A fantastic Thomas Müller goal helped FC Bayern München begin their Group E campaign with a victory as they defeated AS Roma 2-0 on Wednesday.
After struggling to unlock the visitors' stoic rearguard, Müller finally broke the deadlock with 11 minutes remaining, bending the ball beyond the grasp of Roma goalkeeper Júlio Sérgio with the outside of his right foot. Miroslav Klose added a second four minutes later to ensure a winning start for last season's beaten finalists.
Having seen his side suffer their heaviest Serie A defeat in 61 years last weekend, it was little surprise Roma coach Claudio Ranieri adopted a cautious approach – meaning Bayern's overwhelming territorial dominance before the break brought only a meagre return.
A promising Müller burst saw the German international rush away from three defenders but down a blind alley to the byline as Bayern foundered. The hosts' frustration would have been all the greater had Jörg Butt not shown sharp reflexes to parry when Marco Borriello's goal-bound flick ricocheted off Daniel Van Buyten.
As Bayern persisted, and started to find flaws in the Roman defence, Júlio Sérgio demonstrated why Ranieri was confident enough to give him his UEFA Champions League debut. The goalkeeper was barely tested in the first half but early in the second made three top-class saves to deny Toni Kroos twice and Müller – the latter scarcely able to believe the Brazilian had pawed away his point-blank effort after a Kroos shot had pinballed its way into his path off two defenders.
Expected to provide the nucleus of a great Bayern side of the future, Müller and Kroos clearly already enjoy an excellent mutual understanding, and a delightful shimmy allowed the former to tee up Kroos for a measured attempt that wrong-footed Júlio Sérgio but ran just wide.
Mario Gómez and Klose were introduced as Bayern's pressure became overwhelming, and, after a Klose header had grazed a post, Müller eventually – and wonderfully – delivered the breakthrough, arcing a shot from the corner of the box across Júlio Sérgio and into the far corner. Cue palpable relief among the majority of a capacity crowd in the Fußball Arena München.
Having worked so hard for the lead, Bayern almost lost it within two minutes only for Butt to win his one-on-one encounter with Borriello. Klose's opportunism soon soothed home nerves, though, the substitute lunging to touch in Holger Badstuber's inswinging free-kick to secure all three points.