The Bavarians wrote history on Tuesday, and in doing so sent a message to future opponents: no matter who they face, the German giants can never be underdogs at home
By Clark Whitney | German Football Editor
After their 7-1 hammering of Hoffenheim over the weekend, it was hard to imagine Bayern Munich exceeding their previous result against a Basel side that just weeks before had nullified their attack in a 1-0 win.
But on Tuesday, the Bavarians made history as they trounced the Swiss champions 7-0 at the Allianz Arena, setting a new record for margin of victory in a Champions League knockout match as they booked their spot in the quarter-finals.
|BAYERN V BASEL MATCH STATS
Shots on goal
In attack, Bayern were clinical. An early missed chance from Arjen Robben aside, the hosts tested Yann Sommer with every good opportunity. And while the goalkeeper made three outstanding saves in the opening half hour, even his heroics could not prevent a humiliating result. Mario Gomez grabbed the headlines with four consecutive goals, all scored within 23 minutes. After a prolonged spell in which he appeared hesitant and devoid of confidence, the Germany international grabbed his second hat-trick in as many games, bringing his tally to 10 in the Champions League this season. Thomas Muller, who needed a strike even more than Gomez, scored with a classy finish to bring his total to just two in his last 21 games.
On the wings, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben were at their best, combining for four assists and two goals. But perhaps most significant was the emergence of David Alaba as a viable option at left-back. With Rafinha having utterly failed to justify his starting role opposite Philipp Lahm, the Austrian has been a revelation in the last two games.
He played well against Hoffenheim, and he affirmed his quality on a bigger stage as he faced a tougher opponent in the form of Xherdan Shaqiri. If he can continue to prove himself against top wingers, the 19-year-old just might become what Rafinha was meant to be. And if he does, it comes as a bonus as his position allows Lahm to play on the right, his preferred side of the pitch.
With just over two months left in the campaign, now is the perfect time for Bayern to hit peak form. Since Saturday, they have scored enough goals to win half a dozen games or more.
Despite the emphatic results, however, both victories were achieved at home, which leaves the Bavarians with a lot to prove on the road. The pressure will be back on Saturday as they visit Hertha Berlin in a game that will be a real test of whether their form extends to away matches.
For now, though, it is abundantly clear that the Bavarians have the quality to worry any visitors to the Allianz Arena, and given that the Champions League final is set to be played in Munich, that can be a key advantage. For no matter their opponents, should they reach the final, it would be hard to label Bayern as underdogs.
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