FC Bayern were concerned ahead of the match against Salzburg, and there was talk of a possible knockout round of the Champions League. But in the end, things went differently. Bayern’s joy, Salzburg cries.
It sounds as clumsy as it is cliched, but in the end it became the old saying again: If Bayern Munich are challenged, they are there – fully attentive and completely focused. After the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Salzburg (1-1), there was already talk of a possible exit from Bayern Munich. But the German record champions gave a convincing performance and a real party in the second leg: Salzburg had to admit defeat 7: 1 in the end.
Top scorer Robert Lewandowski was fantastic again, contributing three goals to qualify for the quarter-finals (12/21/23). Serge Gnabry (31), Thomas Muller (54/83) and Leroy Sane (85) also scored. Moritz Kigergaard (70) scored for Salzburg, who was completely mired in qualifying.
“It was a statement and an exclamation point,” Captain Manuel Neuer said on Amazon Prime Video. He was happy about the perfect start from the double penalty kick. “We are very pleased with the performance.” Neuer now hopes “it will continue to be this way”. Top scorer Muller twice summed it up: “It was a good match. Everyone knows how important this match is for the season.”
Title dream is alive
Three weeks after a meager 1-1 draw in Salzburg, Bayern are back to their European level. Seven wins and 30:5 goals after eight first-class matches awakened dreams of winning the title. The playful lightness that was missing recently is back. The quarter-final draw will be held on March 18th. “If we succeed in that, the season can be very good,” said leader Muller before the match. Good prophecy.
At the start of the match, all eyes in the arena were on Manuel Neuer. The captain captained Bayern again just four weeks after he underwent surgery on his right knee. And the 35-year-old, despite conceding a goal, had a fantastic evening to come back. But Lewandowski played the main role. In the first minute, the top scorer tested Salzburg goalkeeper Philip Cohn. Coach Julian Nagelsmann relied on his entire attacking group and only three defenders at the back that he loved. “Ultimately, it’s about getting the players in top shape on the pitch,” Nagelsmann explained on Amazon Prime.
Whopper fouls – penalty kick
All went well as winger Kingsley Coman managed to snuff out Nicolas Capaldo for a huge opportunity in his penalty area, set up by Munich-born Karim Adeyemi (2). Then the agile Coman, who was already a top scorer in the last moments of the first leg, started the match 1-0. Lewandowski took his cross with superb technique, and Maximilian Weber of Salzburg had to miss.
Lewandowski hit the penalty kick in the left corner. When the score was 2-0, it was almost the same match: Lewandowski was fouled by Whooper again. Once again the Pole chose the left corner, Cohen jumped to the other side. In the 3-0 win after a pass from Muller, the Bayern Munich forward was lucky because goalkeeper Kuhn, who was pushed out, smashed the ball into his leg. Whooper was also the unfortunate godfather.
Lewandowski scores a hat-trick!
Lewandowski’s hat-trick in the 22nd minute was the fastest in the history of the Champions League. The most recent was Lewandowski in a 6-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in November 2019, even scoring four times in the span of a quarter hour. But it was even more important in the knockout match against the youth of Salzburg, who brutally overstepped their bounds but did not give up.
After an early clarification of the balance of power in his training area, Bayern coach Nagelsmann was able to watch his eleven confrontations without any pressure. RB right back goalkeeper Cohn fired Gnabry’s solid shot under his right hand. And three days after his first career goal in a 1-1 draw against Leverkusen, Muller celebrated two goals with an actually weaker foot. His 51st and 52nd goal was in the Champions League. More will follow in the two semi-final knockout rounds on May 28 in Paris.