Robert Lewandowski scored four times in an incredible 16-minute second-half blitz to help give Bayern Munich a crushing 6-0 win at Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday and clinch top spot in UEFA Champions League Group B.
Crvena Zvezda 0-6 Bayern
Goals: 0-1 Goretzka (14'), 0-2 Lewandowski (53' pen.), 0-3 Lewandowski (60'), 0-4 Lewandowski (64'), 0-5 Lewandowski (68'), 0-6 Tolisso (89')
Bayern had been flawless in their four matches in the group stage to date, and with their Last 16 ticket already in assured, they headed to Belgrade in search of the win that would hand them a seeding for the knockout stage draw. They set about their task with gusto, and had already had a number of half-chances and attempts at goal when Leon Goretzka rose majestically to direct a header beyond Borjan from Philippe Coutinho's cross. Lewandowski, who had scored in every round up to Matchday 5, looked strangely out of sorts, and when he did curl a shot into the top corner, VAR spotted a handball by Corentin Tolisso that had teed him up for his magnificent effort.
If it were his brother playing in the first half, it was most certainly the prolific Pole Bayern fans love in the second as he gave them yet more reason for hero worship. A glut of four goals came in an irrepressible burst during which the Serbian hosts were given a masterclass in the art of finishing: a penalty was followed by a predatory stab in from close range, a deft header, and then a cool-as-you-like finish after a one-two with Ivan Perisic. That moved him to fourth on the competition's all-time scorers' list level with Karim Benzema — Real Madrid's scorer against Paris Saint-Germain — on 63. Only Lewandowski's replacement by Thomas Müller 13 minutes from time prevented him finding the net again, and Benzema's second of the night pushed him down the all-time rankings once more, surely only temporarily. Another Frenchman, Tolisso, capped Bayern's win a minute from time to maintain interim coach Hansi Flick's 100 per cent start to his tenure.
- Lewandowski's four-goal haul was the quickest in the competition's history.
- He became only the second player, after Barcelona's Lionel Messi, to score four times in a UEFA Champions League game twice.
- His goals came from just six attempts on target.
- In total, Lewandowski has notched 63 goals in 85 Champions League outings. He is fifth on the competition's all-time scorers list, one shy of Real Madrid's Karim Benzema.
- Bayern are the first club to have two players - Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry - to score four times in Champions League games in the same season.
- Bayern have won their four games under interim coach Flick by an aggregate scoreline of 16-0, beating Olympiacos (2-0) and Crvena Zvezda (6-0) in the Champions League and Borussia Dortmund (4-0) and Düsseldorf (4-0) in the Bundesliga.
- This was the seventh meeting between the two clubs. Bayern have won on four occasions, including a 3-0 home victory in the group stage in mid-September.
- Bayern have reached the Champions League Last 16 for the 12th consecutive season.
- The five-time winners (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013) have won all five of their group games so far this term, scoring 21 goals and conceding just four.
- Red Star captain Marko Marin made 124 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Mönchengladbach and Werder Bremen, registering 12 goals and 44 assists. He also won 16 senior international caps for Germany.
Watch: All of Lewandowski's Bundesliga goals in 2019/20.
Crvena Zvezda: Borjan – Gobeljic, Degenek, Milunovic, Rodic – Canas (Vulic 61'), Petrovic (Ivanic 77') – Vukanovic, Marin (c), Garcia (Pankov 69') - Boakye
Unused subs: Popovic, Tomane, Jander, Van la Parra
Out: Jovicic (ineligible/ knee), Pavkov (ankle)
Coach: Vladan Milojevic
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Pavard, Martinez, Boateng, Davies - Thiago, Tolisso - Coman, Goretzka, Coutinho (Perisic 60') - Lewandowski (Müller 77')
Unused subs: Ulreich, Mai, Kimmich, Gnabry
Out: Alaba (birth of child), Arp (fractured wrist), Cuisance (illness), Hernandez (ankle), Süle (torn ACL)
Coach: Hansi Flick
As it happened
FULL-TIME! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-6 BAYERN
Five group-stage wins from five, four wins for Hansi Flick, top spot in Group B secured, Lewandowski scores again...and again...and again...and again. It's a very good night indeed for Bayern Munich.
89' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-6 BAYERN
Tolisso does get on the scoresheet as he fires home at the near post after being found by Perisic in space inside the box. It's been a little too easy for Bayern in the second half.
87' NEUER MAKES A SAVE
Yes, the Bayern goalkeeper has actually had to stop a ball hitting his net. It was a straightforward stop: the shot was powerful enough but straight at him. The first test for him tonight.
85' ARE YOU LISTENING KARIM BENZEMA?
Apparently he is, as he's scored again for Madrid against PSG - so he's now one ahead of Lewandowski on the all-time list.
