The imperious Robert Lewandowski hit a double as Bayern Munich thrashed Chelsea again to ease into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-1 victory on the night.
Willy Caballero’s rashness saw him bring down Lewandowski early on, with VAR eventually handing the hosts a penalty, which the Pole slotted home with ease.
Ivan Perisic then capitalised on some outstanding pressing from Bayern to double the lead. While Callum Hudson-Odoi’s effort was ruled out by VAR due to Tammy Abraham starting the move in an offside position.
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The England striker did pull one back, capitalising from close range after Manuel Neuer poorly palmed out an Emerson cross.
Corentin Tolisso and another from Lewandowski put some more gloss on the scoreline, as Hansi Flick’s side ran out 7-1 winners on aggregate – here are five things we learned.
Lewandowski on the brink of greatness
Robert Lewandowski scored – he always does – yet his goals tonight lifted the Polish striker ahead of Karim Benzema on 66 Champions League goals – that’s 53 goals this season.
He is now within reach of Raul, or, the highest scorer in the competition’s history not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
Since heartache at the hands of his current employers in 2013 with Borussia Dortmund though, Lewandowski is searching for that elusive Champions League title – which is even more glaring compared to Benzema’s collection of four.
Only Gerd Muller (515) has more goals than Lewandowski (242) for Bayern, but now, as the talisman for Hansi Flick’s side, inspiring glory in Lisbon would elevate him to immortal status in European football.
Caballero error highlights glaring weakness
There was no reprieve for Kepa Arrizabalaga here, with Willy Caballero retaining his place between the sticks and while the Argentine has proven less error-prone in relief for the Spaniard, tonight provided a reminder that his form has been the best case scenario.
A rash decision to rush out and take out Robert Lewandowski to hand Bayern a penalty only underlines the priority now for Frank Lampard this summer.
Reliability must be the requisite for any target with a new goalkeeper the foundation to Lampard’s plans moving forward.
Abraham provides encouraging response to Werner arrival
Tammy Abraham has been forced to watch on as Olivier Giroud has taken centre stage with an excellent run of form since the restart.
The injury is behind him now though and despite limited game time, the young striker has displayed an outstanding attitude to respond to the situation, particularly with Timo Werner’s arrival.
Abraham’s pressing was outstanding here, harassing Jerome Boateng and David Alaba, dragging the pair out towards the channels and maintaining a presence in the box – which was rewarded after Manuel Neuer’s howler. Abraham fully recovered and in this form will force Lampard to consider a formation switch or to utilise Werner in a wider role.
Kimmich’s absurd versatility hands Flick solution ahead of quarter-final
Joshua Kimmich has revelled in his role in front of the back four for Bayern since Hansi Flick’s arrival, but his versatility should not be forgotten.
A world class right-back as well, the Germany international slotted in seemlessly here, even if it was evident how desperate he was to join in further forward.
What Flick will need to consider before next week is whether losing Kimmich as a metronome in the middle is worth adding greater physicality alongside Thiago with Leon Goretzka and an upgrade on Alvaro Odriozola at full-back.
With an almost unfair level of depth to this squad, finding the right combination is likely to be the deciding factor as Bayern look to navigate their way to the final in Portugal.
Neuer sloppiness causes Bayern concern
Manuel Neuer was perhaps guilty of relaxing too much entering the second leg, with Bayern all but earning their place in the quarter-finals before kick-off.
But Hansi Flick must ensure it is just that, with the German goalkeeper guilty of an awful error to gift Tammy Abraham a goal and a way back into the game on the night, even if the tie was dead.
He was also somewhat questionable when Callum Hudson-Odoi curled a shot into the bottom right corner with a crisp strike, though the placement was not enough to leave one of the best shot-stoppers in the world without a chance.
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