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Champions League

Brace for Lewy as Reds reach last sixteen

On-fire Robert Lewandowski scored twice and also hit the woodwork three times as Bayern went through to the 2016/17 Champions League knockout stages with two games to spare, Carlo Ancelotti’s men posting a 2-1 win away to Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven in Tuesday evening’s Group D encounter.

A capacity 35,000 crowd at the Philips Stadion saw the Lewandowski twice hit the goal frame in a first half that ended with the scores level after Santiago Arias handed the home side a 14th-minute lead but Lewandowski levelled with a 34th-minute penalty. The men from Munich applied intense pressure for long stretches of the second half and Lewandowski doubled his and his side’s tally in the 73rd minute, the Pole only being denied a hat-trick when he hit the woodwork a third time.

The win means the Bavarians remain second in Group D on 9 points, still three off leaders Atletico after the Spaniards scraped a last-gasp home win against Rostov. The top two are in any case now guaranteed to progress to the Round of 16. Ancelotti’s side return to Bundesliga action this Saturday at home to high-flying Hoffenheim.

Strong FCB line-up

In the build-up, Ancelotti had promised to field his strongest available line-up and the Italian was as good as his word by sending out a starting XI packed with big-name stars.

The Italian made three changes to the side that won 3-1 in Augsburg at the weekend, with Mats Hummels in for the injured Javi Martinez, Douglas Costa giving way to Thomas Müller, and Joshua Kimmich deputising for Thiago, who failed to make the matchday squad after picking up a knock. With the exception of Arturo Vidal, it was the same team that beat PSV 4-1 at home two weeks ago.

The visitors lined-up with Manuel Neuer in goal, David Alaba, Hummels, Jerome Boateng and captain Philipp Lahm in a back four, Vidal, Xabi Alonso and Kimmich in midfield, and former PSV man Robben, Lewandowski and Thomas Müller up front.

Arias opens, Lewy levels

After Italian referee Gianluca Rocchi set the game underway on a chilly evening in the south Netherlands, the teams set off at a brisk pace with the first major chance falling to the visitors, but Lewandowski’s fourth-minute header from a Boateng cross came back off the crossbar, the Pole just failing to force home the rebound.

The visitors easily had the upper hand in the opening exchanges but were stunned on 14 minutes when PSV opened the scoring on the break, Neuer initially beating out Davy Pröpper’s header from a Bart Ramselaar cross, only for Colombia hitman Arias to tuck away the rebound.

Alonso smacked a drive straight at home keeper Remko Pasveer as Ancelotti’s men sought an immediate response, but FCB were out of luck again on the half-hour when Lewandowski powered a header from a Robben corner against the post. Fortune finally smiled on the Bundesliga leaders four minutes later when Lahm and Kimmich combined in the box, the loose ball bouncing up onto Hector Moreno’s arm. Mr Rocchi pointed to the spot and Lewandowski duly stroked home the equaliser. Bavarian tails were up now and Alaba, Lewandowski and Vidal all had shots saved by Pasveer, but there were no further goals before the break.

Robert the match-winner

Bayern strove to maintain the pressure at the start of the second half with Alaba drawing another good save from Pasveer and both Lewandowski and Hummels just failing to connect with Alonso’s whipped corner, before a huge chance came to nothing on the hour, Pasveer saving from Vidal and Moreno somehow preventing Müller putting his side into the lead.

The entire stadium rose in tribute to Robben when the Dutchman gave way to Douglas Costa after 64 minutes, Kingsley Coman also coming on in place of Kimmich. FCB piled on the pressure now and created a string of chances, the reward coming on 73 minutes when that man Lewandowski neatly turned in an Alaba cutback to score the overdue second.

The goal appeared to break the Dutch champions’ dogged resistance and Lewandowski was hit by bad fortune yet again with a lob that struck the crossbar five minutes from time.

Chris Hamley reporting from the Philips Stadion for fcbayern.de

PSV Eindhoven - FC Bayern 1-2 (H-T: 1-1)

 
PSV Eindhoven

Pasveer - Arias, Isimat-Mirin, Moreno, Willems (Brenet 46) - Schwaab - Pröpper, Ramselaar (Zinchenko 75), Pereiro (Bergwijn 67), Guardado - de Jong

Subs

Jurjus, Poulsen, Lundqvist, Jozefzoon

FC Bayern

Neuer - Lahm, Boateng, Hummels, Alaba – Kimmich (Coman 65), Alonso, Vidal – Robben (Costa 64), Lewandowski, Müller (Sanches 85)

Subs

Ulreich, Rafinha, Bernat, Badstuber

Referee

Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)

Attendance 35,000 (capacity)
Goals 1-0 Arias (14), 1-1 Lewandowski (34, pen), 1-2 Lewandowski (73)
Yellow cards

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