Hat-trick in 100th game
Lewandowski gala on Champions League milestone
What a great evening for Robert Lewandowski! The 33-year-old celebrated a Champions League milestone on Wednesday evening in a way that only he could. In his 100th appearance in the UCL, the Pole was the match-winner. In FC Bayern's 5-2 win over Benfica, Lewandowski scored three times and took his goal-scoring tally to 81. Never before has a player scored so many goals by his 100th UCL match. With eight goals in four games, Lewy is currently this season's top scorer in Europe's elite club competition.
As a result, Lewandowski was named Man of the Match against Benfica. Even the fact he missed a penalty could not dampen the Pole's joy on his anniversary match. In fact, he's usually a banker from the spot: he's scored 51/55 penalties for Bayern so far. "I don't know if it was a perfect evening, because there was the missed pen," said the milestone mman, with a smile after notching goals number 48 to 50 in 38 games this calendar year (what a strike rate!). "But I wasn't worried about it. Better sooner than later. I just went the wrong way. That was a mistake on my part. The goalkeeper was already on the ground, but even then I still didn't find the right corner. It happens. Luckily we still scored a few goals, myself included."
In the current Bayern squad, only Thomas Müller (127 games), in the top 10 all-time scorers already, and Manuel Neuer (122) have surpassed the 100-game mark in the Champions League. In total, just 41 players are in the 100 club. "It's an impressive feat," Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann said, praising his number 9 before the match.
Lewandowski himself almost didn't have his milestone in mind. "Shortly before the game, the coach asked me if it was my 100th Champions League game and I had to think about it for a moment. But afterwards I already felt the energy from a 100th UCL game," revealed Lewy, who is the first Polish footballer to join the 100 club in the competition. "I never thought I would play so many games in the Champions League - and score so many goals and have so many assists. It's something special."
With the win over Benfica, FCB booked their place into the last 16 ahead of schedule. Here are the facts: