VBefore the game that was going to be a big one for Lazio, Mateo Musacchio probably knew that Robert Lewandowski had already scored 31 goals this season. The defender from Rome has been preparing for the duel with the FC Bayern striker in the past few days. In modern football you do that with statistics and videos. And after the game, which was not a big one for Lazio, Musacchio probably also knew that Lewandowski’s 32nd goal was as easy as seldom.
It had been eight minutes in the Olympic Stadium in Rome when Musacchio was standing with the ball in his own penalty area. Joshua Kimmich was after him. Fast, but not very fast either. But the defender was apparently feeling so pressured that he frantically passed the ball to goalkeeper Pepe Reina. He just made it too hectic. He didn’t play the ball hard enough. Lewandowski intercepted him, laid him past Reina and shot him into the empty goal. Musacchio was then substituted in the 31st minute. There was nothing to suggest that he was hurt.
Of course, it wasn’t just Musacchio’s fault that FC Bayern won the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Lazio Rom 4-1 (3-0). He was responsible for the early first goal. That may have shot up the Romans’ match plan, but even after that, the table sixth in the Italian Serie A was overwhelmed by the defending champion. Before the half-time break, the Munich Jamal Musiala (24th minute) and Leroy Sané (42nd) followed. Then it was the turn of two Romans: Francesco Acerbi hit the wrong goal (46th), Joaquin Correa hit the right goal (49th).
On Tuesday evening, the decisive phase of the current season began for the all-winners from Munich, in which, unlike in the past, they can no longer win everything. In the DFB Cup, they failed a few weeks ago against the second division footballers from Kiel. It could have something to do with the fact that Hansi Flick, her coach, pointed out the day before the game in Rome that a knockout round duel in the Champions League was a “special thing” and that he was a Bayern team expect someone who is “particularly motivated”.
For the special occasion, Flick came up with something special. He placed Jamal Musiala on the important Thomas Müller position that became vacant because Thomas Müller was infected with Covid-19. He has extraordinary technology, but little experience. He will be 18 years old next Friday. “He is a player who can hold the ball, is dangerous and can play the last pass,” said Flick before the game in the “Sky” interview. “I think he’ll make a good game today.”
It only took until the 24th minute for the coach’s prophecy to come true. On the left, full-back Alphonso Davies dribbled past a Roman. He passed the ball to Leon Goretzka, who passed it on to Musiala. And because the Lazio defenders didn’t move into the middle fast enough, Musiala was alone on the edge of the box. He took the ball, cleverly put it in front of him, and shot it flat into the corner of the goal. You could tell the extraordinary technique, but not the lack of experience. He is now the youngest goalscorer in FC Bayern’s Champions League history.
The 2-0 came from a good move by Bayern. The 3-0 then again a mistake by the Romans. They lost the ball on the right. Kingsley Coman grabbed it, dribbled into the box and shot on goal. Reina saved the ball, but Leroy Sané sank it with the margin (42.).
It was also the combination of Coman-Sané that initiated the fourth Munich goal in the 46th minute – even if a Roman completed it. From his own half of the game, Coman matched Sané, who also ran off in his own half of the game. And when he got into the box after a long sprint and passed in the middle, Francesco Acerbi stumbled the ball into his own goal.
Four first leg goals against in your own stadium? That actually means the end. After all, Lazio scored one more thing: In the 49th minute, Joaquin Correa ran through the penalty area and shot the ball past Manuel Neuer. That was one of the few inattentions in the Bayern defense, which, unlike on Saturday, defended steadily in Frankfurt. That was also due to Niklas Süle, whom Flick put up again as a right-back despite public criticism from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. This time, Süle played almost flawlessly and even dared to dribble again and again. That was another positive finding on an evening about which Leon Goretzka, who played from the beginning for the first time since his Covid 19 illness, said: “Today we were in Matchday mode again.”