campaign so far for us.

“What I didn’t like was that we conceded a goal after the break and therefore had to raise our game again.”

This was Bayern’s fourth win in this season’s European campaign with only last month’s 1-1 draw at Napoli blotting their perfect record.

Munich’s Allianz Arena will host the final next May and the Bavarian giants have made no secret of their desire to win the Champions League for the first time since 2001.

“We are proud and happy to have achieved our goal before the end of the group phase,” said goal-scorer Mario Gomez.

“Franck Ribery was outstanding.”

Having fallen to a fifth straight defeat, Villarreal are now sure of elimination and even their dreams of finishing third, to secure a Europa League berth, are also dashed.

“Of course, we wanted to win this game but we came across a stronger opponent,” said Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido.

“I think we played a decent match for 90 minutes. We will emerge stronger from this game.”

Bayern bounced back from Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to German champions Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga with an impressive display as Ribery found plenty of space to exploit.

Heynckes started with Arjen Robben making his second appearance after groin surgery to help cover for the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, who broke his collarbone in the 3-2 win over Napoli a fortnight ago.

Ribery opened the scoring after just three minutes when Germany midfielder Toni Kroos set up the Frenchman to fire home from all of 12 metres out.

Bayern then went 2-0 up when hot-shot striker Gomez netted his 21st goal of the season after Munich midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk hit the post and he was on hand to stab the ball home.

Dutch midfielder de Guzman pulled a goal back for the Spanish on 50 minutes after a mistake by Kroos was pounced on by defender Joan Oriol, who sprinted down the pitch and set up de Guzman to score.

Munich made sure of the win when Kroos played a well-timed diagonal pass through the Villarreal defence and with Lopez off his line, Ribery fired into an empty net on 69 minutes for his eighth goal of the season.

Bayern are under no pressure now for their final group game in Manchester on December 7, while Villarreal will be playing just for pride the same night when they host Napoli.

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