Champions League

Muller strikes late to preserve Bayern’s UCL unbeaten record

Thomas Müller
Foto: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Matchday five of the UEFA Champions League group stage featured another marquee matchup between Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid. After defeating Atletico 4-0 at the Allianz Arena in October, Bayern entered this fixture atop of Group A and already on their way to the Round of 16.For Atletico, a victory would ensure their progression to the knockout rounds as they have yet to clinch second place in the group. As a result, they came into this match motivated to get all three points at home.

With qualification for the Round of 16 achieved, Hansi Flick went with a different starting lineup that allowed for his best players to get rest ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga fixture against RB Leipzig. Some of the names that did not feature for Bayern in this match included Robert Lewandowski, Benjamin Pavard, Jerome Boateng, Leon Goretzka, and Manuel Neuer. This allowed for younger players like Jamal Musiala and Bright Arrey-Mbi to make an appearance in the starting lineup.

Atletico were the first to strike in the match as they took a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute when Joao Felix scored his third goal of this season’s Champions League campaign. Felix had created two earlier opportunities for the home side but he took matters into his own hands to give his club a crucial lead.

Atletico had chances to double their lead in the second half but fluffed their lines. The best of the opportunities was a chance in the 38th minute when Marcos Llorente sent his shot high and wide. As a result, the scoreline was 1-0 at halftime in favor of Atletico.

In the second half, Flick made use of his substitutes. One of the players he brought into the match was Thomas Müller in the 62nd minute. It was Müller who would create and finish the decisive goal that saw the match end in a draw. He was brought down in the penalty area in the 85th minute and would curl the ensuing spot-kick past Jan Oblak to level the scoreline. Müller’s goal would be the last goal of the night as it finished 1-1 at the Estadio Metropolitano.

The result means that Bayern sit atop Group A with 13 points and remain unbeaten in the Champions League this season. They will host Lokomotiv Moscow on matchday six looking to stay unbeaten. Atletico remains in second place and will have to either draw or defeat Red Bull Salzburg next week to advance to the Round of 16.