Champions League: Gnabry the Unlikely Hero as Bayern Force Spurs Humiliation
Tottenham Hotspur 2-7 Bayern Munich
There are some results which can leave an observer speechless.
This was one such occasion. A night where one team was so flawless it capitalised on virtually every opportunity, virtually every opposition mistake.
No-one could have possibly predicted what was to follow in what pre-match had all the hallmarks of a Champions League classic.
For this was the first time in 36 years that Spurs and German giants Bayern Munich had met in a competitive fixture and, with both vying for top spot in Group B, it was a contest that was eagerly anticipated.
Yes, the two teams met in pre-season when Spurs came out on top in a penalty shootout after drawing 2-2 in the Audi Cup Final, but that was no more than a glorified friendly.
This was the real deal.
Highlights of the game
The SBOBET Champions League 2019 betting odds had Bayern as favourites.
After all, Bayern were top the Bundesliga and are unbeaten after their first six league games this season. They also saw off Serbian champions Red Star Belgrade 3-0 in a dominant display in Munich in their first group match a fortnight ago, even if it took them a while to break their spirited resistance.
Spurs, meanwhile, were pegged back by Olympiakos in Greece in their opener. Last year's Champions League runners-up have also won just three of their Premier League matches so far and are struggling for form.
Yet Spurs just love the big occasions, as they proved so many times last season – including a comprehensive home victory over the second-best team in Germany, Borussia Dortmund.
The main team news saw Dele Alli replace Christian Eriksen for Spurs, while boss Mauricio Pochettino again left Lucas Moura on the bench, although the Brazilian seems happy enough at the club after recently signing an extension to his contract.
Tottenham Hostpur players look dejected after Bayern Munich net their fifth goal during their Champions League match
Bayern, meanwhile, named Ivan Perisic and Javi Martinez among their substitutes, although Lucas Hernandez was ruled out with injury.
After a day in which North London had taken a real soaking, a slick surface was bound to make life tough for goalkeepers. But Hugo Lloris and Manuel Neuer could not be blamed for the frantic start which saw both of them beaten inside the opening 15 minutes.
Lloris had denied former Arsenal man Serge Gnabry and Neuer parried the ball from Son Heung-Min before the South Korean opened the scoring in the 12th minute.
Moussa Sissoko played Son in, and he smashed the ball confidently beyond a goalkeeper he faced when playing for former clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg.
Yet Bayern aren’t German champions without good reason and were level within three minutes.
Joshua Kimmich controlled the ball on the edge of the box and hammered it into the far bottom corner for an outstanding leveller.
An electrifying start and Champions League 2019 highlights from both sides inside the opening quarter of an hour.
Spurs kept pressing, and on a milestone night for a defender who is still only 27, David Alaba kept out Harry Kane after he rounded Neuer before the keeper stopped Son and pulled off an even better save to deny Tanguy Ndombele.
On-loan man Philippe Coutinho grew into the game as the half drew to a close, but the next goal arrived from an even more obvious source.
Robert Lewandowski had 12 goals in his last eight games coming into this one. Now he has 13.
Right on the stroke of half-time, he ensured Bayern had the lead, turning with his back to goal, flicking the ball over Jan Vertonghen and curling the ball past Lloris with into the far bottom corner. A stunning finish to put Bayern ahead at the break.
The last thing Spurs could afford was to concede another goal early in the second period, yet that is exactly what happened.
They couldn’t have picked a worse man to score it either as Gnabry, who used to ply his trade across North London, put Bayern firmly in the ascendancy.
Played in by Benjamin Pavard, he cut in from the left, beat Serge Aurier, then saw off Toby Alderweireld and smashed the ball it into the bottom right corner of the net.
Spurs, who had been as good as the Bavarian champions up until this point, were stunned and Bayern sensed it.
Just two minutes later their clinical finishing was again evident as Gnabry rubbed salt in the wounds, thumping home the fourth.
Somehow a close contest was over and a one-sided scoreline prevailed.
To their credit, Spurs continued to battle and when Kingsley Coman clipped Danny Rose on the edge of the box, a penalty was awarded. Once VAR upheld the decision, the reliable Harry Kane converted the penalty.
Substitute Eriksen was almost an instant hero with a swerving long-range effort which Neuer had to be alert to tip over.
If that had gone in, we could have been in for a frantic finale.
What we got, though, was a cricket score.
Hope was finally extinguished seven minutes from time when Gnabry became the most unlikely hero of all.
No more than an often-used squad player at Arsenal, he sprinted clear from a fine pass from Thiago and slotted past Lloris in style. 5-2.
Despite playing their part in the contest, Spurs were completely and utterly deflated and more poor defending made it an embarrassment for the hosts.
First, Lewandowski placed number six past Lloris after a stunning Coutinho pass and a Perisic pass. 6-2.
Then Gnabry – once not even considered good enough for West Brom - completed the scoring by rifling home a seventh as the home side seemed to give up. 7-2.
Four goals in 35 minutes and an incredible night for Gnabry and flawless Bayern.
The inquest for Spurs is only beginning but in Bavaria, this was ruthlessness and joy personified.
Gnabry is only the second player to score four goals in a single half of a Champions League match after Luiz Adriano did in the first half of Shakhtar Donetsk’s 7-0 away win at BATE Borisov in 2014.
This was the first time in their history that Spurs have conceded seven goals in a home match.
Only Ruud van Nistelrooy (70) and Lionel Messi (73) needed fewer Champions League appearances to score their 55th Champions League goal than Lewandowski (82).
There were just 194 seconds between Son’s opener for Tottenham Hotspur and Kimmich’s equaliser.
This was Alaba’s 350th appearance for Bayern Munich.
Kane has scored more Champions League goals versus German teams (five) than he has against any other nation in the competition.
Spurs travel to the south coast to face Brighton on Saturday (October 5) before the second international break of the campaign.
Bayern host Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on the same day.
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This message was edited by SBOBET on 03-Oct-2019 at 6:20 PM