Munich (Germany) (AFP), September 13 – Two second-half goals within three minutes, including a superb chip from Leroy Sane, helped Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 2-0 in Robert Lewandowski’s return to Bavaria in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Bayern’s French defender Lucas Hernandez headed in a corner to open the scoring but it was Sane who put the game beyond doubt for the home side.
Former Manchester City striker Sane, who scored one and created another in Bayern’s 2-0 Champions League win at Inter Milan, helped transform the game, which was good in favor of Barça after a furious first half.
The German striker scored Bayern’s second goal in the 54th minute, smashing a ball past Catalan keeper Marc Andre ter Stegen, just three minutes after Bayern’s Hernandez headed in a Joshua Kimmich corner to open the scoring.
Lewandowski, greeted by warm applause from the home fans during the pre-match warm-up, had several chances to open the scoring.
“I think for Lewy it was really an emotional game to come back – a bit like coming home, because he’s been so successful here,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer told Amazon Prime.
“Luck in the decisive moments was not on his side – and it became our luck.
“With her volley (in the 19th minute), we were a bit lucky that she went over the crossbar… but I think we showed a very good defensive performance.”
Lewandowski latched on to a diving pass from Pedri in the 19th minute but shot too high, just tickling the top of the crossbar.
A minute later, the Polish striker received the ball again just yards from the Bayern goal, but his header was stopped at close range by Manuel Neuer.
Raphinha, starting his first Champions League game after moving from Leeds in the summer, drilled a low shot past a blocked Neuer after 27 minutes but the Brazilian missed the goal by inches.
In the dying moments of half-time, Barca made calls for a penalty by referee Danny Makkelie when Alphonso Davies knocked Ousmane Dembele to the edge of the box, with replays showing the Canadian clearly touched the Frenchman’s legs.
At half-time Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann brought on Leon Goretzka for Marcel Sabitzer and the move almost paid immediate dividends, with the former’s rocket from outside the box being deflected by ter Stegen for a corner , which Hernandez would score on.
– A hug for Lewandowski –
Nagelsmann told the media after the match that he hoped the win would mean an end to questions about Lewandowski.
“He played a good game. From our perspective, I’m glad he didn’t score, but I think we saw he was dangerous.”
“After the game I saw him and hugged him, but he is playing for another club and I have different players to watch.
“This week I had 65 questions about Lewandowski. You can ask Xavi those questions now because he’s not my player anymore.
19-year-old Barcelona midfielder Pedri says Bayern made his team pay for not taking a chance.
“It was a tricky game,” he told Movistar+
“In the first half we had a lot of chances to score and when you are so forgiving against a team like this you end up paying,” he added.
Bayern will travel to Camp Nou for the second leg on October 26.