Bayern recover nicely from Bundesliga loss to beat Anderlecht in UCL opener
For the 14th straight time, Bayern Munich won their opening Champions League match of the season, as an early Robert Lewandowski penalty and second-half goals from Thiago Alcantara and Joshua Kimmich saw off 10-man Anderlecht, who lost Sven Kums to a red card after only 11 minutes.
Bayern recovered from their first Bundesliga defeat of the season at the weekend and stretched their impressive record of scoring in their previous 18 UCL home games.
A 3-0 victory looks good on paper, but Bayern were again subpar against the Belgian champions, who had to play with a man disadvantage for almost 80 minutes. The midfield in particular seems to lack bite.
6 (out of 10) -- Chasing another win in Europe's top club competition, Carlo Ancelotti's quest got underway with the expected routine victory against rank outsiders, but his team certainly made heavy weather of it.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Manuel Neuer, 7 -- Bayern's captain hardly had a save to make against 10-man Anderlecht, but he was helped by the post early in the second half during a spell when Bayern could easily have conceded an equaliser.
DF Rafinha, 6 -- The versatile Brazil international filled in at left-back again and never lets anyone down. That said, he doesn't do anything tremendously outstanding, either.
DF Niklas Sule, 7 -- Surprisingly replaced Mats Hummels in central defence. Far from as elegant and classy, nor as pleasing on the eye as Hummels, the new signing from Hoffenheim is nevertheless solid and gets the job done. Always a threat from set pieces and unlucky not to score, he tested the goalkeeper Matz Sels with a powerful header on 53 minutes and had a goal (another header) chalked off for a foul midway through the second half.
DF Javi Martinez, 6 -- Caught the eye with an overhead kick in the Anderlecht box just before the interval. Never looks comfortable against any pacy forward and was withdrawn 13 minutes from the end to allow Jerome Boateng a comeback cameo.
DF Joshua Kimmich, 9 -- Hope springs eternal as Bayern begin life in the Champions League without Philipp Lahm. Kimmich put in a marauding performance on the right flank, displaying a tremendous engine and getting forward at every available opportunity. He provided a cute cross for Thiago's second goal and crowned an outstanding performance by dancing through the Anderlecht defence to add the finishing gloss to the scoreline.
MF Corentin Tolisso, 6 -- Bayern's record signing provided an inch-perfect through-ball to Lewandowski for the game-changing scene of the match. Fired a decent shot early in the second half, but reservations abound about his defensive work.
MF Thiago, 7 -- Doubled Bayern's lead with an easy finish, completing a team-best 109 passes from 120 attempts.
MF Franck Ribery, 7 -- Put in a lively and energetic first-half display on the Bayern left, belying his status as Bayern's oldest and longest serving player. But let himself down with a petulant reaction to his late substitution, throwing his shirt into the dugout like a spoiled brat. An enfant terrible.
MF Arjen Robben, 7 -- Not quite as effective as Ribery on the other wing and couldn't find a breakthrough despite six attempts on goal. That said, the 33-year-old Robben will be better for the full 90 minutes.
MF James Rodriguez, 6 -- Nothing special on his full debut for the club, but he did enjoy an improved second half against a tiring side, testing the keeper with a powerful shot on his stronger left foot. Unlike Ribery, James got some love from Ancelotti after his substitution with five minutes remaining.
FW Robert Lewandowski, 8 -- Coolly converted the early penalty, which he also "won" to notch his seventh goal in six games this season. If only Bayern would sign more players of Lewandowski's calibre.
DF Jerome Boateng, NR -- Finally fit again after a lengthy injury struggle, he enjoyed a nice, leisurely reintroduction with the game in the bag.
MF Thomas Muller, NR -- Bayern's record scorer in the Champions League didn't get a chance to add to his tally after replacing the sulky Ribery.
MF Kingsley Coman, NR -- The young French forward came on for James in the final five minutes for a late run.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.