Wednesday 16 October 2019

Bayern in seventh heaven as Gnabry returns to haunt sorry Spurs

Tottenham 2 Bayern Munich 7

Robert Lewandowski shoots past Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen to score Bayern Munich’s second goal last night. Photo: Glyn Kirk
Robert Lewandowski shoots past Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen to score Bayern Munich’s second goal last night. Photo: Glyn Kirk

Jason Burt

It was a touch of genius and it changed the game, it changed the mood inside the stadium and it possibly changed the result.

Not just Robert Lewandowski's turn and unerring shot that earned Bayern Munich the lead with the last kick of the first-half but the sumptuous flick that helped create the opportunity as the striker delicately lifted the ball with the outside of his right boot over the head of Jan Vertonghen before half-volleying a cross into the Tottenham penalty area.

It felt like it put Spurs in their place. It felt like such a key moment - the kind of deadly delivery that turns matches.

First blood to Lewandowski, then, in the battle of the two best strikers in the world going head to head - which was how it was billed by Bayern's coach Niko Kovac with Harry Kane not even afforded the chance to re-start the game before the players went in, the mood flatt.

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scores their sixth goal against Spurs last Tuesday. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters
Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scores their sixth goal against Spurs last Tuesday. Photo: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Control

"He's sensational and he can do it all," Kovac said of Kane, but the Spurs forward may well have surveyed what he saw, and as well as his team played, and wondered if this was a step up with one of the clubs who expect to be in contention to win the Champions League taking control.

Throw it in the 'trash' is how Thiago Alcantara described a season in which Bayern failed to go beyond the last-16 of the competition in the last campaign - when they lost to Liverpool. Bayern won the German title (plus the German Cup and Super Cup) but that is not enough for clubs of their stature, Thiago reasoned.

Spurs were in that final and it is the regularity of not just qualifying for the Champions League but going deep within it that they have to aspire to season after season. It is certainly what players of the stature of Kane aspire to as he hopes to eventually end the debate as to whether he or Lewandowski is the best centre-forward. Can he achieve that at Spurs?

Even Uefa's official preview billed it as two of the Champions League big hitters facing off and, by that, they meant Kane against Lewandowski. Both scored in the opening round of games with Kane claiming a goal in the draw against Olympiacos and Lewandowski striking against Red Star Belgrade to take the leadership of this group.

There was a power to Bayern's attacks that was overwhelming at times. They seized their moments. It came with the equaliser from Joshua Kimmich, as they surged forward, and with Serge Gnabry claiming a remarkable four goals.

Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry scores his side's fifth goal of the game. Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire
Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry scores his side's fifth goal of the game. Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Bayern were swarming all over Spurs who were folding and desperately needed something when Kane, with the same kind of surety that Lewandowski provides, pulled a goal back with another penalty.

One goal each, then, for Kane and Lewandowski but it never felt like Spurs could salvage something.

It is a new Bayern emerging even if Lewandowski, despite being 31, has just signed a new four-year deal at the club that emphasises his importance and worth.

He remains the constant in the middle of young wingers Gnabry - who went on to complete a superb hat-trick - and Kingsley Coman and with Philippe Coutinho behind them. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have gone, while Coutinho has taken Thomas Muller's place, but it is Lewandowski who is still there.

It was over for Tottenham on this occasion. They had been taken apart and with five minutes to go the fans began to leave. It was a far cry from the raucous atmosphere within the opening quarter of an hour when they had sang long and hard and it seemed Spurs could achieve another famous night.

Lewandowski scored again - to win his personal battle with Kane - with another accomplished finish as Bayern not just beat but humiliated. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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