Bayern Munich produced an incredible first-half performance against Porto to eradicate their first-leg deficit and all but secure their place in the semifinals of the Champions League. Trailing 3-1 from their visit to Porto last week, Bayern put the Portuguese side to the sword in the opening 45 minutes at the Allianz Arena, scoring five unanswered goals.
Starting off at a ferocious pace, in sharp contrast to their lackluster display a week ago, Bayern went in front after just 14 minutes when Thiago Alcantara added to his goal in the first leg with a powerful header. Eight minutes later Bayern had already wiped out Porto’s advantage and put themselves ahead on away goals when Jerome Boateng added a second on the night from a corner. The goals continued to come thick and fast as Porto’s defense was besieged. Robert Lewandowski got goals three and five, the first with yet another headed Bayern goals and his second with a clinical finish from Muller’s pull back. In between, Muller got a goal of his own when his 25-yard strike deflected in off the heel of Porto defender Bruno Martins Indi.
The 5-0 half-time score line means Bayern have a 6-3 lead on aggregate and can already begin planning for a fourth successive Champions League semifinal. And after the scale of their travails in Portugal, that is some recovery. Last week’s defeat led to significant fall out, with the club’s long-time doctor quitting and speculation swirling over the future of manager Pep Guardiola. Bayern’s task in the return leg was made more difficult by a host of injuries that have decimated their squad. Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, David Alaba, Mehdi Benatia and Bastian Schweinsteiger were all absent from the starting lineup, yet Bayern produced one of their best spells of Guardiola's reign. Surely now it only remains to be seen whether Bayern will ease up in the second half or go on and replicate, or even better, the seven goals they scored against Shakhtar Donestsk and Roma earlier in the competition.
Update: Full highlights and match report available here.