Bayern Munich 2 AEK Athens 0: Lewandowski puts Germans on brink of last 16

Robert Lewandowski was at his clinical best as Bayern Munich brushed aside AEK Athens at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern Munich is within touching distance of the Champions League knockout stages after a Robert Lewandowski double secured a routine 2-0 Group E win over AEK Athens.   -  AP

Bayern Munich is within touching distance of the Champions League knockout stages after a Robert Lewandowski double secured a routine 2-0 Group E win over AEK Athens on Wednesday.

Benfica's draw with Ajax in the group's other game means that Niko Kovac's side has opened up a two-point lead at the summit and knows that a point against the Portuguese side in three weeks' time will cement its place in the last 16.

Kovac has been under pressure this week after a disappointing 1-1 Bundesliga draw with Freiburg on Saturday, but he will be relieved that his side came through this clash unscathed.

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It was far from its best against Marinos Ouzounidis' side – which now has no chance of progressing – and was indebted to Lewandoswki's 31st-minute penalty and smart finish in the second half to claim all three points.

Both sides had early headed chances, Vasilios Lampropoulos flashing wide and Leon Goretzka's effort at the other end tipped over by Vasilios Barkas.

The Greeks' stubborn resistance was broken just after the half-hour mark when Uros Cosic was penalised for grabbing Lewandowski's shirt at a corner, the Poland international coolly dispatching the resulting spot-kick into Barkas' top-left corner.

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Thomas Muller was denied by a superb Cosic block as the host failed to add to its advantage before the interval. Barkas was called into action 10 minutes after the restart, pawing away Goretzka's volley from Joshua Kimmich's teasing cross, before spreading himself well to divert Lewandowski's one-on-one effort just after the hour.

Bayern's talismanic striker was not to be denied in the 71st minute, however, showing wonderful athleticism to hook home a deflected corner at the back post to seal maximum points for Kovac's men.

What does it mean? Pressure eases on Kovac…for now

After a poor run, four straight wins appeared to steady the Bayern ship, but that weekend draw with Freiburg plunged Bayern back into crisis mode. This routine win will keep the natives happy for now, but a clash with table-topping rivals Borussia Dortmund looms at the weekend. 

Pointless AEK, meanwhile, remains rooted to the bottom of Group E and has failed to win in 24 away Champions League games. It only has faint hopes of salvaging a Europa League spot, with third-placed Benfica sitting four points clear with two games to go.

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Lewandowski strikes again

Not for the first time, Lewandowski was the difference for Bayern. His two strikes take him to 32 goals for the club in the Champions League – only Muller with 42 has scored more for them in the competition.

Cosic tug proves costly

It was the slightest of grabs on Lewandowski's shirt, but enough for referee Matej Jug to point to the spot. Had he kept his hands to himself, the game might have turned out differently for the Greek champions.

What's next?

Bayern has that mouth-watering clash with Dortmund on Saturday, while AEK hosts Atromitos a day later in the Greek Super League. In this competition, Bayern hosts Benfica on November 27, the same day AEK bids to keep its hopes alive at home to Ajax.

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