Hello everyone. The Champions League
is back for more this week as the group stage continues. I'll be bringing you live text coverage of Bayern Munich
's trip to Russia to face CSKA Moscow
as the German champions look to make it two wins from two in this season's competition.
These two sides started their respective campaigns very differently two weeks ago. Bayern overcame a tough challenge to record a 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Allianz Arena, while Group E underdogs CSKA suffered a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Roma. Can Leonid Slutsky
's side respond to that disappointment tonight?
Bayern are considered one of the favourites to lift the trophy next May, but Pep Guardiola
knows the importance of finishing top of your group. Beating City in Bavaria was vital, and he'll be warning his players against complacency tonight. Moscow has always been a tricky place to visit over the years in this competition.
As you've probably already guessed, it's an early kickoff for these two sides in Russia. This game kicks off at 5pm, while the rest of the fixtures, including Man City vs. Roma, will begin at the usual time of 7.45pm. Bayern will take plenty of confidence if they can reach six points this evening.
CSKA: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Ignashevich, V. Berezutskiy, Shchennikov, A. Berezutskiy, Natcho, Tosic, Eremenko, Milanov, Musa
BAYERN: Neuer, Alonso, Dante, Benatia, Alaba, Robben, Bernat, Götze, Lahm, Müller, Lewandowski
It's a big, big test for the 11 players sent out by CSKA boss Slotsky tonight. Ahmed Musa will be trusted with the job of giving Bayern's defenders a difficult night, while there is also a start for former Manchester United winger Zoran Tosic.
Guardiola has made two changes to his Bayern lineup as Jerome Boateng and Rafinha drop to the bench to make way for Mehdi Benatia and Dante. The Bayern boss has tinkered with his defence regularly this season, but it remains to be seen whether Philipp Lahm will be asked to return to full-back.
Bayern and CSKA met each other twice at this stage last season. It came as little surprise to see Bayern come out on top in both of those fixtures as they followed a 3-0 victory in Germany by beating their opponents 3-1 in Moscow.
We could be in for a surprise when kickoff does arrive. CSKA have stuck with a traditional back four all season, but there has been suggestions that Slotsky could use three central defenders in an attempt to handle the threat posed by Bayern. Mario Fernandes
, Sergei Ignashevich and Vasili Berezutski look likely to be the trio at the back tonight. However, there could be changes should Bayern take control from the first whistle.
How will CSKA approach this game tonight? At home, they are usually urged to attack every opponent they face, but I'm not sure if they'll dare offer too much room to CSKA. Musa offers a good option with his pace and trickery up front, although he could be left isolated for long periods. How CSKA compete with Bayern's midfield will be key.
Incredibly, CSKA have been unable to name seven substitutes for this game tonight. Injuries have been regular in recent weeks, but it's a surprise to see only five names on the bench.
CSKA: Chepchugov, Nababkin, Efremov, Bazelyuk, Doumbia
BAYERN: Reina, Boateng, Rafinha, Shaqiri, Pizarro, Rode, Hojbjerg
Bayern are once again without Franck Ribery as he continues to battle with a troublesome knee, and that puts even more pressure on Arjen Robben, who seems to be getting better with each season that passes. The Dutch winger may well hold the key tonight, but he will surely be guarded closely.
Complacency seems to have been the key factor leading up to this match following CSKA's heavy defeat to Roma, but Guardiola has insisted that his side will be fully prepared for the challenge. The Spaniard told reporters: "They have a good coach and have almost the same players who were with them last season. The club needs to be respected no matter what, even despite their result in Rome. This is a very difficult opponent and we will respect them fully."
PREDICTION: We're less than 20 minutes away from kickoff, so it's time to have a guess at what the score will be tonight. It's hard to believe that CSKA can be quite as bad as they were against Roma a fortnight ago, but they face an even tougher task against Bayern. I can't see anything other than a victory for Guardiola's side. 3-0 to Bayern.
A worrying fact for every other team in this competition is that Bayern are not even close to being at full strength yet. As was mentioned a few minutes ago, Ribery is still on the sidelines, but Guardiola is also without Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber and Thiago Alcantara due to injury problems.
