Robert Lewandowski

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Bayern’s Lewandowski out for a month with leg injury

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Robert Lewandowski will miss the next month, including Bayern Munich’s UEFA Champions League second leg against Chelsea, after suffering a leg injury during Tuesday’s 3-0 thrashing of the Premier League side.

[ MORE: Jurgen Klinsmann’s parting shots cause anger at Hertha Berlin ]

Bayern announced on Wednesday that Lewandowski fractured his tibia near his left knee joint. With the recovery time currently expected to be four weeks, the injury isn’t thought to be serious.

Not only will the Bundesliga’s leading scorer this season (25 goals, four more than second-place Timo Werner) out for leg no. 2 against Chelsea, but he could also miss as many as five league games as Bayern try to win their eighth straight domestic title. With 11 games left to play in Germany, Bayern hold a one-point lead on second-place RB Leipzig. Lewandowski is expected to return before the UCL quarterfinals during the first week of April.

[ MORE: Man City makes statement, comes back in Madrid ]

Lewandowski has 40 goals in 36 games (all competitions) to his name this season and has shown little or no sign of slowing down at the age of 31. Serge Gnabry, who has 10 league goals, is the only other player to have reached double digits for Bayern this season. Next closest to Gnabry is Philippe Coutinho, with six.

Bayern Munich puts Chelsea in 3-goal hole

Bayern Chelsea
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Too easy.

Serge Gnabry scored off a pair of Robert Lewandowski assists as Bayern Munich earned a 3-0 first-leg lead over Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Lampard reacts to ‘harsh lesson’ ]

Chelsea played the last dozen minutes down a man; Marcos Alonso was sent off via VAR for contact to the face of Robert Lewandowski away from the play. He’ll miss the second leg, as will Jorginho after collecting another yellow card.

Lewandowski capped off the scoring to make Chelsea’s task even more difficult heading to the Allianz Arena for the March 18 second leg.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Three things we learned

1. Bayern loves London: Just under five months ago, Bayern Munich buried Tottenham Hotspur in North London in a seven-goal show. This wasn’t quite that, but the Bavarians out-classed a Chelsea side which had few answers for Hansi Flick’s tactics. Bayern has hung 10 on London.

2. Ex-Gunner Gnabry runs the show: Gnabry scored just one goal in 14 appearances over four years between Arsenal and West Brom, and is making up for lost time during this season’s Champions League. He scored four times and added an assist when Bayern visited his former North London Derby rivals. This time, it was two goals in four second-half minutes at Stamford Bridge, the German playmaker contributing plenty in the defensive half.

All it took was one slip from Cesar Azpilicueta to start the scoring.

3. Chelsea’s backs torn apart: It’s difficult to find any fine individual performances from the Blues aside from Mateo Kovacic, though Mason Mount had his moments, but the worst days came from the back three. Bayern was credited with a half-dozen big chances via Sofascore, and the visitors took a whopping 11 shots inside the box.

Man of the Match: The 30-year-old Muller was everywhere early, but it’s difficult to give this to anyone but Gnabry or Lewandowski. We’ll give it to the German.


Kingsley Coman was the first to scare the opposition, working a long 1-2 with Thomas Muller before thumping a low shot wide of the near post in the 12th minute.

Chelsea backstop Willy Caballero made a sliding trail leg save on Robert Lewandowski in the 28th.

Muller then swirled a shot around Caballero but just past the far post before heading off the cross bar in the 35th.

Chelsea got a prime moment in the 48th minute, but Mason Mount was dispossessed and Manuel Neuer stymied Ross Barkley.

Gnabry then stole the ball in Chelsea’s half and worked a 1-2 with Lewandowski to put Bayern on the board.

Mount latched onto a big mistake from Joshua Kimmich but badly missed his bid to catch Neuer out of the goal.

Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies produced the third goal with a roaring run down the left flank, crossing to Lewandowski for the goal.

Champions League: Chelsea, Napoli aim to slow Lewandowski, Messi

UEFA Champions League preview
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Four of the most dangerous attacks in Europe begin their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

For Chelsea that means trying to find a way to limit the damage of away goals when Bayern Munich visits Stamford Bridge.

Of course, that means trying to slow lethal Robert Lewandowski. The 31-year-old Polish striker has scored 38 times in 32 appearances this season.

Here’s Frank Lampard, via Football.London:

Form of his life means something special with Lewandowski because of how well he’s been consistently in Europe for the last, how many years, I don’t know,” Lampard said. “Everything about him, from a distance, from afar, is just top class. Having the opportunity to watch a lot of Bayern in build-up to this game, that shines through. Of course, he’s going to be a huge threat. He’s not the only threat but he is a spearhead.”

Lampard points to the Blues work without the ball and away from it that will determine whether they can limit Lewandowski and Bayern.

“We traveled to Ajax and had a fantastic game off the ball,” he said. “We’ve had games like that this year in the league as well. But the levels have to go up.”

The Blues won’t have Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and N’Golo Kante, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek is finally available after a long injury absence. Pedro may play.

[ MORE: JPW’s score predictions ]

Tuesday’s other first leg sees Napoli hosting Barcelona, which means Gennaro Gattuso trying to find a way to cool down Lionel Messi.

The world’s top player scored four goals at the weekend and had six assists in his three previous La Liga outings.

Another player who’s helped Barcelona reclaim the league lead will be critical to controlling the midfield against Napoli, and that’s Frenkie de Jong.

