Robert Lewandowski led his side to victory with an 11-minute hat-trick as Bayern Munich demolished RB Salzburg 7-1 to reach the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
On his 100th start in the Champions League, Lewandowski opened his scoring account 12 minutes into the game, forcing Max Wöber to concede a penalty which he readily converted. Nine minutes later, the Polish striker scored another penalty to put Bayern 2-0 ahead.
Then, as the clock just ticked into the 23rd minute, Lewandowski completed his hat-trick, tapping the ball into the net after it rebounded off Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Kohn – the hat-trick is the earliest scored from the start of a match in Champions League history, according to UEFA.
Lewandowski now sits on 85 Champions League goals and reached the mark in 104 matches, faster than any player in history with PSG star Lionel Messi second on 107.
With the game and tie already decided, Lewandowski’s teammates did the rest, with Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sané contributing a goal apiece, and Bayern stalwart Thomas Müller scoring another two. Salzburg could only a muster a single goal in response, scored by 18-year-old Maurits Kjaergaard in the 70th minute.
The 7-1 final score stood in marked contrast to the first leg where Salzburg held Bayern to a 1-1 draw, keeping its hopes alive of becoming the first Austrian side to reach the Champions League quarterfinals since 1985.
After the disappointing performance in the first leg, Bayern showed precisely why it’s a six-time winner of Europe’s top club competition. Following its much-publicized defensive frailties of late, the German giant proved that attack is indeed the best form of defense with a 3-4-2-1 formation.
Bayern limited Salzburg to just 28% possession and fired nine shots on target compared to Salzburg’s four. The nine-time defending Bundesliga champion now advances to the quarterfinals and will find out its next opponent at the next Champions League draw on March 18.