Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal insisted his weakened side deserved their 3-2 win over Romanian minnows CFR Cluj to record their third-straight UEFA Champions League win.
Bayern are now on the verge of the Round of 16 with a perfect nine points after Tuesday's win as striker Mario Gomez scored his fifth goal in three games. The hosts were missing a host of stars including Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Breno, Diego Contento, Mark van Bommel, Miroslav Klose plus David Alaba and the lack of star-quality showed.
"We haven't had much luck this season, but we had a fair bit of it today," said Van Gaal. "It is always difficult if the opponent plays with ten-men behind the ball. The midfield played very well and controlled the game. We shouldn't have conceded the second goal, but we deserved to win."
Having broken his 13-match scoring drought for Bayern with a hat-trick in last Saturday's 3-0 league win over Hanover, and scored in Germany's 3-0 win in Kazakhstan last week, Gomez hit Munich's third to seal the win. The 25-year-old - who last year became the Bundesliga's most expensive transfer when Bayern paid €30m for him from Stuttgart - had an easy late tap in, but admitted Munich were uninspiring despite the victory.
"We can be thankful for all three goals, it was a very strange game," said Gomez. "That is the way things go in football: for weeks, I have scored no goals and now suddenly the scoring touch is back."
Last season's beaten finalists were far from impressive as Cluj scored the first three goals as Portugal defender Cadu netted for both sides. The centre-back gave the Romanians a shock lead when he headed home a free-kick from Italian midfielder Roberto de Zerbi on 28 minutes to silence the crowd at Munich's Allianz Arena.
But the Portuguese defender was left with his head in his hands just four minutes later when a shot from Bayern's Germany midfielder Toni Kroos deflected off his leg into the back of the net to equalise. And Bayern took the lead when Cluj's Romania defender Cristian Panin watched as a shot from Bayern defender Holger Badstuber hit him on the knee and the ball flew into his own net on 37 minutes.
Cluj almost went in all-square at the break as Ivorian forward Lacina Traore beat the Bayern defence and goalkeeper Hans-Joerg Butt from 16 metres out, but clipped the post with his shot. The visitors threatened a late fight-back when Argentinian midfielder Juan Culio wrong-footed the home defence and beat Butt with his shot on 86 minutes, but Bayern held on for the win.