Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac hopes to “go far” in the Champions League this season after their 2-0 win at Benfica on Wednesday. Bayern began their European campaign with a victory in Portugal thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski and ex-Benfica man Renato Sanches, who was making his first start for the German giants since May 2017 after a disastrous loan spell at Swansea.
“We wanted to have a good start in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League,” he said in his post-match interview.
“We knew Benfica have an exceedingly good team. They have a straightforward approach and try to finish quickly. We had to fight, we had many presentable chances but failed to make the most of them, we could have closed it out earlier.
“We want to go far in the Champions League. We have to stay focused, we know we’re being hunted by everyone.”
Kovac was also quick to praise Sanches, 21, who received a standing ovation from the home fans following his goal.
“Like I said in Munich, Renato wasn’t going to be our travel guide,” he said. “Actually Thiago [Alcantara] should have played, but when we knew he was going to miss the game, I thought it was the right time to let Renato play.
“What he did tonight was special. You could see why he is such a good player in his young age. A player with high technical and physical skills. And then he even scored.
“I have to make a compliment to him and the Portuguese supporters, that they gave him applause. You don’t see that very often. That speaks for their favour.”