We interrupt your normal UEFA Champions League post-match programming to bring you this special announcement: Robert Lewandowski just went supernova.
The Polish international scored four times on Wednesday, leading Borussia Dortmund to a 4-1, first leg win over Real Madrid in the team’s Champions League semifinal. Combined with yesterday’s 4-0 win by Bayern Munich, Germany’s big two have outscored their Spanish counterparts 8-1 over 180 minutes, leaving no doubt which teams will faceoff in May 25th’s final.
As remarkable as that is, it’s a mere footnote on a breakout performance from BVB’s 24-year-old sniper. Lewandowski’s four gaols mark the first time a player’s scored as many in a Champions League semifinal. It’s also the most goals anybody’s ever scored against Real Madrid in European competition.
And he did it all over the course of an hour:
- 8’ – Lewandowski starts his day with this redirection, getting his shoe just beyond Pepe’s to put BVB up 1-0:
- 50’ – Staying just onside at the edge of Diego Lopez’s area, Lewandowski turns on a ball and beats the Real Madrid keeper to reclaim BVB’s lead. The Merengues protested, but replays showed the officials made the right (non-) call:
- 55’ – The Goal of the Day. A ball put in by Marcel Schmelzer after allows Lewandowski to turn and blast a high, unstoppable shot into Lopez’s net. The rout is on:
- 67’ – Xabi Alonso plows through the back of Marco Reus, leaving no doubt. It’s a penalty, and it’s Lewandowski’s chance for four. Going high and to the middle while Lopez goes right, the Dortmund sniper makes history.
If in numbers and not necessarily style, the performance was Messi-esque, with only the Barcelona dynamo able to produce this type of product over Champions League’s recent tournaments. But Messi’s landslides never came in semifinals against Real Madrid.
Lewandowski? This was an already well-establish star exploding: A supernova.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is off and running for Manchester United.
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The big Swede was fully expected to immediately provide a Zlatan-sized impact from the outset of his time in the Premier League, but four minutes into his Man United tenure? It was unthinkably quick, even by Zlatan’s otherworldly standards and expectations. Good to see the scissor-kick make an appearance so far in advance of the PL season, which kicks off two weeks from today.
As for the rest of Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils, seeing Wayne Rooney bag a second-half brace, just three minutes between goals, could well be the most welcome sign of all for the red half of Manchester. His positional deployment on this day? The no. 10 role, just behind Zlatan.
Man United went on to defeat Galatasaray by the final score of 5-2.
At the risk of tooting my own horn, count me among the few who thought Hugo Lloris might’ve done a bit better on Eder‘s EURO winning goal.
It wasn’t a howler. But the French goalkeeper, one of the best in the world, seemed a tad slow to explode toward the right post when Eder let rip with a new legendary Portuguese shot.
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It seems there’s good reason for this, as Lloris was injured just before the goal. Raphael Guerriero bent a gorgeous free kick off the cross bar, as you might remember, one that sent the goalkeeper clattering into the goal post.
This new video shows the Spurs goalkeeper favoring his right side or leg for the next minute, and that’s the leg he uses to drive his body low toward Eder’s bounding shot.
What do you think? Did it make a difference? Or was Eder’s shot plenty good on merit?
New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies is in remission after being treated for liposarcoma this Spring.
The 30-year-old striker took some time off from the team this Spring, and revealed his battle on Saturday.
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According to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, “Liposarcoma is a rare cancer of connective tissues that resemble fat cells under a microscope. It accounts for up to 18% of all soft tissue sarcomas. Liposarcoma can occur in almost any part of the body, but more than half of liposarcoma cases involve the thigh, and up to a third involve the abdominal cavity.”
Davies has had his fair share of obstacles to overcome, having been involved in a massive car accident in 2009 that lacerated his bladder, left bleeding on the brain and broke several bones.
He missed six months for then-club Sochaux, and struggled to regain the form that saw him score four goals in 17 caps for the USMNT. He enjoyed a renaissance last summer with 10 goals for the Revolution.
From a release:
“Today, New England Revolution forward Charlie Davies shared that earlier this spring he was diagnosed and treated for liposarcoma and that he is now in remission. It was important for Charlie to concentrate on his family and treatment during the past few weeks and the club honored his wish for privacy. The New England Revolution will continue to support him through full recovery and are looking forward to seeing him back out on the pitch. Any fans who wish to share support should tweet or tag messages to Charlie at @CharlieDavies9 or use the hashtag #CD9.”
All our best to CD9 and his family, who braved two children born three months premature.
Make no mistake about it, Jurgen Klopp has his team at Anfield.
The Liverpool manager, 49, took over for Brendan Rodgers in January and made some encouraging strides given that he was left with players who weren’t all designed for his system.
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Enter Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum. Bring on Ragnar Klavan and Marko Grujic.
Enter Klopp’s squad, from Sky Sports:
“This is my squad now,” Klopp said. “After all the transfers…this time it is my team. There are probably no players here anymore I don’t want. There are no signings I didn’t want, we have not sold anyone I didn’t want to.”
“I’m not afraid of making decisions – it’s part of the job,” Klopp added. “I am happy with my team now – all I can say is we will be a challenger.
That “not sold anyone I didn’t want to” part sounds a bit like some sour grapes from Borussia Dortmund, where Klopp watched several of his best skip town.
On a lighter note, Klopp cut a rug for a group of young fans at Liverpool, and the Reds were good enough to film it for us.
“If you do it long enough, you can fly”. Head down for some classic, but ultimately very misleading, Klopp.