Robert Lewandowski leads Bayern Munich to comfortable first-leg win at Lazio in UEFA Champions League last 16
Robert Lewandowski, Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane were among the scorers as UEFA Champions League holders Bayern Munich took a huge step towards the 2020/21 quarter-finals courtesy of a blistering 4-1 win at Lazio in their last-16 first leg.
The reigning European and world champions are heavily favoured to progress from this two-legged encounter against a team currently sitting sixth in Serie A, and the visitors swiftly showed why in Rome. Bayern had already been probing dangerously when Mateo Musacchio’s short backpass was pounced upon by Lewandowski. The Pole rarely lets such mistakes go unpunished, and he skipped by Lazio keeper Pepe Reina to slot home his 32nd goal of the season in all competitions. Luis Alberto was denied by Manuel Neuer on a rare break from Lazio, but the Italians soon found themselves two down. A clever, scooped pass from Leon Goretzka found Musiala in a central position on the edge of the area and the teenager - who turns 18 on Friday - drilled a sweet low shot to the right of Reina. Lewandowski was then thwarted by Reina before David Alaba blocked a close-range effort from former Borussia Dortmund striker Ciro Immobile at the other end. Bayern looked the much more likely to score, though, and they did so again shortly before the break. Kingsley Coman won the ball in his own half and ate up the yards to get into the Lazio penalty box. When the French winger was done toying with his man, his left-footed strike was well saved by Reina. Sane was well placed, though, to tap home on the rebound.
Lazio were no doubt relieved to get a breather at half-time and hopeful when they got a corner a minute into the second half. But Bayern broke in thrilling fashion from that very same set-piece to leave the home side shell-shocked once again. Sane raced from halfway to the Lazio are and turned Patric inside out, before fizzing a low ball across the six-yard box. Alphonso Davies was waiting to tap it home, but Francesco Acerbi beat him to it. The Lazio defender, though, could do little more than turn the ball into his own net. Joaquin Correa replied with a fine individual goal two minutes later, and Neuer then made a good save from Manuel Lazzari’s curling effort from the corner of the area. The frenetic pace dropped a bit thereafter, with Lazio picking up five yellow cards in their efforts to limit the damage. Lewandowski had another effort saved late on, and only a freak result in Munich can now prevent his side from reaching the last eight.
Lewandowski is now third on the all-time list of Champions League scorers on 73 goals, behind only Lionel Messi (118) and Cristiano Ronaldo (132).
Musiala is Bayern's youngest European Cup/ Champions League scorer, aged 17 years and 363 days.
Sane has scored three goals in five Champions League appearances for Bayern.
Reigning champions Bayern are unbeaten in 18 Champions League matches, winning 17 and drawing just once during that run.
Bayern have reached the Champions League quarter-finals or better in eight of the last nine seasons.
The six-time European champions are unbeaten in their last 17 away matches in the competition, dating back to Matchday 1 of the 2017/18 groups.
Champions League Round of 16 Round of 16 Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Bayern secure a huge first-leg lead, making a potentially tricky away trip look very easy indeed. Lazio got the better of Borussia Dormtund on Matchday 1 of the group stage but they were blown away here. Lewandowski got the reigning champions started by punishing a poor back pass, and the Pole has picked up the Man of the Match award after going close to scoring on several other occasions too. It was a great night for Musiala too, as he became Bayern's youngest ever scorer in the Champions League with his fine second goal. Sane got the third on the rebound before the break, and then forced Acerbi's own goal after it. Correa got a nice consolation goal for the Italians but long before full-time they looked like a team that knew this tie is already beyond them. The second leg is in Munich on 17 March.
ALABA FREE-KICK OFF TARGET
One last chance for Bayern, but Alaba's free-kick from close to 30 yards out drifts harmlessly wide.
LITTLE TO REPORT
It's been a lot calmer in the final half hour, with Lewandowski drawing a late save from Reina being the highlight.
The answer to my previous question is an emphatic yes! Lazio have a corner but it quickly turns into a terrifying counter for Bayern. Sane is played in down the left on the halfway line and proceeds to turn Lazio defender Patric inside out as he gets to the area. He whips a low cross across the six-yard area where Alphonso Davies is waiting to tap in. Francesco Acerbi intervenes but all he can do is turn the ball into his own net.
