An early goal from Arturo Vidal proved enough to give Bayern Munich a slender win at home to Benfica in their Champions League quarter-final first leg, although their failure to add to that lead means the Germans will face a nervy trip to Portugal.
Ahead of the tie, Pep Guardiola had warned that Benfica were a dangerous side and that they had the best defence of all the teams left in the Champions League.
That looked like a gross exaggeration by Guardiola when after only two minutes played on the clock, Bayern Munich took the lead when Juan Bernat produced a magnificent cross that saw Arturo Vidal head home at the far post.
While Bayern fans sat back and waited for the expected onslaught from Bayern, Benfica regrouped and for the most part handled Bayern’s attack comfortably.
The longer the game went on it was Benfica who looked the more likely to score next, a valuable away goal that would have made the second leg even more difficult for the Germans.
Bayern take the narrowest of leads to Lisbon for the second leg looking to keep up a record that has seen them each the Champions League semi-finals every year since 2012.
Afterwards, Guardiola tried to put a positive spin on what had been a lethargic performance by his side saying:
“I’m very satisfied because I know our opponents’ quality and because our performance was very good. All credit to my team. In the Champions League quarter-finals the return is decisive. We travel to Lisbon aiming to win the match.”
And his Benfica counterpart, Rui Vitória, who had said before the match that everyone knew Bayern was on another level than his own team, was looking forward to the second leg in front of their passionate fans:
“We were at a very high level tonight, and I’m proud of my players.
“The contest is open and, at the Estádio da Luz, with the fans supporting the way they did here, everything is possible. And while recognizing Bayern’s capacity to win away, we will be fighting until the end. May our stadium be full next week.”
But, on the evidence of last night, despite having the majority of the possession, Bayern will have to perform a lot better in what will be a fantastic atmosphere.