VILLARREAL, Spain (AP) – Bayern Munich scored once in each half to beat Villarreal 2-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday as the German powerhouse began its pursuit of a fifth European championship with a victory.
Bayern's margin of victory could have been larger as substitute Nils Petersen came close twice in the second half and Kroos hit the woodwork.
''There is nothing to say. It's only one game,'' said midfielder Ruben ''Cani'' Garcia, whose Villarreal had won its last nine games in European competition at El Madrigal stadium. ''We didn't expect to lose at home, but there are still many games to go in the group stage.''
Bayern's first victory in Spain since 2001 gave it seven straight in all competitions.
The two teams share arguably the competition's toughest group with Manchester City and Napoli.
Early on, Villarreal continued to show the same defensive lapses that have contributed to its winless start to the young Spanish league season.
Ribery had little trouble squirming through the left side of the area before crossing back for the unmarked Kroos to sharply stab the ball into the far right corner of the net in the seventh minute.
Germany midfielder Thomas Muller headed over the top in the 14th as Bayern threatened to extend its lead against its stunned hosts.
Villarreal's strike duo of Giuseppe Rossi and Nilmar tried to take advantage of their speed against the heavy-footed Bayern backline. Rossi latched on to Bruno Soriano's long pass to break behind the defense in Villarreal's best chance of the game in the 22nd, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was well positioned to block the Italy striker's rising shot.
Rafinha replaced a limping Daniel Van Buyten in the 22nd and the Brazilian's quickness helped Bayern keep up with Villarreal's attackers.
Bayern dominated the final stretch of the first half as Ribery continued to cause problems for the Spaniards in defense.
It was Villarreal, however, that came close in the 45th when Mario Gaspar pounced on a loose ball in the area only for Neuer to smother his low shot.
Bayern's new signing Nils Petersen came on for Mario Gomez at halftime and within seconds drew a save from goalkeeper Diego Lopez.
Villarreal coach Juan Carlos Garrido tried to spark his team by sending on Cani for Marcos Senna and having his team pressure up the pitch.
But the Bavarians only tightened their hold on the match.
''We had the ball more in the second half, but we lacked the ability to reach their area and threaten to score,'' Cani said.
Petersen again tested Lopez before Kroos hit the post in the 60th when Muller crossed for the 21-year-old to try and push in with a diving strike.
Rafinha dribbled between the legs of Soriano and beat Lopez with a low blast to decide the contest for good in the 76th.
This year's final will be played at Bayern's home stadium next May.