Arjen Robben and Robert Lewandowski both bagged braces as Bayern Munich booked their place in the UEFA Champions League knockout stages courtesy of a comfortable 5-1 win over Benfica in Group E.
Bayern 5-1 Benfica
Goals: 1-0 Robben (13’), 2-0 Robben (30’), 3-0 Lewandowski (36’), 3-1 Gedson Fernandes (47’), 4-1 Lewandowski (51’), 5-1 Ribery (76’)
Bayern exacted their accustomed measure of control on proceedings from the off and broke the deadlock early when Robben cut in from the byline, beating five markers before finding the top corner. With Benfica posing little or no threat, the Dutchman bagged his brace with another trademark finish on the half-hour mark before Robert Lewandowski added a third before the break, becoming the third fastest player to reach the 50-goal mark at Europe’s top table.
The five-time winners suffered a shock to the system at the start of the second half when half-time substitute Gedson Fernandes reduced the arrears less than two minutes after the restart. Normal service resumed soon after for Bayern though, when Lewandowski headed home his second of the evening. With the game beyond Benfica’s reach, Franck Ribery wrapped up the win from David Alaba’s cutback late on.
Niko Kovac’s charges will now face off with Ajax for top spot in Group E, knowing a draw will be enough when the sides meet in Amsterdam in a fortnight’s time.
Watch: What makes Robert Lewandowski so special?
- Robert Lewandowski became the seventh player to reach 50 goals in the Champions League.The Pole needed just 77 appearances to reach the milestone - only Ruud van Nistelrooy (62) and Lionel Messi (66) were faster.Arjen Robben has scored 31 goals in the Champions League - more than Kaka, Neymar, Wayne Rooney and Samuel Eto’o.
Bayern: Neuer (c) - Rafinha, Süle, Boateng, Alaba - Kimmich - Robben (Sanches 72'), Müller (Jeong 81'), Goretzka, Ribery (Wagner 77') - Lewandowski
Absentees: Coman (ankle), James (knee), Thiago (ankle), Tolisso (knee), Gnabry (adductor), Hummels (illness)
Coach: Niko Kovac
Benfica: Vlachodimos – Almeida (c), Dias, Conti, Grimaldo - Fejsa (Samedo 76'), Pizzi (Gedson Fernandes 46'), Gabriel - Rafa, Cervi, Jonas (Seferovic 59')
Absentees: Jardel (suspended), Salvio (abdomen)
Coach: Rui Vitoria