Bayern Munich look well on their way to a tantalizing UEFA Champions League semifinal tie against Real Madrid. The German club defeated Olympique Marseille, 2-0, in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie on Wednesday thanks to goals by Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben, putting them in complete control as they head back to the Allianz Arena for the second leg.
It was actually Marseille who almost struck early, but Manuel Neuer was there to make a tremendous save on a Stephane Mbia header. When the rebound fell to Loic Remy in front, he disappointingly blasted it into the side netting and Marseille's best chance was gone.
That Remy miss proved to be vital, but maybe not as vital as a referee's decision. Phillip Lahm handled a Marseille pass, but it went uncalled by the referee. He quickly turned it into a Bayern attack, too, and eventually Robben slipped Gomez in for a clinical finish. Controversial or not, the Germans were up, 1-0.
Neuer's save on Mbia wasn't the only time he was called into action. He made a few other nice saves and kept Marseille scoreless, and then in the 69th minute Robben put the tie to bed. The Dutchman put the Marseille defense on their heels before a beautiful one-two. Robben passed to Thomas Muller, who chipped the ball perfectly for Robben's run. A delicate first touch and cool finish to the far post was all it took and Bayern were on cruise control.
Neither Bayern Munich nor Marseille will be particularly happy with the way they played, but Marseille is just not a good team right now so Bayern didn't have to be good to win. Even Bastian Schweinsteiger's late yellow card, which will keep him out of the return leg, won't matter too much. Bayern are staring down the semifinals, where Real Madrid will likely await them. Let the drooling commence.