Leroy Sane put in an attacking masterclass as Bayern Munich dismantled courageous SL Benfica 4-0 at Estadio da Luz.
Bayern Munich solidified their position at the top of the UEFA Champions League Group E after securing a thumping 4-0 win over SL Benfica on Wednesday. The victory helped them extend their lead at the top to five points, making them the undisputed favourites to finish top of Group E, in the Champions League.
It was a far even encounter than the scoreline suggests, with Bayern struggling to breach the lines of the Benfica defence for the most part of the game. They were startled by the aggression of the Portuguese giants while their defensive resilience and tenacity on the counter made it almost impossible for them to dominate the game, especially in front of a packed Estadio da Luz.
The Bavarians did score twice but both the goals were ruled out by VAR. In fact, it required a sensational 70th-minute free-kick strike from Leroy Sane to break the deadlock. The goal did open up the floodgates, though, with Benfica soon conceding another through an Everton own goal.
Bayern then went on to score their third of the night through Robert Lewandowski, in the 82nd minute before Leroy Sane added the final gloss in the scoreline, just a couple of minutes later. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will rank the visitors in their hard-fought yet thumping 4-0 victory over SL Benfica this midweek.
Manuel Neuer: 8/10
Manuel Neuer played a massive role behind Bayern Munich’s victory as it was he who prevented Benfica from taking the lead, thanks to some extraordinary saves to deny Darwin Nunez. His brilliant performance in between the sticks inspired the Bayern players to make a late push for the winner.
A clean sheet in his 100th UCL game for FC Bayern.
— 🇺🇸 FC Bayern US 🇨🇦 (@FCBayernUS) October 20, 2021
Benjamin Pavard: 6/10
Benjamin Pavard had a mixed game at right-back. He didn’t have a great time defending against Darwin Nunez, whose pace and tenacity was too much for the Frenchman, at times. At the same time, he did offer decent support going forward, before being taken off in the second half.
Niklas Sule: 6.5/10
Niklas Sule didn’t have a particularly great game either. He was far more secure than his teammates, but the German international did struggle badly once or twice, allowing Benfica to cause problems for Neuer in goal.
Dayot Upamecano: 5.5/10
It was a bad day at the office for Dayot Upamecano, who failed to impose his dominance on the proceedings. He got beaten all ends up on multiple occasions, including the exceptional run from Roman Yaremchuk, where the Frenchman couldn’t outmuscle the Ukrainian international.
Lucas Hernandez: 6.5/10
Lucas Hernandez didn’t look as comfortable at left-back. It was a surprise to see him start in the first place, but Bayern had very little choice as Alphonso Davies couldn’t make the trip to Lisbon. Predictably, Hernandez did have difficulties dealing with the pace Rafa Silva, so he does have some room to improve.
Joshua Kimmich: 7.5/10
Joshua Kimmich had a slow start to the game and it was difficult for him to dominate Benfica due to their aggression. But he was patient and composed, which eventually paid off, as the midfielder played a vital role in helping Bayern pick the opposition apart during the late stages of the game, using his effective passing and distribution.
Marcel Sabitzer: 7.5/10
Filling in for Leon Goretzka, new signing Marcel Sabitzer enjoyed an excellent game in the middle of the park. He was frustrating at times, but the Austrian international offered brilliant work ethic and went forward at every given opportunity. He was also the architect of several scoring opportunities for his team throughout the course of the game, and the former RB Leipzig star certainly fits the Bayern DNA very well.
Thomas Muller: 7/10
Thomas Muller was curiously deployed in a wide role by Bayern’s assistant managers. Unfortunately, it did affect the German’s performance as he was often unable to drift into central channels, though he did manage to open up spaces for his teammates and make a nuisance of himself in the final third.
Leroy Sane: 10/10
Leroy Sane was one of the best players on the pitch, dominating the game from the new number ten role. The former Man City star really seemed to thrive in a central position, which gave him the freedom to drift into both channels and have the opportunity to test the opposition goalkeeper.
Predictably, the winger was heavily involved in the scoring department. It was his sensational free-kick that opened the scoring while his attempted cross hit Everton for the own goal. The forward also registered the assist for the third goal before capping off his brilliant display netting his second in the 84th minute.
Leroy Sané vs. Benfica:
92% pass accuracy
6 ball recoveries
4 touches in the opp. box
3 duels won
3 chances created
2 take-ons completed
— Bayern & Die Mannschaft (@iMiaSanMia_en) October 20, 2021
Kingsley Coman: 8/10
Kingsley Coman enjoyed a phenomenal evening against Benfica. In fact, he was undisputedly the best player on the pitch in the first half, constantly bombarding the left flank with his pace, trickery and ability to whip in crosses into the box. The majority of them caused real problems for the Benfica defence, though the forward wasn’t directly involved in any of the goals.
Robert Lewandowski: 7.5/10
It was one of those unfortunate days for Robert Lewandowski, who struggled to find scoring opportunities and had a goal ruled out as it was revealed that he had finished with his arm. The Pole did manage to score at the end, capitalising on a selfless pass from Sane to extend his tally further.
Serge Gnabry: 7.5/10
Serge Gnabry offered Bayern Munich more juice going forward after coming on for Pavard midway through the second half. His energy was key in helping Bayern push for the winner.
Josip Stanisic: N/A
A late replacement for Muller. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Jamal Musiala: N/A
A late replacement for Coman. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Corentin Tolisso: N/A
A late replacement for Sabitzer. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Omar Richards: N/A
A late replacement for Hernandez. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.