Last night was an amazing matchday in the Champions League with a lot of action. It was a night of records and memories, as last night’s tally of 40 goals is a record for an eight game night of Champions League football; Loïc Rémy scored in a CL game for the first time since December 6, 2011; Shakhtar equalled the best ever away winning margin in the UCL against BATE (7-0); Luiz Adriano became the second player to score five goals in a Champions League game, after Lionel Messi, with the latter scoring his 69th Champions League, equalling Cristiano Ronaldo, and now 2 shy from Raul’s record of 71.
While we could’ve chosen to review Barcelona vs Ajax, we didn’t because we’d be surprised if Barcelona didn’t beat Ajax. We thought that AS Roma against Bayern Munich was slightly more evenly matched. We’ve never been more mistaken.
Rome wasn’t built in a day but it was destroyed within 90 minutes. This was the case as the German giants from Bavaria routed AS Roma in their own backyard as they found themselves at the better end of an unprecedented 7-1 win.
AS Roma was 3-0 up within 30 minutes, in their last home game, but this time, found themselves 4-0 down within the same time. That too, with a Bayern squad that did not have Thiago, Schweinsteiger, Javi Martinez. Bayern, as the commentator very rightly described Robben, after his first goal were, quick, dynamic and unstoppable.
When Francesco Totti and Philipp Lahm led their teams out, nobody saw this coming. Within 10 minutes of the game, we knew Bayern Munich were already on another level, as Robben gave the away side the lead, leaving Ashley Cole for dead. One of the most brilliant wingers, Arjen Robben, is also one of the most predictable wingers. Somehow, defences still can’t deal with this brilliant one trick pony. Maybe that shows how deadly a player, Arjen Robben is.
Roma almost found a quick response when Gervinho latched on to Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa’s through ball, but he was thwarted by a smart stop from Neuer. The onslaught continued, as Mario Gotze scored a well worked goal, deceiving Morgan De Sanctis with a coolly placed finish. Robert Lewandowski scored an easy header, shades of Borussia Dortmund, while Robben capitalized on some sleepy defending to make it 4-0. AS Roma had now conceded 4 goals in the opening 30 minutes of play for the first time in a UCL game. The referee had no sympathy towards the Romans, after he awarded a penalty against them, for a handball, which was debateable. Thomas Muller stepped up and slotted it into the corner, to make it 5.
Within 36 minutes, we understood why the stadium was called “Stadio Olimpico”, it was because the numbers of goals scored by Bayern, was equal to the number of Olympic rings.
OptaJoe tells us that on the two occasions that Bayern Munich have been 5-0 up at HT in a CL match, Rudi Garcia has been the opposing manager. If you had placed your bets on a Bayern Munich HT/FT, then would have been the time to cash in.
With the game essentially over as a contest, Bayern relaxed after the break and Roma almost capitalised when Gervinho’s shot rebounded off the post in the 54th minute. Shortly after, substitute Florenzi’s half-volley brought the best out of Neuer, who stood tall to beat away the shot. Neuer then showed why he is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world when he somehow kept out Gervinho’s point-blank shot inside the six-yard box after he met Miralem Pjanic’s free-kick. After some 15 chances, Gervinho finally got the better of Neuer, though, when he nodded home Radja Nainggolan’s cross at the back post. Prior to Gervinho’s goal, Bayern had not conceded a goal for 813 minutes in all competitions.
Anyway, Bayern were not done, after Franck Ribery and Xherdan Shaqiri made it 7-1, with some cute and swift football. Bayern looked like a team on another level, and looked capable of beating any team in the world at that moment, while Roma were seemingly out of their depth. This was a team that had won 5 out of their last 5 home games, and seemed like headless chickens versus this relentless Munich side. The job to make it to the next round became much harder for Roma, while Manchester City will be thanking their lucky stars, after they suffered a collapse in Russia, drawing 2-2 with CSKA Moscow.
There were a lot of positives for Bayern, as they marauded Roma with a depleted team. Pep Guardiola can go back on him pleased with his side’s efforts, while we do feel sorry for AS Roma and their fans. Second best to Juventus in Italy, and second best to Bayern in the UCL.
What Germany did to Brazil, Bayern had done to Roma. By the end of the game, we couldn’t decide if we’d watch the game again or 50 Shades Of Gray. The final scoreline, 7-1, could not have done otherwise than to remind viewers of the identical margin by which a Bayern-heavy Germany stunned Brazil in the World Cup this summer, and also served as a powerful statement of intent: Bayern Munich want the trophy back this year, and there may be no stopping them.
Man Of The Match: Arjen Robben What else is new? The Flying Dutchman was dynamic, constantly terrorizing his former teammate Ashley Cole (and anyone else that tried to help the poor Englishman out), creating chance after chance, opening the scoring with a beauty to show Roma this was no Chievo they were playing against, potting a 2nd one on a great run into the box (although De Sanctis looked a little weak on that one), notching an assist on Ribery’s highlight goal, and last but not least, working hard on defense, consistently coming back to help break up Roma’s attempts at attacking.
Flop Of The Match: Ashley Cole The Ex-Chelsea man had a game to forget as he was ragged by Robben and made two costly errors which lead to goals. For the first, he showed Robben onto his left foot and for the second, he failed to track the Dutch star’s run.