Champions League Tuesday – Recap
Another thrilling Champions League night delivered some electric moments as we take a look at the three most exciting storylines.
Given their current form, Chelsea’s 4-0 thrashing of underperforming Juventus at Stamford Bridge came as no big surprise.
But we will pay attention to other eye-catching outcomes on Tuesday.
Robert Lewandowski makes history as Bayern Munich maintain 100% Champions League record
Bayern Munich claimed a 2-1 victory away to Dynamo Kyiv to keep their 100% win ratio in the Champions League Group E intact.
Going into this matchday, the Bavarians have already sealed a place in the competition’s knock-outs, courtesy of four wins from four and a resounding +15 goal difference.
Julian Nagelsmann’s men had an opportunity to become the first team in the Champions League history to score 4+ goals in five consecutive matches in a single campaign.
However, challenging weather conditions in Ukraine seem to have hindered Bayern’s efforts to emulate an overwhelming 5-0 win from the reverse fixture.
The perennial Bundesliga champions instead netted two first-half goals, one of which was a moment of pure magic from standout striker Robert Lewandowski.
The Pole opened the scoring in the 14th minute with a breathtaking bicycle kick, becoming the first player in the Champions League to score in the first five games for two seasons in a row.
Kingsley Coman established a two-goal cushion on the stroke of half-time, while second-half substitute Denys Gramash bagged Dynamo’s first European goal this season midway through the second half.
Manchester United started post-Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era on the front foot
Manchester United traveled to La Ceramica to take on Villarreal in a high-stake Champions League fixture in the wake of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking.
The Norwegian was relieved of his duties on Sunday, the morning after overseeing his side succumb to a humiliating 4-1 Premier League defeat to Watford.
Caretaker manager Michael Carrick was entrusted with guiding the Red Devils against the reigning Europa League holders in what was a must-win game for the English powerhouse.
Though Man United failed to impress throughout the 90 minutes in the Spanish province of Castellon, having the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo on their side continued to pay dividends.
The all-time Champions League highest scorer once again stepped up to the plate to get his side over the finishing line, breaking down Villarreal’s stubborn defense with a sublime finish in the 78th minute.
Marquee summer signing Jadon Sancho finally got off the mark in the coveted red jersey with an outrageous effort in the stoppage time to seal United’s win and a place in the knock-outs.
The end of an era?
After marking his return to Camp Nou with a narrow 1-0 win over Espanyol last weekend, new manager Xavi Hernandez was keen to translate that momentum to Europe.
Barcelona hosted Benfica to Camp Nou for a crunch Champions League Group E encounter amid a rough patch, hopeful of rediscovering their scoring mojo.
Unfortunately for Xavi, his side could only manage an uneventful scoreless draw against the spirited visitors.
Despite holding a two-point lead over third-placed Benfica ahead of the kick-off, the Blaugrana were aware that dropping points against direct rivals could spell the end for their qualification hopes.
However, Xavi’s men encounter all sorts of problems against well-disciplined Jorge Jesus’ side, failing to create enough clear-cut chances in front of goal.
In fact, Barcelona have Haris Seferovic to thank they stayed unbeaten in the end, with the Switzerland international’s miss right at the death likely to hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Barca will head to the Allianz Arena to meet group juggernauts Bayern Munich on the final matchday.
After falling to a dreadful 3-0 defeat in the reverse fixture on home turf, the Catalans will face the formidable challenge of exacting revenge on arguably the best European side at the moment.
Meanwhile, Benfica will play host to an already doomed Dynamo Kyiv at the Estadio da Luz.
A victory over the Ukrainians, if combined with Barcelona’s loss in Germany, would send the Portuguese team to the Champions League Round of 16.