When Bayern Munich are firing on all cylinders, they are scary, scary sight. And that was exactly the case on Tuesday night when six players contributed for seven goals in the 7-1 route of Group E opponents, AS Roma.
An uneventful opening eight minutes was upended when Arjen Robben collected the ball on the right flank, just outside the Roma box. The Dutchman found Philip Lahm on the 18 yard box for a quick one-two and then shook Ashley Cole to the right before unleashing a left-footed curler into the far side netting. One-nil to the visitors.
Just two minutes later and Roma responded well, pouring forward and finding Gervinho in the box. His left-footed strike was hit hard from 12 yards out but Manuel Neuer was quick going down to his left for the save. From there on, however, it’s been all Bayern, putting on a master-class, owning the ball and possessing comfortably in Roma’s end.
Robert Lewandowski nearly doubled the lead in the 13th minute through a low, hard shot from 18 yards out was saved by Morgan De Sanctis. Ten minutes later, though, Mario Gotze did the job. With a defender tight in front of him, the fleet-footed Gotze pulled two step-overs before finding Thomas Muller at the top of the box. His one-touch, behind-the-back layoff went right into Gotze’s running lane and his one touch finish flew into the bottom corner of the net.
Two minutes on, and the lead was tripled as Bayern worked the ball out to the left before a beautiful curling cross found the head of Lewandowski. At this point, Roma looked miserable. Heads went down. Souls crushed. And then it got worse as in the 30th minute, Robben found his way through the right side again, this time off the counter, pounding the ball home from 8 yards out.
The fifth came through a penalty after Konstantinos Manolas handled Daniel Alaba’s cross and the referee pointed to the spot. Muller stepped up and sent a calculating shot to the bottom right that De Sanctis had little chance of saving.
Roma gathered themselves at half and Rudi Garcia making two changes brining Alessandro Florenzi on for Francesco Totti and Jose Holebas comes on for Ashley Cole. The move nearly paid dividends as after Gervinho his the post in the 54th minute, the ball came back over the top for Florenzi who’s thumping effort was blocked by the stunning Neuer.
In the 61st minute, Neuer made what has to be one of the saves of the European season. After Gervinho drew a foul from 30 yards out, Pjanic sent in a teasing cross directly onto the foot of Gervinho. From 3 yards out the Ivorian’s effort was sent just left of Neuer, who used the momentum of the ball to spin himself into the ground and snare the save. He had no business of doing so. The moment merely encapsulated just how good Bayern were on the night and, of course, that Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the world.
In the 66th minute, however, Neuer was finally beaten by Gervinho. Collecting the ball at half, Florenze drove up the pitch and found Nainggolan on the left, who rifled a cross right onto the head of Gervinho. It was a well-earned goal for Roma and a much-deserved goal scorer in Gervhinho, who was fantastic on the night.
After a ten minute lull and as soon as Bayern appeared to have taken the foot off the gas, Robben collected the ball at midfield and slipped a perfect ball in between the Roma defense for substitute Franck Ribery to run on to. Without hesitation, Ribery stabbed a lofty shot over the head of De Sanctis and into the back of the net.
Two minutes later and another substitute, Xherdan Shaqiri, got on the scoresheet. After a low drive from Rafinha was poorly handled by De Sanctis, Shaqiri pounced, taking one prep touch before shooting into the roof of the net for Bayern’s seventh of the night. He had been on the pitch just one minute before the goal.
Roma: De Sanctis; Torosidis, Manolas, Mapou, Cole (Jose Holebas 45′); Pjanic, De Rossi, Nainggolan; Iturbe, Totti (Alessandro Florenzi 45′), Gervinho
Goals: Robben 9′, Gotze 23′, Lewandowski 25′, Robben 30′, Muller 36′, Ribery 78′, Shaqiri 80′
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Bernat, Boateng, Benatia, Alaba; Alonso, Robben, Lahm (C), Götze (Xherdan Shaqiri 79′); Müller (Rafina 60′), Lewandowski (Franck Ribery 68′)
Goals: Gervinho 66′