The 22-year-old has had fits and starts at Barca, especially this month. He admits that he’s had an odd time adjusting to Messi, the teammate, though it hasn’t been part of the problem. From FCBarcelona.com:

“When I began training with him it was strange, because when I was 12, still in secondary school, I used to watch a lot of football. He was already the best in the world. He won the Ballon d’Or back then, so I was a fan, or whatever you want to call it.”

Napoli boss Gattuso was a bit more effusive when addressing Messi, via Football.Espana:

“I have read whether to make a cage or not, but we need the collective game to combat someone like him, and it is not just him,” Gattuso said. “He is the best in the world, for how he has lived his entire career. He is always perfect, never a misplaced word, he is an example for everyone. He does things that I only see on the PlayStation. He has an incredible quality and for years he has been the best of all-time.”

Both matches kick off at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Lewandowski scores late to keep Bayern on title track (video)

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MUNICH — Robert Lewandowski scored late for leader Bayern Munich to get a head start on its Bundesliga rivals after a hard-fought 3-2 win over bottom side Paderborn on Friday.

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The Polish striker scored twice and took his league-leading tally to 25 with the winning goal in the 88th minute, set up like his previous goal by Serge Gnabry, who scored the opener in the 25th.

Bayern (49) stretched its lead to four points ahead of the rest of the 23rd round, with rivals Leipzig (45), Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Monchengladbach (42 each) all playing on Saturday.

The visitors were first to have the ball in the net, but Paderborn striker Streli Mamba was clearly offside and the linesman waited before raising his flag to rule out his third-minute goal.

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Paderborn defended well, keeping Bayern at bay until Gnabry found a way through with two touches after Lewandowski persevered to win the ball back in the 25th.

A mistake from Manuel Neuer allowed Dennis Srbeny to equalize a minute before the break. The Bayern goalkeeper emerged from goal in typical fashion but failed to clear and Srbeny eluded three helpless defenders before shooting to the unguarded net.

Lewandowski restored Bayern’s lead in the 70th, finishing off a Gnabry cross.

Sven Michel equalized five minutes later, from a rebound after Neuer deflected Dennis Jastrzembski’s effort to his feet. But Lewandowski had the last say to keep Bayern’s title charge going.

Paderborn remained six points from safety.

Bayern Munich, Leipzig wasteful in scoreless draw

Bayern Munich v. RB Leipzig recap and video highlights
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Chances were wasted at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig staged a 0-0 draw on Sunday, as the table-leading hosts maintained their one-point lead on the second-place visitors.

American midfielder Tyler Adams went 90 minutes for Leipzig, making two interceptions and three tackles. He completed just 53 percent of his passes, also blocking a shot and registering a key pass (Stats).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Bayern was the better team in the first 45 minutes, and Leipzig would’ve been content to get to the team room with zeroes on the scoreboard.

The second half changed that, with Leipzig missing two gilt-edged chances. The most surprising was when a lively Christopher Nkunku cut a pass across the 18 to a wide-open Timo Werner.

The Bundesliga’s second-leading scorer thumped it wide.

Hungarian international Péter Gulácsi was also influential in the second half, making an incredible save off a 1-2 between Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski.

He was credited with two saves on the day.

Bayern will feel it should’ve claimed all the points on the day, though RBL center back Dayot Upamecano joined Gulacsi in making life difficult for the serial champions.

Elsewhere, Koln’s visit to Borussia Monchengladbach was postponed, leaving ‘Gladbach three points behind Leipzig and four back of Bayern.

Bayern doesn’t play fellow title chasers Borussia Dortmund or Gladbach until April.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 21 13 4 4 58 23 35 7-2-2 6-2-2 43
 RB Leipzig 21 12 6 3 53 25 28 6-3-1 6-3-2 42
 Borussia Dortmund 21 11 6 4 59 32 27 7-3-0 4-3-4 39
 Mönchengladbach 20 12 3 5 38 23 15 8-1-1 4-2-4 39
 Bayer Leverkusen 21 11 4 6 35 27 8 5-4-2 6-0-4 37
 FC Schalke 04 21 9 8 4 32 27 5 5-5-1 4-3-3 35
 1899 Hoffenheim 21 10 3 8 31 32 -1 5-1-5 5-2-3 33
 SC Freiburg 21 9 5 7 30 30 0 5-2-3 4-3-4 32
 Eintracht Frankfurt 21 8 4 9 37 31 6 6-3-2 2-1-7 28
 VfL Wolfsburg 21 7 7 7 25 26 -1 3-5-3 4-2-4 28
 1. FC Union Berlin 21 8 2 11 25 32 -7 6-0-4 2-2-7 26
 FC Augsburg 21 7 5 9 33 44 -11 5-2-3 2-3-6 26
 1. FC Köln 20 7 2 11 27 38 -11 5-1-4 2-1-7 23
 Hertha BSC Berlin 21 6 5 10 25 37 -12 3-2-6 3-3-4 23
 FSV Mainz 05 21 7 0 14 31 48 -17 3-0-7 4-0-7 21
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 21 4 5 12 20 42 -22 3-2-5 1-3-7 17
 Werder Bremen 21 4 5 12 25 48 -23 1-2-7 3-3-5 17
 SC Paderborn 21 4 4 13 26 45 -19 2-1-8 2-3-5 16