Bayern Munich were supposed to crush tiny Viktoria Plzen. After all, they've badly beaten much better teams before, but they weren't quite at their best and only a great header by substitute Mario Mandzukic could save them in a 1-0 win.
The victory keeps Bayern three points clear of Manchester City, who also won on Tuesday, while CSKA Moscow are six points back. The defending champions now only need a single point on the next matchday to clinch a spot in the knockout stages.
Bayern had the better of play for all of the match, but they struggled to create chances despite plenty of possession. Their chances came from distance or were made while off balance, making matters easier on the Plzen defense. When they did get clean shots away from decent places, they fired wide too. Plzen even managed a few chances, but Manuel Neuer was there to deny them on their few looks at goal.
For more than an hour, Plzen hung on for dear life. It wasn't so much desperate defending as it was recognizing that they couldn't go toe-to-toe with Bayern so they didn't try to, and it worked.
But in the 65th minute, one mistake doomed Plzen. They let Mandzukic drift away from his marker at the far post and when Philipp Lahm's chipped cross found him, they were doomed. Mandzukic nodded the ball back across the frame and just inside the post, burying Plzen.
Bayern controlled the rest of the match, not creating chances, but sitting on the ball until the final whistle went. It wasn't pretty, but it was three points and for Bayern, that will do.
Viktoria Plzen: Kozacik, Hubnik, Prochazka, Rajtoral, Cisovsky, Horaba, Horvath, Petrzela, Duris, Kolar, Tecl.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Rafinha, van Buyten, Contento, Alaba, Lahm, Gotze, Schweinsteiger (Martinez 59'), Kroos, Gotze, Muller (Mandzukic 59').
Goals: Mandzukic 65'