We're back underway in Rome. Will Bayern, who had nine attempts on goal and six on target in the first half, continue to dominate?
Well that was impressive! Bayern take a well-earned break after tearing Lazio to shreds in that first half. It got to the stage where it looked like they would score each time they attacked, but it all started with Lewandowski pouncing on a backpass to get his fourth goal in this season's competition. Musiala then thumped home a second before Sane got his third goal in this season's Champions League shortly before the break.
72 AND COUNTING
KIMMICH SHOT SAVED
Kimmich has a go with his left from inside the area, but it's a comfortable take for Reina.
BAYERN GET THEIR THIRD!
Bayern are really in the mood tonight and this tie could be over before half-time. Kingsley Coman has lots of space down the left and after he's done toying with his man, the French winger sees his left-footed strike from inside the area well saved by Reina. Sane is on hand, though, to tap home the rebound.
Lazio break down the right and when a low cross comes to Lulic on the far side of the area, he cleverly cuts the ball back to Immobile on the penalty spot. The ex-Dortmund striker's eyes light up, but David Alaba manages to get in the way and block the ball behind for a corner.
LEAWANDOWSKI GOES CLOSE!
The ball runs for Lewandowski in the area and the Poland captain lets out a scream as he doesn't catch his effort cleanly and Reina saves it with his foot.
Musiala turns 18 on Friday and he's got himself an early birthday present with a drilled finish to the corner from the edge of the corner. His first Champions League goal came right after Lazio threatened for the first time, with Luis Alberto denied by Neuer after a good break from Correa.
Niklas Süle gets in down the right of the area and has a cross cut out. Joshua Kimmich quickly does likewise
Bayern have had most of the ball so far as they probe for an opening.
We're underway in Rome. An away goal or two would be nice for Bayern. A win against a team currently sixth in Serie A would be even better...
EYES ON MUSIALA
Joachim Löw revealed last month he plans to call up Bayern teenager Jamal Musiala to the senior Germany squad for the March internationals. Musiala, who joined Bayern from Chelsea in 2019, is eligible to play for Germany and England. Löw has told BILD am Sonntag he is trying to convince the 17-year-old midfielder that his international future lies with the four-time world champions, rather than the Three Lions. "He's an exceptional talent, who is highly valued by Germany and Bayern," he said. "I think he knows one way or another that I want to nominate him. The ball's in his court - it's his decision."
MORE ON LEWY
With 26 in 21 league matches this term, FIFA Best Player Lewandowski has three more top-flight strikes than he did at the same stage last term, as well as three in four Champions League matches. In last season's last 16, Lewandowski gorged on three goals and four assists as Bayern beat Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate, and has 71 goals - a tally that puts him level with Real Madrid and Schalke icon Raul at third on the competition's all-time list - in just 94 Champions League games. That all adds up to danger for a Lazio side that has failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 17 Champions League outings.
ALL 26 OF LEWANGOALSKI'S BUNDESLIGA GOALS THIS SEASON
WHAT INZAGHI SAID
"The game is the highlight of the last five years together with a fantastic group. We want to have a good game and try to have fun. Bayern have won the UEFA Champions League and the Club World Cup. But we've played in lots of finals along the way, so we know how to approach the game."
WHAT FLICK SAID
"It's all about being in top form in the Champions League now. These are special games for us and I expect the team to be especially motivated. We have an idea of how we play football. We intend to do that again from the word go. I am absolutely confident that the team will put that into practice."
NEUER TO NULLIFY IMMOBILE
The main threat for Lazio will be Ciro Immobile. The former Borussia Dortmund striker has 19 goals this season and got five of them in the Champions League group stage. Bayern, though, will be confident that Manuel Neuer can sweep up plenty of problems and prevent Immobile from getting up and running against the six-time European champions.
GORETZKA AND MUSIALA START
There are two changes from the Bayern team that lost 2-1 against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday. Leon Goretzka is back in midfield as expected, while it's a big night for Jamal Musiala. The former Chelsea youngester - who turns 18 on Friday - is in for his second Champions League start.
European champions Bayern Munich return to UEFA Champions League action this evening when they take on Lazio in Italy in the first leg of their last-16 tie. Stay tuned for team news and follow the minute-by-minute action when the game gets underway in Rome.