Bayern Munich took a giant step toward the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Marseille at the Stade Velodrome.
Bayern were strong favorites before the first-leg and will feel they now have at least one foot in the last four courtesy of a goal in each half from Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben.
Marseille went into the contest without two of their key players in Steve Mandanda and Souleymane Diawara. And with Marseille having struggled all season long domestically, while Bayern went into the contest in a rich vein of form, it was widely expected that the Bavarians would have too much for their French counterparts. And so it proved.
On a quick counter attack, Arjen Robben cut inside from the right on his left foot before playing the ball through behind the defense for Gomez to run onto. Perhaps taking the goalkeeper by surprise, Gomez struck his shot first-time from the edge of the area, low into the net.
There is no doubt that Marseille's stand-in goalkeeper Elinton Andrade will be disappointed with his failure to stop the shot travelling through him, while Marseille will have rued the red card given to Steve Mandanda against Inter that ruled their first-choice goalkeeper out.
Bayern doubled their lead and all-but ensured their semi-final place when the provider of the first goal, Robben got on the score sheet himself in the 69th minute. A glorious one-two between Robben and Thomas Muller saw the Dutch winger receive the ball clean through on the right angle of the six-yard box. Robben took a couple of precise touches before placing the ball into the far corner past Andrade, who on this occasion had no chance.
Even with the second-legs to come next week, having secured 2-0 and 3-0 leads away from home, respectively, Bayern Munich and Real Madrd will already be looking forward to their meeting in the semi-finals next month. And what a mouth-watering prospect it is.