Munich - The FC Bayern München camp were running out of superlatives to describe Robert Lewandowski’s historic five-goal salvo in Tuesday’s unforgettable 5-1 win over VfL Wolfsburg.
Records sent tumbling
"It’s insane, unbelievable and fantastic for us," beamed Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. "Still, you have to be critical about these things and say that he eased off a bit. He had two more big chances, and the fact he didn’t go home with seven to his name is really disappointing."
All jokes aside, what happened between minutes 51 and 60 at the Allianz Arena was simply extraordinary. Introduced as a second-half substitute with the defending champions trailing to an earlier goal from Wolfsburg’s Daniel Caligiuri, Lewandowski tore up the history books in a blistering nine-minute spell.
Eight touches of the ball and four minutes after entering the fray, the indomitable Pole was celebrating the fastest hat-trick since the Bundesliga’s inception. His fourth came 120 seconds later and was swiftly followed by his fifth just shy of the hour-mark: both best-marks in their own right. Were it not for a 70th-minute goal-line clearance from Wolfsburg left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, he would even have had a sixth.
A first for Guardiola
"It was just madness!” Lewandowski told the assembled press as he left the Bayern dressing room to a chorus of camera clicks and sea of flashing lights. "I’ve never scored five goals in 45 minutes, but today I did it in nine. Sometimes you can’t find the words."
The decision to leave Lewandowski on the bench could be interpreted as a masterstroke on Pep Guardiola’s part, but even the Bayern head coach struggled to articulate the night’s events. "I’ve never experienced anything like it, either as a coach or a player." the awe-struck Catalan recalled. "Five goals in nine minutes. I’m so happy for Robert. We didn’t play well for 45 minutes and then we score five in nine minutes. I can’t explain it."
'One of the best in the world'
"The man who keeps me up all night has just entered the dressing room. Hats off, Lewy."
Guardiola was not the only one standing with mouth agape at the final whistle. Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer labelled Lewandowski’s masterclass as “a fantastic experience”, while defensive pillar Jerome Boateng told journalists what so many football fans have known for years: "He’s one of the best forwards in the world."
Bayern will have the opportunity to officially raise a glass to their star striker when they make their way to Oktoberfest in just over a week’s time, but for now the champagne - or rather the beer - is on ice. "We’ve got another game on Saturday [against 1. FSV Mainz 05]," Lewandowski warned. "Then we’ve got a really important match in the Champions League [against Dinamo Zagreb]. We have to keep our focus and do it all over again."