Champions League: Bayern reaches knockout stage with 3-1 win over Salzburg

Bayern Munich did enough for a 3-1 win over visitor Salzburg on Wednesday to book its spot in the Champions League knockout stage with two games to spare.

Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski   -  AFP

Holder Bayern Munich failed to hit top form but did enough for a 3-1 win over visitor Salzburg on Wednesday to book its spot in the Champions League knockout stage with two games to spare.

The German champion stretched its record run to 15 straight wins in the competition, with Robert Lewandowski firing in on the rebound in the 43rd minute after the host had struggled with Salzburg's high-intensity pressing during the first half.

Lewandowski now has 71 goals in the competition and is the joint third-best scorer of all time, along with Spaniard Raul, behind Lionel Messi and leader Cristiano Ronaldo.

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The Austrians had started much stronger, putting the host on the back foot, and would have been ahead in the 16th minute were it not for keeper Manuel Neuer's superb double save.

“It is very important that we are already now confirmed group winners,” Neuer said. “It is a clear step in the right direction.”

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Bayern, which slipped up in the Bundesliga with a draw against Werder Bremen on Saturday, was lacking its usual spark and got lucky in the 52nd minute when Salzburg defender Maximilian Woeber deflected Kingsley Coman's shot into his net.

Bayern was left with 10 men in the 66th following the dismissal of Marc Roca with a second booking, but two minutes later Leroy Sane settled its nerves, heading in its third goal.

Salzburg cut the deficit through Mergim Berisha in the 73rd after Neuer had pulled off another sensational double save minutes earlier.

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The Bavarians, who have now scored two or more goals in all four of their group games, top Group A on 12 points, with Salzburg in the last place on one. Atletico Madrid is second on five following its goalless draw with Lokomotiv Moscow, which has three.

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