Bayern Munich are in control of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie with Sevilla, despite the Spaniards giving them an early scare in the first leg.
Pablo Sarabia put Los Rojiblancos ahead, despite a hint of handball, however Bayern drew level after Franck Ribéry’s cross was put into his own net by Jesús Navas.
Bayern had been mostly disappointing in the first half but took control of the match when a Thiago header was deflected in to earn Jupp Heynckes a record twelfth-consecutive Champions League victory.
Sarabia hurts Bayern before Navas own goal
There was a few surprises in both starting line-ups. Sevilla had David Soria in goal at the expense of regular Sergio Rico, with three other changes from their draw with Barcelona at the weekend, including a start for Wissam Ben Yedder after his heroics from the bench in the last round against Manchester United. Bayern also made four changes from their demolition job against Borussia Dortmund, with returns for Joshua Kimmich, Thiago and Arturo Vidal. Arjen Robben and James Rodríguez were left on the bench, with David Alaba out with a back problem.
Bayern had scored eight goals in the last-16 tie against Beşiktaş, but it was clear early on that this would be a much tougher test of the Germans. Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller had early chances for them, but Sevilla were looking dangerous too, and should have scored after 20 minutes. Hummels dealt with Ben Yedder in the box after a cross came in, but the loose ball fell to Pablo Sarabia in a perfect position to hit the back of the net, but he inexplicably put it wide.
Thiago tested the palms of Soria before another chance fell to Sarabia – his strike was punched away from goal by Sven Ulreich though. Yet another big chance would fall the way of the winger just after, and this time he made no mistake. Sevilla had kept possession and eventually Sergio Escudero put it into the box, Sarabia got ahead of Juan Bernat, with the ball appearing to hit his arm, and he took full advantage to give his side the lead.
Their visitors were rattled by the goal, with Bernat booked for a foul before Vidal, who had been injured in the past couple of the weeks, was forced off, to be replaced by Rodríguez. He made an immediate impact by helping to create Bayern’s equaliser within a minute of coming on. The Colombian found Ribéry to his left, and the Frenchman’s attempted cross was diverted towards goal by makeshift right-back Nevas, with Soria wrong-footed and unable to stop the ball going in. A vital away goal to take into the half-time break.
Thiago header helped in by Escudero to give Bayern the edge
Bayern appeared to have a bit more control in the second half, with the one dangerous Sevilla move early earn ended by a superb tackle by Javi Martínez on Franco Vázquez in the middle of the box. Having helped with their goal Rodríguez then had his own chance, but he couldn’t quite find the target.
It was increasingly looking like they were turning the screw, especially when Soria got across quickly to excellently deny a shot from Martínez, whose shot had been hit into the ground. A diagonal ball from Jérôme Boateng to Ribéry then set up what was becoming increasingly likely. Thiago’s diving header was heading on target, and Soria might have saved it if it didn’t take a cruel deflection off Escudero. 2-1 to Bayern.
That took the fizz out of the game, but as Sevilla began to mix things up with Sandro and Luis Muriel coming on, they began to cause Bayern a few problems once more. Steven N’Zonzi put a pop shot wide, before Sandro’s first contribution to the game being a shot parried by Ulreich. Vázquez had a couple of opportunities as well. Bayern remained interested though, with Robert Lewandowski, after a quiet evening by his standards, curled wide across the face of goal.
After a promising first half, it ended up being a frustrating night for the hosts, who will need to score two goals without reply at the Allianz Arena next week – no easy task. Bayern it would seem have one foot in the semi-finals for the first time since 2016, and Heynckes’s remarkable run in the competition, that started when they won it in 2013 and continued after his return last October, goes on.