Porto’s second leg head-start is parried as Bayern destroy Dragons
Champions League winners in 2011 Bayern Munich came into this quarter-final second leg up against it for the clash with Porto.
They suffered a shock 3-1 defeat in Portugal coming into this encounter, and were without a number of top stars once again as the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba were all still sidelined.
However, it mattered very little to the hosts, who had lost just once at the Allianz Arena all season, as they trounced the Dragons 6-1 (7-4 on aggregate).
The German giants were certainly on the front foot from the start, despite no efforts on goal from either side in the opening minutes.
But, just like buses, two chances came in a matter of seconds, as Thomas Muller ran free to have a decent angled effort in the 10th minute that was palmed away. A determined Robert Lewandowski was unable to capitalise on the rebound, though, as his strike hit the post.
However, just before the quarter-of-an-hour mark, Thiago Alcantara, who got the ultimately needless away goal in the first leg, headed home from close range, after a great cross from Juan Bernat on the left side.
The Spaniard will be especially pleased, as it was just his third start in all competitions since suffering a serious knee injury last season after a big-fee signing from Barcelona.
Bayern were certainly a team determined to make the semis, and on the 22nd minute mark, defender Jerome Boateng rose highest after a corner to slot a header into the corner of the net. The strike levelled the scores on aggregate, with Bayern ahead on goal difference.
Two became three just minutes later, though, this time after a wonderful move. Skipper Philipp Lahm started the attack on the right hand side by crossing into Muller, who brilliantly laid on a volley to the head of Lewandowski.
Everything Pep Guardiola’s men touched turned to gold in the first half it seemed, as 10 minutes before half time a fourth Bayern player got on the scoresheet.
Muller this time almost with a hit-and-hope effort, made it four, after his seemingly tame shot was wickedly deflected through keeper Fabiano’s legs off Bruno Martins Indi. It looked like the German’s shot was going wide, but he was credited with the goal.
Lewandowski struck cleanly just five minutes later, however, as he got his second and his side’s fifth of the night by cooly slotting in low to the left of the net from close range.
Even Lahm, playing in his 91st Champions League match, tried to get in the act in injury time, having never scored in this competition before. But his left-footed effort was caught this time by the keeper.
Porto players would have certainly be happy to get away from the action and into the dressing room after their first half mauling. Usually after such high scorelines they say they were lucky it wasn’t more, but Bayern really were so clinical with their chances, netting five from eight on target.
While the first half began slowly, it took just half a minute after the break for Bayern to have a chance, but Mario Gotze was wide with his volley.
But the Dragons did manage to find their feet eventually, by gradually raising their opening 45 minutes possession percentage and restricting the hosts to no real chances until the end.
A free-kick from Xabi Alonso was the Bundesliga leaders’ sole effort in the meantime, but the former Liverpool and Real Madrid star’s shot was over the bar.
In the 73rd minute, however, it was not Bayern but Porto that found the net. In-demand striker Jackson Martinez was on target to give his team small hope of a comeback, as he fired in from inside the area.
That certainly seemed to spur the visitors on, as the Colombian hitman came close again minutes later. His long-ranged effort was just wide, though.
At the other end of the pitch, Lewandowski, on a hat-trick, came close with a similar shot to that of Martinez’s, as it just missed the far post.
In what was a far tamer second half, the final minutes woke viewers up again, as Porto defender Ivan Marcano was given a second yellow and sent off for a rash challenge on Thiago. Alonso, meanwhile, slotted in brilliantly from the resulting free-kick.
Lewandowski again came close in injury time, but the keeper was equal to his shot, and the defence eventually cleared after a brief scramble in the box.
Bayern will no doubt go away from the match delighted with their response after the first leg, by reaching the semi-finals and thus staying in contention to win the treble.