Saturday, June 19, 2021

Bayern Munich 5-2 Augsburg: Lewandowski dramatically surpasses Muller record on day of fond farewell

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 May 2021

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Robert Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing record for goals scored in a single Bundesliga season with a last-gasp effort as Bayern Munich routed Augsburg 5-2 on a day of fond farewells.

The prolific Pole could only watch on as an own goal plus efforts from Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman had the champions flying at half-time of the season finale at the Allianz Arena.

But, after consolations from Andre Hahn and Florian Niederlechner, Lewandowski followed in when Rafal Gikiewicz spilled Leroy Sane’s effort to make it 41 top-flight goals for the season with the last kick of the game.

It was a dramatic ending to an emotional outing, which was the last for head coach Hansi Flick and modern-day Bayern greats David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez.

Bayern led when Jeffrey Gouweleeuw inadvertently turned in Gnabry’s drilled cross.

Gnabry then headed into an unguarded goal after Coman had struck the post and Gikiewicz had twice denied Bayern all in one breathless move.

Manuel Neuer maintained Bayern’s advantage by parrying away Daniel Caligiuri’s penalty, awarded when Benjamin Pavard clipped the heels of Niederlechner.

Kimmich’s drilled 30-yard effort into the top-right corner was in stark contrast to a desperate Lewandowski, who missed three chances either side of that thunderbolt.

Coman’s low drive into the bottom-left corner made it 4-0 before the break and Lewandowski was foiled again shortly before the hour by a last-gasp challenge from Gouweleeuw.

Augsburg replied first through Hahn’s header from Laszlo Benes’ whipped free-kick, with scorer turning provider for Niederlechner to coolly slot past Neuer.

Just when it looked like Lewandowski would agonisingly miss out, he reacted quickest when Gikiewicz could only parry Sane’s effort, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted into an empty goal before whipping off his shirt in sheer jubilation.

What does it mean? Over to you, Julian…

Flick all but confirmed football’s worst-kept secret that he is likely to become Germany’s new boss after the rescheduled Euro 2020 championship.

In his place will be one of the most sought-after young coaches in Julian Nagelsmann. On this evidence, the two seem a perfect match and the rest of the competition faces an almighty challenge to deny Bayern – who became just the third Bundesliga team in history to score in every matchday – a 10th straight title next term.

Just in the nick of time for Lewi!

Prior to the game, Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl – who worked with the legendary Muller when he was assistant coach in Bayern’s reserves – vowed to man-mark Lewandowski to protect his idol’s record.

In truth, the visitors did not do a particularly good job of that, with Lewandowski missing several opportunities.

He had 10 shots, six of which were on target, and three key passes but it was his last touch that proved telling for a player at the peak of his powers.

Farewell to Flick, Alaba, Boateng and Martinez

It has been a memorable 18 months for head coach Flick, who led Bayern to seven major honours including a famous treble last term.

But it was also a day to say goodbye to a trio of legends in Alaba, Boateng and Martinez, all of whom have been so influential in Bayern’s decade of dominance.

Between the three, there are 675 Bundesliga appearances and a mind-boggling 73 major trophies. This win was a classy way to say a fond farewell.

What’s next?

It’s another season wrap on the Bundesliga, with several Bayern stars now preparing for international ventures. Augsburg are safely back in the top flight for next term too.

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