A second-half goal from Mario Mandzukic handed Bayern Munich a 1-0 win over die-hard Czech champions Viktoria Plzen that granted the holders a spot in the UEFA Champions League knockout phase on Tuesday.
The Croatian striker capitalized on a cross from Philipp Lahm, sending a powerful header past diving Plzen goalkeeper Matus Kozacik in the 65th minute, only six minutes after coming on.
Bayern made it to the round-of-16 for the sixth time in a row, accompanied by Group D runners-up Manchester City.
“We have taken all the points we could in the four games, which shows how strong we are,” Bayern coach Pep Guardiola said.
Bayern dominated the early minutes of the game as David Alaba forced a diving save from Plzen’s Kozacik from a free-kick.
Bastian Schweinsteiger hit the post with a low curling shot in the 16th minute and Kozacik stopped several good shots that got past the solid Plzen defense.
Outshot 35-0 by Bayern in a 5-0 trashing in Munich two weeks previously, Plzen vowed a braver performance in the home game and made good on the pledge as they put the Bundesliga leaders under some pressure half an hour into the game, but Milan Petrzela sent a powerful left-footed shot just over the bar and Daniel Kolar followed suit with a header.
“When Viktoria lost 5-0, it definitely meant they would be far more focused next time and want to get a better result,” Guardiola said.
“We were quite different than in Munich where Bayern humiliated us,” Plzen coach Pavel Vrba said. “Still, it wasn’t an ideal performance because we didn’t collect any points, but a game like this against a team like this will definitely give us a boost for games to come.”
The hosts seemed to lose steam as Bayern almost scored three minutes after halftime, but Lahm’s shot was cleared by Plzen defender Marian Cisovsky off the goal-line.
Daniel van Buyten sent his header past the Plzen goal and Kozacik denied Franck Ribery’s shot from close range, before clearing another effort by Lahm a minute before the end.
However, Plzen did not give up and with 15 minutes left striker Stanislav Tecl first forced a dive from Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and then missed a perfect pass from close range.
Bayern started with Mario Goetze on the right wing replacing the injured Arjen Robben, while Diego Contento replaced Dante in the Bayern defense.
Guardiola sent Mandzukic and Javi Martinez into the game with an hour gone to boost the Bayern offense and the move made all the difference.