Bayern coach Nagelsmann absent amid Benfica win

The manager was unavailable due to ‘a flu-like infection’.

Julian Nagelsmann (file pic).
Julian Nagelsmann (file pic).
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

LEROY SANE struck twice in the second half to inspire Bayern Munich to a 4-0 win at Benfica on Wednesday, as the German giants maintained their perfect record in the Champions League group stage this season.

Bayern have now won three games in three without conceding a goal and have one foot in the next round with a five-point lead at the top of Group E.

The six-time European Cup winners were twice denied the lead by VAR in a hard-fought first hour, before Sane finally broke Benfica’s defences with a fizzing dead-ball strike 20 minutes from time.

The German international added another goal and an assist in the closing stages as the hosts collapsed and Bayern cruised to yet another comfortable Champions League win this season.

Bayern were without a handful of key names, including Leon Goretzka, Alphonso Davies and head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who was absent with what the club described as a “flu-like infection”.

Yet they started brightly with assistant coach Dino Toppmoeller directing proceedings from the sidelines.

Robert Lewandowski forced two early saves from Odysseas Vlachodimos, while Leroy Sane shaved the post with a low shot across the face of goal.

Yet the Bundesliga champions’ formidable front line became increasingly starved of space as Benfica found their rhythm.

Lewandowski found the net from close range just before half-time, but the goal was ruled out after the replay showed the Polish striker had scored with his arm.

German-born Benfica keeper Vlachodimos pulled off another fine reflex stop to deny Benjamin Pavard just after the break as Bayern once again besieged the Benfica box.

The visitors had another goal ruled out for offside minutes later, before Neuer frustrated Diogo Goncalves with a flying save at the other end.

Roman Yaremchuk also came close for the hosts, before Sane finally secured the lead for Bayern with a dipping free-kick.

Bayern doubled the lead 10 minutes later as Everton directed a Serge Gnabry cross into his own net.

Sane then crowned a perfect evening with an assist and another goal, setting up Lewandowski for Bayern’s third before smashing in their fourth himself on the half-volley.

UEFA Champions League results on Wednesday: 

Group E

Barcelona (ESP) 1 (Pique 36) Dynamo Kiev (UKR) 0

Benfica (POR) 0 Bayern Munich (GER) 4 (Sane 70, 85, Everton 80-og, Lewandowski 82)

Gavin Cooney
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Group F

Manchester United (ENG) 3 (Rashford 53, Maguire 75, Ronaldo 81) Atalanta (ITA) 2 (Pasalic 15, Demiral 29)

Young Boys (SUI) 1 (Elia 77) Villarreal (ESP) 4 (Pino 6, G. Moreno 16, A. Moreno 89, Chukwueze 90+2)

Group G

Salzburg (AUT) 3 (Adeyemi 3, Okafor 65, 77) Wolfsburg (GER) 1 (Nmecha 15)

Lille (FRA) 0 Sevilla (ESP) 0

Group H

Chelsea (ENG) 4 (Christensen 9, Jorginho 21-pen, 57-pen, Havertz 48) Malmo (SWE) 0

Zenit Saint Petersburg (RUS) 0 Juventus (ITA) 1 (Kulusevski 86)

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