Bayern coach smiling despite disappointing display
MUNICH, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Felix Magath lost his selection gamble in Bayern Munich's Champions League game against Sporting but the coach still came away smiling as a goalless draw made certain of his side's place in the last 16.
With Mark van Bommel, Owen Hargreaves and Bastian Schweinsteiger all unavailable, Magath chose full back Willy Sagnol to play in midfield and promoted the rarely used Christian Lell to occupy his place at right back.
It is hard to remember Bayern looking less comfortable in a home match than they did in the first 45 minutes against the Portuguese side.
Magath made amends at halftime, taking off Lell, putting Sagnol back in his usual place and bringing on the Paraguayan Julio Dos Santos.
Bayern looked more secure as a result and with better finishing from Roy Makaay they would have made it four wins out of four.
As it is, they have two games left, away to Spartak Moscow and at home to Inter Milan, to secure first place and Magath, who was quick to own up to his mistake, had every reason to be satisfied.
'The starting side was clearly not the ideal formation,' Magath told reporters. 'I thought that Sagnol could make up for the absence of Van Bommel in midfield but it didn't work out.
'The good thing is that we kept another clean sheet and it still looks very good in terms of finishing as group winners.
'We have that final home match in hand but there's no reason now why we shouldn't go and win in Moscow to make sure.'
Sporting bamboozled the Bayern midfield with their neat passing and sharp running in the first half but they rarely found the right final ball and Oliver Kahn, in fact, had few saves to make.
The closest they came was a free kick from Joao Moutinho that hit the bar and Kahn recognised Bayern had been lucky to escape.
'It really wasn't easy against such mobile opponents,' Kahn told reporters. 'If that free kick had gone in we would have been in trouble. It was not a great game.'