Remember when Bayern Munich put seven past Barcelona over two legs on their way to winning the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League? Remember when the record Bundesliga champions scored seven goals in one night away to English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur? bundesliga.com serves up FIVE reasons why Bayern can emulate the class of 2013 and reclaim Ol' Big Ears...
Tottenham took out Pep Guardiola's Manchester City before falling to a narrow 2-0 defeat to Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool in last season's Champions League final, but Mauricio Pochettino's men could not live with Bayern on a chastening night of capital punishment in north London. Despite taking the lead through former Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen old boy Heung-Min Son, Spurs wilted as Group B leaders Bayern delivered a veritable tour de force. The manner in which the men from Munich roared back on unfamiliar soil - the Bundesliga leaders were playing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time - to take a 2-1 half-time lead was impressive, but their second-half display was out of this world.
The fundamentals, the execution and a few touches of the extraordinary - Bayern did not put a foot wrong in one of the finest performances by a team in the Champions League since the five-time European champions dispatched Barcelona 7-0 in the 2012/13 semi-finals. Niko Kovac's men didn't just paint London red, they shook Europe to its foundation.
2) Lewandowski is the best No.9 in Europe
Robert Lewandowski provided a number of those aforementioned individual touches of class. Receiving a Benjamin Pavard throw-in on the left-hand side of the Tottenham box, the Bayern No.9 nonchalantly used his heel to flick the ball over the head of Jan Vertonghen to kick-start a move he would finish with aplomb to give his side the lead late in the first half. White shirts scrambled to clear as Lewandowski lifted an inviting cross into the area, but Bayern hunted in packs to win back possession on the edge of the D. Corentin Tolisso and Serge Gnabry combined to nudge the ball into a pocket of space now occupied by a certain Polish front man. He took one touch, before rifling on the turn into the bottom corner.
Watch: Robert Lewandowski under the tactical microscope
But if Lewandowski's first effort was 10 seconds of sheer genius, his second was one moment of unadulterated brilliance. The anticipation for Philippe Coutinho's audacious outside-of-the-boot pass (more on that later!) and the temerity to take on a spinning ball first-time speaks of a striker on top of his game and on top of the world. That's now 14 goals in 10 competitive games and counting for LewanGOALski in 2019/20 - not to mention 24 for the calendar year; more than Lionel Messi...
3) Once there was Robbery, now there is Gnabman
It's not the first time one of football's greatest ever players has been outdone by a man (or men) in the red of Bayern. Messi was peripheral at best when Jupp Heynckes' treble winners dismantled Barcelona 4-0 and 3-0 in the 2012/13 semi-finals. The Argentine was put on lock down by Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez, allowing Bayern's own attacking wizards to work their magic in the final third. Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben - aka Robbery - did just that, and the two were at in again in the final, combining for the match-winning goal against Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley Stadium. The legendary duo left the club this past summer, but Bayern already had two ready-made replacements waiting in the wings to ease the transition and build a new legacy. Step forward, Gnabman.
Gnabry - a player once deemed surplus to requirements at Arsenal and not up to Premier League level by former West Bromwich Albion boss Tony Pulis (the mind boggles!) - scored four times against Tottenham, and might have had more. Although Kingsley Coman didn't see his name up in lights, the Frenchman was a hive of activity and constant thorn in the side of the opposition full-backs. Needless to say there's not a defender in Europe who will welcome the prospect of going toe-to-toe with Bayern's freshly crowned Kings of the Wing.
4) Coutinho + Thiago = midfield mastery at its finest
If Bayern's wide boys come with a parental advisory warning, their Samba-blooded string-pullers are rated a big fat R. Brazil international Coutinho started and finished the game in London, building on his back-to-back goals and assists on Bundesliga Matchdays 5 and 6 with another quietly menacing performance in midfield. He mucked in defensively, dropped deep to instigate moves and chipped in with a contender for assist of the night, supplying Lewandowski with an exquisite pass that will torment Tottenham's centre-backs for the rest of their careers.
Bayern have scarcely had the pleasure of such an effective operator in the No.10 role, but their No.6 is a tried-and-tested game-changer. Thiago - the son of Brazilian FIFA World Cup winner Mazinho - made an immediate impact after replacing David Alaba at half-time against Spurs, expertly binding defence and attack, as well as supplying a laser-guided ball over the top of the home defence for Gnabry to complete his hat-trick. The Spain international has experienced his fair share of Champions League heartache since joining Bayern from Barca in 2013, but Coutinho by his side might just be the sought-after fix.
5) A legendary last line of defence
Had Bayern not been so devastatingly effective in attack against Spurs, it may well have been Manuel Neuer's name adorning the back pages on Wednesday morning. The Bayern and Germany No.1 came up with some HUGE saves at key stages in the game, reminding onlookers worldwide why he remains the touchstone of modern-day goalkeeping. Neuer lived up to his 'The Wall' moniker by standing up to Son's first effort in anger just five minutes into the contest; he used his size 47s to thwart Tanguy Ndombele prior to Lewandowski's first of the night; and stretched every last sinew to get his fingertips to Christian Eriksen's long-range curler with the scoreline at 4-2. When he was beaten, it was a case of extremely fine margins and unerring finishing: Neuer got a hand to Son's opener, and was a matter of centimetres from pushing away Harry Kane's second-half penalty.
Neuer is one of five members of the team that won the Champions League in 2013 still at the club, and there's every reason to believe he'll be standing atop the podium at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul come May, the two safest hands in football wrapped around what would be Bayern's sixth European crown.
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