Tottenham destroyed by Bayern
The second matchday of the European Champions League group stage saw several notable matches. Among these was the game between English side Tottenham Hotspur, the runner-ups from the previous season, and German giants Bayern Munich.
Although Tottenham had done well in the 2018-19 Champions League season, the 2019-20 season was not going smoothly, with Spurs botching a 2-goal lead to tie Olympiakos on the first matchday. In contrast, Bayern had won their game that day, and were sitting at the top of the Bundesliga table. Nevertheless, the field was open for either team to snatch up all 3 points.
Having beaten Bayern in the summer Audi Cup on penalties, Tottenham hoped to replicate the quality of that performance against the clearly better side. And since the game was being played in North London, it was expected that the pitch and the crowd would grant Spurs a significant home field advantage.
Kickoff began with both teams looking eager to score. Bayern’s first shot on target came in the 2nd minute of the game, with Kingsley Coman picking out Serge Gnabry’s run forward, necessitating a solid save from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris. Tottenham continued to press deep, with shots from Heung-min Son in the 6th and 10th minutes, forcing saves from Manuel Neuer. Another chance for Bayern early in the game fell to Robert Lewandowski, but the effort failed to trouble Lloris.
After a bad mistake from Bayern defender Corentin Tolisso just outside the Bayern box, the ball found its way to Moussa Sissoko, whose well-timed pass to Son saw a precise finish that allowed Tottenham to take an early lead in the 12th minute. The 1-0 scoreline wouldn’t last for long, though, as an incomplete clearance by Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen fell to Joshua Kimmich, who curled his shot into the back of the net from 20 yards out, leveling the score.
However, Spurs continued to press forward. An effort from Harry Kane in the 18th minute caught Neuer in no-man’s-land, but was cleared by David Alaba. More shots came from Serge Aurier, Son, and Kane, but were all either just wide or saved by Neuer. In the 45th minute, a scramble in the Tottenham box ended with the ball falling to an unmarked Lewandowski, who whipped the ball just past the reach of Lloris to give Bayern a 1-2 lead heading into half-time.
The second half seemed to start well for Tottenham, with an effort from Dele Ali in the 50th minute testing Neuer. However, Bayern fought back. A fantastic 40-yard run by Gnabry in the 53rd minute topped with an equally impressive finish saw the visitors double their lead. Scarcely two minutes later, a mistake by Harry Winks let Tolisso feed the ball to an ever-ready Gnabry, whose well-aimed shot found the back of the net off the post, bringing the scoreline to 4-1 in favor of Bayern.
A clash in the 59th minute between Danny Rose and Kingsley Coman just inside the 18-yard box was ruled a high boot on the part of Coman, and a coolly taken penalty by Kane seemed to give the hosts a chance at a comeback. However, Bayern continued to hold fast, preventing Spurs from posing a serious threat to their goal.
The final ten minutes of the game saw a Bayern onslaught. It began with a 40-yard pass by Thiago in the 83rd minute that allowed Serge Gnabry to run behind the Tottenham line of defense, completing his hat-trick. Then, in the 87th minute, Alderweireld’s pass was intercepted by Thiago, and Lewandowski slipped behind his marker to score a brace.
It didn’t stop there, though, and a mistake by Aurier in the 88th minute meant that it took barely another minute for Gnabry to find the back of the net a fourth time, making the final scoreline an astonishing 7 goals for the visitors versus 2 for the hosts.
This loss means that Tottenham Hotspur are now bottom of the Group B table, with only one win in their last 5 games. The severity of this defeat also raises questions regarding manager Mauricio Pochettino’s tenure at the club, along with the status of the team as a whole.
A triumphant Bayern Munich now tops the Group B table, looking poised to take a spot in the Round of 16, and from Serge Gnabry’s remarkable performance, it seems certain that the future of the club is in good hands.