Bayern, Villarreal glide into group stage
© AFP

Bayern Munich and Villarreal cruised into the UEFA Champions League group stage draw after winning their respective play-off ties against FC Zurich and Odense.

Bayern, who were making a rare appearance at this stage of the competition after finishing third in the league last season, defeated Zurich 1-0 thanks to a Mario Gomez first-half strike to win 3-0 on aggregate.

"We have fulfilled our duty to reach the main draw, there is no one particular opponent we want to face - we have to beat everyone," said striker Nils Petersen, who came on for the injured Gomez in the second-half.

We have fulfilled our duty to reach the main draw.
Bayern Munich's Nils Peterson

Villarreal, for their part, trounced Danish league runners-up Odense 3-0 to win 3-1 on aggregate. Giuseppe Rossi scored a double to ensure the Yellow Submarine's place in the group stage for the third time in what was an ill-tempered match that saw a player from each side sent-off.

Malmo nearly pulled-off a remarkable win after losing the first leg 4-1 as they went two goals up against Dinamo Zagreb four minutes from time. However, the Swedish side couldn't find a goal once more and were unable to secure an unlikely progression.

There was late drama in Cyprus as APOEL also overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit to clinch a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Wisla Krakow. A 29th-minute own goal from Wisla goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko and Ailton's strike nine minutes into the second half put Apoel two goals to the good and 2-1 ahead overall. Cezary Wilk then netted what looked set to prove a crucial away goal for the Polish team in the 71st minute, but Ailton had other ideas and bagged his second of the night three minutes from time to send his side through.

Belgian side Genk and Israeli outfit Maccabi Haifa's match went all the way to penalties as they finished the two legs level 2-2 on aggregate. Genk, however, prevailed 4-1 on penalties. The losers will be entered into the UEFA Europa League group stage draw.

Gomez's goal ensured Bayern will go into Thursday's draw as one of the ten play-off winners who join the 22 automatic entrants.