Monday, November 29, 2021

Bayern Munich 5-2 Benfica: Lewandowski hat-trick on milestone appearance sends Germans through

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Nov 2021

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Robert Lewandowski marked his 100th appearance in the Champions League with his 79th, 80th and 81st goals in the competition as Bayern Munich sealed their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League by beating Benfica 5-2 at the Allianz Arena.

Further goals from Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane secured the win and confirmed Bayern as winners of Group E with two games still remaining.

The victory, in what was Bayern’s 500th game across all European competitions, means Julian Nagelsmann’s men have won all four of their group games, and it is now between Benfica, Barcelona and Dynamo Kiev to fight it out for the remaining qualifying spot.

Benfica started brightly, with Pizzi forcing a save from Manuel Neuer in the first minute, before the visitors had a goal disallowed for offside against the same man in the 15th minute.

Lewandowski headed in a floated cross from Kingsley Coman at the back post to give Bayern the lead on 25 minutes on his milestone evening, and Gnabry doubled the lead six minutes later with a neat flick after a delightful ball over the top from Joshua Kimmich was pulled back by Lewandowski for the former Arsenal man to finish.

Morato headed in an Alex Grimaldo cross on 38 minutes to halve the deficit, before Lewandowski saw a tame penalty saved by Odysseas Vlachodimos just before half-time.

The Bundesliga champions restored their two-goal cushion early in the second half as Sane lashed in after Alphonso Davies headed the ball down to him, before Lewandowski bagged his second and third goals of the night either side of Darwin Nunez’s consolation for the visitors.

What does it mean? Bayern mean business

It was yet another evening in the Champions League when the rest of Europe will have been sweating over the imperious form of the Bavarians.

In their four Group E games, Bayern have scored 17 goals, conceding just twice. That is on top of the 38 goals they have bagged in just 10 outings in the Bundesliga this season.

Lewandowski makes history

Lewandowski became the sixth player to mark his 100th game in the competition with a goal, after Thierry Henry, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andrea Pirlo and Toni Kroos.

However, the former Borussia Dortmund striker also missed his first Champions League penalty after 14 successful attempts, and became the first player to score, assist and miss a penalty in a Champions League game since Diego Costa in November 2013 (Atletico Madrid v Austria Vienna).

Benfica continue to experience the Bayern blues

The Portuguese outfit have failed to beat Bayern in any of their 12 meetings in European competition, with nine of those ending in victories for the German side (D3).

Benfica have also conceded 35 goals in those 12 games while only scoring nine themselves.

Key Opta Facts

– Bayern Munich have won 34 of their past 36 home games in the Champions League group stages (D1 L1), scoring at least once in all 36 matches (113 goals in total).
– Bayern’s 17 goals scored are the joint-most after four games of a Champions League campaign, level with Paris Saint-Germain in 2017-18.
– Gnabry’s past two Champions League goals for Bayern have come in home games, with none of his first nine strikes in the competition coming at the Allianz Arena.
– Lewandowski scored his fourth hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League, the outright third-most in the competition after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi (eight each). At 33 years and 73 days, he’s the fourth-oldest hat-trick scorer in the competition after Olivier Giroud (34y 63d), Ronaldo and Claudio Pizarro (both 34y 35d).
– Sane has been involved in 18 goals in his past 17 appearances in the Champions League, scoring 11 and assisting seven.

What’s next?

Bayern return to Bundesliga action as they host Freiburg on Saturday, while Benfica are also at home in the Primeira Liga against Braga on Sunday.

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SoccerNews

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