Robben could be they key man for the visitors this evening, and he's certainly enjoyed himself when facing CSKA in recent times. The Dutchman scored in both games last season, and has found the net in each of his previous three appearances against CSKA.
Here we go then. The players are in the tunnel and kickoff is now just five minutes away. Remember, this match is being played behind closed doors tonight due to the racist flags waved by CSKA supporters against Viktoria Plzen last December. There was also reported to be trouble in Rome a fortnight ago. Not a great sight for fans of Russian football.
Without being driven on by their supporters, CSKA are surely at a disadvantage. Bayern do not have to deal with the fiery atmosphere usually created in Moscow. Will that make any difference? The visitors will get the game underway.
Bayern are on the front foot inside the Arena Khimki. The Bundesliga champions are already dominating possession as Alonso looks to dictate the tempo of the match.
CSKA almost gift an opportunity to the visitors when Tosic pass reaches Robben, who links up well with Lewandowski before seeing a shot blocked on the edge of the box. The home side cannot afford to make mistakes such as that one.
A pattern is beginning to emerge already as CSKA defend from a deep position in an attempt to limit the space on offer to Bayern's creative players. They must find some way of countering effectively, otherwise it will be difficult to stick to this plan.
Musa is already looking an isolated figure in attack for the hosts. The Nigerian has been forced to chase a couple of long balls, but Dante is offering him nothing in advanced areas of the pitch.
Just as I mention Musa's struggles, the forward connects with a chipped pass over the top before sending a lobbed effort over the crossbar from a tight angle. No concerns for Neuer on that occasion.
CHANCE! The first chance of the game falls to Gotze when Bernat delivers an excellent cross for the World Cup winner, but he is unable to prevent his shot from drifting wide of the target.
It's looking like a 5-4-1 formation for CSKA tonight. The Berezutskiy twins have joined Ignashevich in the centre of defence as the hosts look to frustrate Bayern.
SAVE! Poor from CSKA as they allow a corner to be taken short to Robben, who cuts onto his left foot before seeing a powerful strike tipped past the post by Akinfeev. The Russian goalkeeper will be desperate to impress after struggling against Roma two weeks ago.
Bayern are piling on the pressure now as Lewandowski glances a weak header wide of the post from Alonso's corner. It was a half chance for the Polish striker, whose disappointed face suggests that he should have done better.
CHANCE! CSKA need to take every opportunity they get, but one has just slipped away. It's a good move from the hosts as they shift the ball from left to right wing, and Fernandes does well to pull a cross back for Milanov, whose tame effort is easily held by Neuer.
Lovely football from Gotze and Robben as they weave their magic on the edge of the box. The latter delivers a dangerous ball across the box, but Muller is denied by a great tackle from Shchennikov.
Bayern win a free kick on the edge of the box and there's plenty of players bidding to unleash a shot. Alonso wins the lottery, but his curled effort is straight at Akinfeev.
It's very strange watching a game at this level and being able to hear almost every shout from the players on the pitch. There's only a few people who have been allowed into the stadium tonight, and you can't help but feel that CSKA must react quickly to the disappointment of not being allowed to let their fans in. Bayern still on top.
PENALTY! Terrible from Fernandes, who gifts Bayern a chance to break the deadlock by chopping down Gotze with an awful tackle.
GOAL! CSKA 0-1 BAYERN (MULLER)
Muller steps up from 12 yards to rifle home the opening goal for Bayern. A replay suggests that the initial contact may have taken place on the edge of the box, but it was a foolish challenge from Fernandes. Interestingly, it sounded like Guardiola was asking Lewandowski to take the penalty before Muller found the back of the net.
SHOT! Bayern almost get themselves into trouble when they twice miss the opportunity to clear a corner. Eremenko is inches away from taking advantage as he fires a powerful strike just over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Lewandowski has the ball in the back of the net following a brilliant spell of one-touch football from Bayern, but the offside flag cuts short any celebrations. CSKA are reluctant to put too much pressure on Lahm and Alonso, who are running the midfield for the visitors at the moment.
