Created on 21-04-2015 at 22:35 PM
Brilliant Bayern defied the odds and overturned a 3-1 first leg deficit against Porto in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final return in scintillating fashion, booking a place among the four best teams in Europe for the fourth time in a row with a fulminating 6-1 win on the night and a 7-4 success on aggregate.
The raucous 70,000 capacity crowd at the Allianz Arena turned the stadium into a cauldron of noise and colour, and Pep Guardiola’s men responded with a blistering start as Thiago, Jerome Boateng and Robert Lewandowski netted superb headed goals to put FCB in the driving seat before the half-hour was up. Thomas Müller made it four and Lewandowski completed his brace in a stupendous first half, after which the German champions shifted down a gear or two for a long spell. Jackson Martinez pulled one back on 73 minutes with Porto’s first real chance, but the visitors' resistance was short lived as Marcano was sent off for a second bookable offence three minutes from time and Xabi Alonso brought up the half-dozen with a glorious free-kick.
All eyes at the club now turn to UEFA headquarters in Nyon at midday on Friday and the draw for the semi-finals in the continent’s elite club competition. The packed schedule continues on Saturday afternoon when Hertha Berlin visit the Allianz Arena, where Bayern can wrap up the Bundesliga title if results elsewhere fall their way, before the crunch DFB Cup semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund on the same ground the following Tuesday.
Starting line-up as expected
In the continuing absence of injured stars Arjen Robben, Franck Ribéry, David Alaba, Mehdi Benatia, Javi Martínez and Tom Starke, Guardiola sprang no surprises with his final team selection. Boateng, Alonso and Thiago were rested for the weekend clash with Hoffenheim but started against Porto, while skipper Philipp Lahm returned after shaking off a stomach upset.
Fit-again vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger took a seat on the bench, where he was joined by seasoned veterans Claudio Pizarro and Pep Reina, and youth in the shape of Mitch Weiser and 18-year-old Gianluca Gaudino.
The Bundesliga leaders started with Manuel Neuer in goal, Rafinha, Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Juan Bernat in defence, Alonso and Lahm in holding roles, Mario Götze and Thiago in the centre, and Müller supporting centre-forward Lewandowski.
Five before half-time
After English referee Martin Atkinson whistled play underway, the Reds roared off the blocks and penned the nervy Portuguese back into their own final third. The first big chance came on ten minutes when Porto keeper Fabiano beat out Müller’s fierce drive, Lewandowski unluckily turning the rebound onto the far post.
But despite the visitors resorting to some physically tasty stuff in an effort to stem the tide, the first goal arrived on 14 minutes when Götze raced down the left and pulled the ball back for Bernat, who charged to the byline and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Thiago to nod home at the near post.
Guardiola’s men piled on the pressure and cancelled out the first-leg deficit with just 22 minutes played, Badstuber rising on the penalty spot and meeting a corner with a header towards the right side of goal, where Boateng leaped high above the defence and headed past Fabiano to make it 2-0.
The Reds were on fire now and just five minutes later scored the goal that put them in the comfort zone on their way to the last four. It was a brilliant strike too, Lahm galloping down the right and half-volleying into the centre for Muller, who cushioned a wonderful volley inside for Lewandowski to rise and power a header into the far corner.
Porto were reeling and looked vulnerable every time Munich broke forward, Müller scoring the fourth after 36 minutes when he broke into acres of space and shot goalwards. The ball took a defection off Dutch international Martins Indi and squirmed into the net at the bottom right corner, the deceived Fabiano diving too early and watching the ball trickle over his line.
The Bavarians had still not had enough and went five up before half-time when Müller expertly used his body to shield the ball on the right side of the box and deliver a cut-back towards Lewandowski, who showed wonderfully quick feet before lashing a low drive past Fabiano and into the far corner of the net.
Alonso's final flourish
The first chance after the restart came when Götze volleyed wide just a minute into the second half, but after their breathtaking exploits in the first 45 minutes, Lahm and Co now opted to shift down through the gears. The Portuguese focused on damage limitation and the next openings came with an hour played, Alonso curling a free-kick off target, Bernat having a shot well blocked and Badstuber heading a corner just too high.
Sebastian Rode replaced Rafinha on 72 minutes but Porto pulled one back out of the blue a minute later with their first meaningful chance, Ricardo Pereira feeding Hector Herrera for a cross from the right and Jackson Martinez nodding home in the centre.
Suddenly the Portuguese side looked lively and FCB were forced onto the back foot for a spell, but the Reds weathered the storm and banished any last lingering doubts with 87 minutes played: Marcano was dismissed for a second yellow card after a brutal foul on Thiago, and Alonso fired the ensuing free-kick past Fabiano to bring up the half-dozen and complete the rout.
Live match report for fcbayern.de by Chris Hamley