83' TOLISSO...BORJAN SAVES THE DAY
Tolisso robs possession back and bears down on goal - Borjan deflects the Frenchman's shot onto his own crossbar and is helped out by his defenders. It could have been six.
77' LEWY HEADS OFF
Thomas Müller sprints on...another brilliant night from Lewandowski, who now has 63 Champions League goals, joint-fourth with Benzema on the all-time list.
Why am I still impressed by Robert Lewandowski? We should all be used to this. But six shots on goal, four goals...that's just not fair. He's making up for those missed first-half chances, and how!
68' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-5 BAYERN
This is so inconsiderate! I haven't even got time to describe the third goal when the fourth goes in, and now Lewandowski exchanges passes with Perisic and all but walks the ball past Borjan and into the net. It's not quite his five in nine minutes against Wolfsburg, but it's not bad.
64' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-4 BAYERN
Copy and paste: only this time it's a Pavard cross, and Lewandowski heads in...
60' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-3 BAYERN
Coutinho skips around Marin and clips up a cross that Tolisso heads down and the predatory Lewandowski - who else? - does the rest, diverting the ball past Borjan from close range. Number 61 then...
58' TOLISSO TEST
The 2018 FIFA World Cup winner sends a drive fizzing goal wards that Borjan pushes out with a smart save low to his right.
55' LEWY'S PLACE IN THE PANTHEON
He's now got 60 Champions League goals in 85 (!! I know, ridiculous strike rate), which is fifth-best all-time. He's still three behind Benzema, who's also scored tonight.
53' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-2 BAYERN
Lewandowski steps up, stutters...and sends Borjan the wrong way. Normal service is resumed.
52' PENALTY FOR BAYERN
Degenek slides in to block a Lewandowski cross, the ball squeezes underneath him and hits his hand before he lands on the turf...it's harsh, but the rules is the rules!!
50' GORETZKA TESTS BORJAN
The Bayern goalscorer fires straight at the hosts' goalkeeper when Coman plays the ball back to him on the edge of the area. A better first touch would have given the ex-Schalke man more of a chance to pick his spot.
46' SECOND HALF KICKS OFF
Buckle up, kids! Here we go again.
45+2' HALF-TIME: CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-1 BAYERN MUNICH
The only down side to that opening 45 minutes for Bayern - and the biggest surprise - is that they only managed the one goal. They were totally dominant, never in danger, but they still only have the most slender of margins.
45' MONDAY, TUESDAY (NEARLY) HAPPY DAYS
Alphonso Davies flashes a first-time shot just over the bar when Coutinho's corner is cleared to him on the edge of the box. Borjan was a total spectator for that one. It would have been a very nice way for the Canadian to open his UEFA Champions League account.
44' ONE MORE BEFORE THE BREAK?
Bayern would certainly like one, and they're pressing hard - you get the sense that the hosts are clinging on.
41' GOAL RULED OUT
Hang on!! Mr Kuipers is getting some VAR help here - that strike is chalked off for handball by Tolisso. The ball did bounce off the France international's arm and into Lewandowski's path, so it's still just one-nil.
40' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-2 BAYERN MUNICH
A ball is clipped forward...Tolisso makes a run in behind the home back four...touches it back to Lewandowski, who bends a beauty of a shot into the far top corner. OK, so it IS him?!!!
36' GAME MANAGEMENT
That's what Bayern are doing here: Red Star can barely get the ball, and when they do, they're not allowed to even think about being dangerous, never mind actually threatening to get anywhere near Manuel Neuer's goal.
32' BAYERN DROP IN TEMPO
The visitors have just taken their foot off the gas in the last few minutes - to be fair, they had been going all out for 30 minutes, absolutely swamping the hosts so they were due a breather.
30' RED STAR CORNER
Their captain, ex-Bremen man Marko Marin, is across to take it...dealt with by Lewandowski at the near post. Perhaps he fancies a spell in the back four as scoring at the other end has been so easy this season...
26' IT'S CONFIRMED
It's definitely not the same Robert Lewandowski wearing the Bayern number 9 shirt tonight - he has a terrible first touch to a cross from the left, and then is caught by Gobeljic when he was clean through. Most definitely fishy...
24' BAYERN BLOCKED
A left-wing corner comes in and both Lewandowski and Coman have goalbound shots blocked by Red Star defenders...this will not stay one-nil for long.
20' COUTINHO CLOSE
Marin trips Coman just outside the area on the right...Coutinho...goes for goal, and almost catches Borjan out...smart work all round there.
Crvena Zvezda attempts: 0 Bayern: 8...pretty much sums it up so far.
16' GORETZKA GOES CLOSE
Davies crosses from the left, it's headed more up than out and Goretzka's smashes a dipping volley goal wards that Borjan acrobatically flips over his crossbar. That would be been a game of a goal.
14' GOAL!! CRVENA ZVEZDA 0-1 BAYERN
That's been coming. Coutinho flights a cross in from the right, and Goretzka rises and sends a header arcing gracefully out of Borjan's reach and into the far top corner. A thing of beauty. Eins-zu-null for Bayern, and it surely won't be the last.
11' BORJAN DOUBLES UP
Lewandowski gets a powerful shot on target that's beaten away by the Red Star goalkeeper before Coman does the same.
10' COUTINHO SQUEEZES A SHOT OFF
But the on-loan Barcelona man's effort takes a touch en route to goal, and Borjan can scramble across to stop it going behind for a corner.
7' IS IT LEWY'S BROTHER?
Lewandowski seizes onto the ball and charges through a gaping hole in the home back four...but with only Borjan to beat, he side foots wide. There's only one possible explanation for that miss: it's not him.
6' EARLY YELLOW
Milunovic goes into the Dutch referee's book for swinging an arm in an aerial challenge with Lewandowski...
5' JUST A SIGHTER
Lewandowski gets the first shot of the game - must have been very short odds on that - but it's straight at Borjan.
4' BAYERN ON THE FRONT FOOT
Bayern are already through to the Last 16, but Hansi Flick has put out an attacking side here as he seeks to wrap up top spot in the group.
2' HOSTS NEED A WIN
Crvena Zvezda, or Red Star for those of you who remember their 1991 European Cup (yes, there was a time before the Champions League), need to win tonight - that's an uphill task, given 1991 was the last time they beat Bayern.
1' FIRST HALF KICKS OFF
Neuer and Marin exchange pennants - Marin's career looked at one stage like it might take him to a club like Bayern. He did go to Chelsea, I suppose, but...in any case, we're underway.
BAYERN TEAM NEWS
Flick makes four changes to the side that brushed aside Fortuna at the weekend. With David Alaba remaining in Munich awaiting the birth of his first child, centre-back Jerome Boateng is recalled for the first time since being sent off in the 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt that spelled the end for coach Niko Kovac. Joshua Kimmich makes way for Thiago in midfield, while Kingsley Coman and Leon Goretzka come in for Serge Gnabry and Thomas Müller respectively.
RED STAR TEAMS
Ghana international Richmond Boakye leads the line for Red Star. He's scored five times in 17 appearances this season, including in the reigning Serbian SuperLiga champions' only Group B win to date - against Olympicos. Njegos Petrovic comes into defensive midfield, meanwhile, with Mateo Garcia in a more advanced role and Dutch winger Rajiv van La Parra dropping to the bench.
HAPPY DAYS FOR PHONZIE
Alphonso Davies was already enjoying a run in the Bayern side when Flick came in, but it's testament to his budding game that he's kept his place - at left-back! - under the Bayern temporary coach's watch. The 19-year-old Canadian is set to make his 15th appearance and seventh start on the spin in Belgrade.
"Luckily the coach sees something in me and plays me every week as a left-back or a winger, it doesn’t matter," Davies - a winger by trade - told fcbayern.tv. "Whichever one he puts me in I’m able to do the job.
"Getting to play with [the team] in the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB Cup is just a dream come true,” he told BayernTV. “My family’s really proud of me. They call me after every single game and tell me: 'we love you, keep going, we’re proud of you son'."
The result was the same in Düsseldorf - the only surprise was that Robert Lewandowski wasn't among the four Bayern goalscorers. That rare blank ended a scoring run of 11 straight league games to start the season - and was only the third game in which he failed to score in 2019/20.
The Poland striker has found the net in all four of Bayern's Champions League assignment so far this term, though, scoring six times in total. He arrives in Belgrade with 47 goals in 52 appearances this calendar year. You can rub your eyes, but you're not seeing things...
THE FLICK FACTOR
Three games played, 10 goals scored, none conceded: Hansi Flick has made a flying start to his interim tenure, overseeing wins over Olympiacos, Borussia Dortmund and, most recently, Fortuna Düsseldorf. The 54-year-old has got everyone singing from the same hymn sheet in no time at all, including Barcelona loanee, Philippe Coutinho.
"I tried to repay his faith in me,” Coutinho told TZ, after making his first start since Flick replaced Niko Kovac as coach in the 4-0 rout of Fortuna. "At the moment the team is doing really well at implementing what the coach wants. Pressing without the ball is very important to him. We close the opposition down early and in a structured way, which causes them a lot of problems. We didn’t expect it to be so successful so quickly.
"The changes Flick has made are mainly tactical. He places a lot of emphasis on compact, coordinated and, at times, high pressing so that the opposition can’t get into their game at all. Obviously it’s up to us players to execute that on the pitch, but from the very start we understood what he wants from us and how he ticks, both on the pitch and in the changing room. That’s why things are going well and we’re all happy."
Bayern have been flawless in UEFA Champions League B, sealing their place in the last 16 with two games to spare. If they win in Belgrade tonight, Hansi Flick's men will progress as group winners. Stay tuned!