On Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021 the champions of the German League, Bayern Munich, defeated Benfica with a final tally of 5 to 2. This victory for Bayern gives them a perfect record of 4 and 0 in the group stage cementing their place in the Champions League last 16.
The Polish-born striker Robert Lewandowski scored three goals for a hat trick during this last match for Bayern Munich. Lewandowski has now netted 81 goals throughout his 100 career Champions League contests.
The Glorious Return of Manager Julian Nagelsmann to Bayern Munich
Following his 4 – game absence from the Bayern Munich Football Club due to testing positive for COVID 19, Bayern’s head coach, Julian Nagelsmann, rejoined the squad for this satisfying and well-deserved win. Nagelsmann was not present for Bayern’s 4 to 0 victory over Benfica in Portugal during his required quarantine period over the last couple of weeks.
Julian also had to watch from a distance as his team’s usually sound defense gave up 5 goals in a 5 to loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach last week in their German Cup match. That loss marked Bayern Munich’s worst result in over 40 – years.
Early Signs of Weakness for Bayern Munich
In their match this week against Benfica poor marking early on demonstrated some signs of sloppy play which inevitably enabled Benfica to net a goal early which was narrowly ruled out due to offsides. The sloppiness continued later on when Bayern failed to stop a free kick leading to the Benfica defender Morato to score as Bayern Munich had held a 2 to 0 lead up to that point.
Bayern’s Strong Offensive Attack
Up front on the attack was business as usual for Bayern Munich’s deadly assassin striker quartet of Lewandowski, Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, and Serge Gnabry who combined forces in order to tactically destroy the defense of Benfica.
Bayern Munich struck first as Coman beautifully danced his way through Benfica’s penalty area beating 2 defenders then crossing for Lewandowski who headed in the opening goal of the match in the 26th minute. The highly – skilled Polish striker, Lewandowski, was the big – play contributor just 6 minutes later by squaring the football for Gnabry to finish in style with a fancy backheel goal score.
Morato’s goal for Benfica as well as a missed penalty shot from Lewandowski who had scored his last 7 penalty shots) slowed Bayern Munich’s advances just prior to halftime. Just after the halftime break, Sané scored the 3rd goal for Bayern with a devastating volley after Alphonso Davies flicked on a pass from Joshua Kimmich. Bayern’s 4th tally was recorded on a counter-attack when Sané set up Lewandowski nicely as Robert scored his second goal of the match to with a well–placed chip – shot over the reach of Benfica’s goalkeeper.
Even with Bayern out in front, well in control of the contest, and the guarantee of qualifying with two group stage games remaining, there was some more stressful moments for their defense. The Benfica substitute Darwin Nuñez scorched the net with a consolation goal in the 74th minute of play as the Bayern Munich defense reacted way too slow on a counter-attack.
Lewandowski finally earned his hat trick in the 85th minute of this match vs. Benfica with another of his lovely chip-shot finishes. Bayern eventually looked up at the scoreboard after the final whistle of the game to realize they won 5 to 2 which advances them to the Champions League last 16.
The Associated Press News Services. “Bayern beats Benfica to qualify for Champions League last 16”. The Associated Press. November 2, 2021.