There will come a time when CSKA have to commit a few more players forward, but I'm sure Slotsky's side will be cautious for a bit longer yet. They're battling well at the back to prevent Lewandowski from getting involved. However, Bayern are holding all the cards as they continue to dominate possession.
It's a joy to watch these Bayern players switch positions with apparent ease. Alaba, in particular, seems to be popping up all over the pitch, while nearly every midfielder seems to have dropped into defence at some stage. CSKA aren't sure who to mark.
SAVE! Muller earns himself a yard of space, and tests Akinfeev with a swerving effort from distance, but the Russian shot-stopper manages to push the ball to safety. It didn't look great, but he'll be happy just to keep that one out.
CHANCE! CSKA should be level. A long ball forward is superbly collected by Musa, who battles his way through before firing a shot straight at Neuer. The ball then breaks loose to Tosic, but he can only send a wayward effort over the crossbar. Both players needed to show some composure. Will CSKA regret those misses?
Gotze almost picks out the bottom corner when a deflected effort spins past the hand of Akinfeev before rolling out for a corner. Bayern waste the opportunity to put more pressure on when Robben is penalised for staying in an offside position from the set-piece.
YELLOW CARD! Lahm becomes the first player to receive a caution when he pulls back Shchennikov on the edge of the box as CSKA looked to create another chance. It's a good opportunity for the hosts from here.
CROSSBAR! Bayern think the danger is gone when Dante gets a head on the free kick. However, CSKA come even closer to levelling the scores when Eremenko clips the effort with a curled strike from the corner of the box. That would have been a stunning goal.
Lewandowski does very well to lose his marker in the box, but he's too far out to really trouble Akinfeev with a weak header from Gotze's cross.
Bayern are still dominating possession, but Guardiola will want a second goal to kill off the CSKA challenge. The hosts are showing signs of improvement as the first half progresses.
CHANCE! Bayern cut through the CSKA defence far too easily, but it's a surprise to see Robben offload the ball when the shot looked on. Lewandowski takes over before seeing a shot blocked in the box. Gotze is the final player to have an opportunity to double the lead, but his deflected effort is gathered by Akinfeev.
HALF TIME: CSKA 0-1 BAYERN
A thoroughly entertaining first half is brought to an end by the referee's whistle. As expected, Bayern have been dominant with the ball and took the lead through Muller's penalty. However, CSKA have threatened on a number of occasions and the hosts will probably feel that they should be level. They could be punished for their inability to finish off good chances.
Bayern threatened to rub salt in the CSKA wounds just before the break when Robben led that attack, but the visitors are still in charge of this one. Despite controlling the game for long periods, it does feel like Guardiola's side have another gear to find in the second half.
CSKA might feel slightly frustrated by the penalty they conceded when Fernandes fouled Gotze. The first contact between the players definitely took place outside the box, but the CSKA defender seemed to have another swipe at the German a moment later. It's difficult to sympathise with such a poor piece of defending.
Can CSKA claim something from this match? Slotsky could turn to Seydou Doumbia in the second half if he wants to give Musa some help in attack. The next goal is crucial. If Bayern find the net again, it could be a comfortable finish for the visitors.
The players are back out on the pitch in Moscow. No changes yet from either manager ahead of the second half. CSKA will get the match back underway.
In similar fashion to the first half, Bayern begin the second 45 minutes on the front foot as Muller looks to release Robben on the right wing before seeing the ball drift out of his reach. Bernat then watches a deflected effort hit the side netting from a tight angle.
CSKA have barely had a touch of the ball in the early stages of the second half. Lewandowski does superbly to take the ball past a couple of defenders in a congested box, but his cross is cleared away. Bayern keep the move alive to find Robben, who eventually sends a weak shot straight at Akinfeev.
In fairness to CSKA, they're holding their defensive shape very impressively as Bayern continue to dominate possession in midfield. You just feel that one of these creative players will find a way through soon, though.
Musa makes a nuisance of himself once again by battling away to unleash two shots, with the latter being deflected behind for a corner. Bayern deal with threat well as the visitors clear the ball away.
Superb from Shchennikov, who follows the run of Lewandowski very well to make a vital block after the Polish forward had collected Gotze's lobbed pass inside the penalty area.
