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Champions League | Triple Pack For The Anniversary: Lewandowski Leads Bayern Early Into The Second Round

FC Bayern are already in the last sixteen of the Champions League after four group games. The German record champions scored five beautiful goals against Benfica Lisbon - three of them by Robert Lewandowski. Even if not everything worked.

A mixture of smiles and disbelief spread across the face of world footballer Lewandowski. Ironically, in his 100th Champions League game, he missed a penalty in a pitiful way. He should be able to cope with it - not only with regard to the end result, but also with regard to his own performance.

Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann had already announced a change in the run-up to the game. The most surprising personality: Because both Hernandez and Süle were missing, Nianzou was allowed to run in the three-man chain alongside Upamecano and Pavard and for the first time play in the Bayern jersey in the Champions League. Compared to the  away win at Union Berlin, Pavard, Goretzka and Gnabry also came into the team, Stanisic, Tolisso and Müller moved on to the bench.

In possession of the ball, this resulted in a somewhat unusual 3-1-5-1 system in which the birthday boy Davies and Coman occupied the outside positions - and did a lot of business there. Coman presented himself as an asset in the initial phase and prepared two good opportunities with tempo dribbles by Gnabry (6th) and Pavard (20th), Davies forced Benfica goalkeeper Vlachodimos with a fine flick to a strong parade (19th).

Coman plays Grimaldo dizzy: Lewandowski heads the 1-0

However, the guests played well and showed their offensive qualities again and again, a goal from Verissimo after a corner did not count due to a narrow offside position by preparer Pizzi (15th). Benfica coach Jorge Jesus made five changes compared to the 0: 4 in the first leg and brought Morato, Gilberto, Meité, Pizzi and Everton instead of Otamendi, André Almeida, Weigl, Darwin and Rafa.

Despite the many changes, the Portuguese's problem remained the same as in the first leg: They couldn't get the agile Coman under control - and that took revenge: Grimaldo was played dizzy again by Bayern's number 11, the French crossed the second post , where Lewandowski had an easy game from close range - a squeaky clean goal to make it 1-0.

Gnabry increased, Morato shortened, Lewandowski missed

The second goal for the home side was no less worth seeing a short time later: Lewandowski took down a wonderful chip ball from Kimmich and laid it across to Gnabry, who put the ball into the far corner with his heel (32nd). The German international could even have made it 3-0 a little later, but failed after a dream pass from Goretzka because Vlachodimos had rushed out (36th).

Instead, Benfica came back into the game because Morato rose the highest after a short free kick and a great Grimaldo cross and defeated Neuer with a head (38th). FCB was unimpressed and could have restored the old distance before the break if Lewandowski had shot a hand penalty imposed after VAR use (Goretzka shot Verissimo on the extended arm) into the goal instead of into the arms of Vlachodimos (45 + 1).

More beautiful Bayern goals - but also carelessness

Instead of just before half-time, the 3: 1 fell shortly after half-time - and it was nice to see again: Davies headed a chip shift from Kimmich to Sané, who hit the far corner with a remarkable direct decrease (49.) . The fourth goal was no less beautiful: In a lightning-fast switching situation, Kimmich staged Sané, who started off, slowed down and crossed over to Lewandowski at the perfect moment. The jubilee refined the counterattack with a wonderful lifter over Vlachodimos (61st).

During this phase, Benfica had to be careful not to get under the wheels, Sané left a great chance shortly before Bayern's fourth goal (52nd) and shortly after (63rd). Only after a good change was made on both sides did the FCB shift down a gear - and sometimes became a little inattentive. After a bad pass by the substitute Sabitzer, the remaining defense at the German record champions was not right, Benfica joker Darwin scored after preliminary work by Joao Mario through Neuer's legs to 2: 4 (74th).

Neuer does the assist: Lewandowski puts together the three-pack

The Bayern victory was never in serious danger, the 2020 title holder was too stable and controlled. And Lewandowski was too hungry for goals in his 100th Champions League game. This time, goalkeeper Neuer signed on as a template, who found the Pole with one sweep over the Portuguese who had moved out. Lewandowski refined again with a lift - the fifth beautiful Bayern goal that evening. Another was not added because the substitute Sarr was disturbed by Morato shortly before the end (88th) - but of course that didn't change anything about FCB's early round of 16.

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