Bayern Munich picked up where it left off in the Champions League, starting its title defense with a 4-0 rout of Atlético Madrid after overcoming the club’s first coronavirus case. Kingsley Coman netted twice as Bayern took its winning streak to 12 straight games in Europe’s premier competition, with Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso also scoring on Wednesday.
The buildup was overshadowed by Serge Gnabry testing positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday after he had taken part in the team’s final training session for the game.
“It was a shock even if it was clear it would happen,” Goretzka said.
Local health authorities gave the go-ahead for the match to proceed as planned after Gnabry’s teammates tested negative in further tests conducted early Wednesday. No fans were allowed as per restrictions previously announced due to rising infections in the Bavarian capital.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge warned before the game against another suspension like the two-month break in play when the pandemic started in March.
“Another lockdown would be a drama for soccer,” said Rummenigge, who rued the lack of fans. “Soccer culture is suffering terribly without spectators.” The 19-year-old Alphonso Davies had to be content with a place on the bench as Bayern coach Hansi Flick opted to start Lucas Hernández against his former side.
Atlético striker Luis Suárez had the first big chance but was unable to reach Renan Lodi’s low cross. Bayern gradually settled and Niklas Süle struck the post in the 15th minute, before Bayern broke the deadlock in the 28th thanks to good work from Joshua Kimmich in his first game since becoming a father for the second time. The Bayern No. 6 slid in to win the ball back from an attempted clearance and crossed diagonally for Coman to convert at the far post.
Coman laid the ball back for Goretzka to score Bayern’s second in the 41st. Atlético emerged strongly after the break but João Félix’s goal was ruled out as Suárez was offside and blocking Manuel Neuer’s view on an otherwise quiet night for the Bayern goalkeeper.
The home team resumed control relatively quickly. Thomas Müller almost set up Robert Lewandowski, before Tolisso hammered the ball into the top right corner from around 25 meters (yards) in the 66th.
Coman capped his performance with a fine individual effort on a counterattack in the 72nd, turning Brazilian defender Felipe first one way, then the other, before firing past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.