It looks like a lack of composure might cost CSKA tonight. Tosic leads the home side forward once again, but he ignores Musa inside the box and slices a poor effort well wide of the target.
Robben does very well to pick out Gotze on the left side of the box, but his teammate wastes the opportunity to deliver a cross as his poor effort is blocked. An offside flag prevents Bayern from making further progress moments later.
Is it time for Slutsky to take a gamble? Doumbia is warming up on the sidelines now, and it could be time to send him on to join Musa in attack. The pattern of the match is continuing as CSKA defend from deep and invite pressure from the visitors.
Guardiola has been screaming orders at Lahm in the past few minutes, and the Bayern skipper appears to be spending more time in a wider position as a result. He links well with Muller on the right, but Alaba can only fire over the crossbar after collecting a cross at the back post.
Robben is looking very frustrated as he attempts to speed the tempo up by dropping deeper. He's drifted in and out of the game tonight, and has struggled to find the space he craves. CSKA deserve credit for that.
SUBSTITUTION: The expected change finally takes place as Doumbia comes off the bench to replace Natcho. It looks like Musa may operate from the left now.
YELLOW CARD! Doumbia is involved immediately as he wins a free kick after being caught by Benatia, who is booked for the challenge. The defender is a little unlucky as replays show he did make contact with the ball first.
It just isn't clicking for Bayern inside the box as Lewandowski delays a shot before seeing a hopeful back-heel miss its intended target. Will there be a twist in the final quarter of the match?
Gotze is wayward again when he collects a ball 25 yards from goal before slicing a speculative strike wide of the target.
CSKA's challenge appears to be fading now, and they will be regretting those missed chances in the first half. Musa is struggling to get involved as much as he did early on as Bayern deal with the limited threat easily.
There has been a few signs that some of CSKA's players are starting to tire. The ball is being gifted back to Bayern far too often, and spaces are beginning to be created in the final third of the pitch. Tosic's poor night continues as he ignores his teammates before hitting a poor effort straight at Neuer from outside the box.
SUBSTITUTION: Guardiola turns to his bench for the first time as Gotze makes way for Xherdan Shaqiri.
SUBSTITUTION: The changes keep on coming as Dmitri Efremov replaces Tosic for the final 12 minutes plus stoppage time.
Lahm is the calmest man in Moscow as he drops to his knees to head the ball back to Neuer as Doumbia looked to put the pressure on inside the box. CSKA have no choice from here. They have to send more players forward if they are to get Doumbia into the game.
SUBSTITUTION: Robben's night is over as he leaves the field to be replaced by Rafinha. It's been a bit of a mixed bag for the Dutch winger.
Lahm starts an attack with a brilliant challenge on Milanov, before delivering a cross to the back post for Shaqiri, who is caught in two minds and eventually loses the ball in a great position.
CHANCE! Benatia carries the ball forward very well before sliding through an excellent pass for Muller, who decides against shooting under pressure from Akinfeev. Shaqiri can't reach his intended pass as CSKA clear the danger.
SAVE! Another opportunity is missed by Bayern. Lahm lobs a superb pass over the CSKA defence, but Akinfeev is off his line quickly to block Shaqiri's shot at goal.
CSKA finally apply some pressure in this second half, but Alaba makes a vital contribution for Bayern as he blocks Milanov's effort on the edge of the box. Time is running out for the hosts.
SUBSTITUTION: Claudio Pizarro is on for Lewandowski as Bayern look to wrap up the win in Moscow. The fourth official confirms there will be three minutes added on.
Pizarro almost makes an instant impact when he attempts to convert a weak back pass, but Akinfeev reacts quickly once again to block the forward's effort.
CSKA just can't get hold of the ball in stoppage time. Bayern look comfortable now as they slow the pace of the game down, while still dominating possession.
FULL TIME: CSKA 0-1 BAYERN
Job done for Bayern Munich. Guardiola's side collect all three points thanks to Muller's penalty. CSKA had chances to get back into the game, but qualification looks almost impossible for them now after two defeats in a row.
That's all from our live coverage of this match, but there will be analysis and reaction on the way very shortly. Thanks for joining me!