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Lewandowski on a roll

Five goals on an ‘unbelievable evening’

What can you do in nine minutes? In the kitchen you could cook pasta al dente, or bake a pizza. If you were visiting the Oktoberfest right now, you’d need nine minutes to walk from Munich main station to the Theresienwiese fairground (the return stroll might take longer).

On Tuesday evening, Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski used nine minutes of his time in a rather more memorable way, scoring all his team’s goals in a remarkable 5-1 victory over title rivals VfL Wolfsburg. The stats experts say Lewandowski needed precisely 8:58 minutes to take his total for the season up to eight and set a clutch of all-time Bundesliga records in the process, with the fastest hat-trick, four-goal, and five-goal hauls in league history.

Wolves ahead at the break

“I’ve never scored five goals in 45 minutes, but today’s it’s taken nine. It’s hard to find the words,” the half-time substitute said afterwards, clearly still a little bewildered himself. “It was madness, an amazing story for me and also for Bayern,” continued the 27-year-old, “it was an unbelievable evening.” Pep Guardiola was also in the throes of disbelief: “I’ve never experienced anything like it, neither as a coach nor as a player. Five goals in nine minutes. I can’t explain it.”

From a Bayern point of view, the first 45 minutes against the cup holders were also hard to explain. After a brisk opening the home team lost their way against what Thomas Müller described as “genuinely strong opponents” and fell behind to Daniel Caligiuri’s 26th-minute strike. We will never know how the game might have unfolded had Josuha Guilavogui’s 38th-minute lob from the halfway line gone in rather than hitting the outside of the post.

Chorus of praise

“Fortunately the shot drifted wide at the last minute and hit the post. I was incredibly relieved and took at least one deep breath,” acknowledged Manuel Neuer. “We came out for the second half with big plans,” the keeper revealed. “We had a few problems in attack before half-time, we didn’t really get into the game. We switched our formation and tweaked our tactics too. It was better after that, and Lewy was obviously outstanding,” reflected captain Philipp Lahm.

The Pole equalised in the 51st minute, six minutes after entering the fray. It was the first act of an astonishing drama in which the striker single-handedly tore the Wolves apart with further goals after 52, 55, 57 and 60 minutes. “Unbelievable. A player comes on at half-time and scores five in a couple of minutes. Crazy,” remarked Lahm. “I’ve been playing for a few years now and I’ve always watched a lot of football but I’ve never seen anything like that.”

“It was a fantastic experience. Lewy’s made footballing history, that was unique. Lewy’s on a roll,” enthused Neuer. It is the first time a player has scored five in a match since since Duisburg’s Michael Tönnies in 1991, but despite his stunning feat, Lewandowski remained his usual modest self. “I can be pleased today and tomorrow as well, but then I have to focus on the next game. We need to keep going because it’s only Matchday 6,” he said before heading home from the Arena. He was carrying a souvenir of a very special evening in the form of a match ball signed by his team-mates.