Bayern Munich beat Napoli
3-2 with a first half hat-trick by Mario Gomez to stand on the
brink of qualification into the knockout stage of the Champions
League although a broken collarbone for Bastian Schweinsteiger
marred the victory.
Gomez scored three times in 25 minutes to take his Champions
League goal tally to 17 and become his country's all-time top
scorer in the competition, surpassing Michael Ballack's 16.
"We played a terrific first half and that was a lot of fun,"
a beaming Gomez told reporters. "And I am the one in the middle
of all this."
The Italians managed to pull two goals back through Federico
Fernandez in a bad-tempered second half in which Napoli's Juan
Zuniga and Bayern's Holger Badstuber were both sent off after
receiving second yellow cards.
Bayern, who made it 10 wins from their last 11 Champions
League matches, will be without Schweinsteiger for at least four
weeks as he will need surgery on his collarbone.
The Bavarians top the group with 10 points with Manchester
City, who beat Villarreal 3-0, second on seven with Napoli third
on five. Villarreal have yet to win a point.
"We saw a game with two different halves. We had a very
fluid first half, then the second half was different. But still
I believe we have to win such games as well," Bayern coach Jupp
Heynckes told reporters.
"It shows the team has a strong spirit and at the end we
deserved to win tonight."
"Mario today was not only a great player because of the
goals but his overall play was outstanding. It does not happen
better than tonight," Heynckes said.
The Bavarians, who have scored an eye-popping 18 goals in
their last four league home games, needed 17 minutes to settle
in on a bitterly cold evening, taking the lead when Gomez picked
up a Schweinsteiger pass, wrong-footed defender Hugo Campagnaro
and fired in a low drive.
It was Bayern's 250th goal in the Champions League, only the
fourth team to reach this number after Real Madrid, Barcelona
and Manchester United.
Germany international Gomez, who has also notched 12 league
goals in 11 matches this season, then struck again six minutes
later volleying in a lovely chip from Toni Kroos.
With Napoli desperately scrambling to figure out how to stop
the Bayern onslaught, the hosts came close again, this time with
Franck Ribery dribbling into the box only to see his shot from a
tight angle palmed away by goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis.
Gomez should have scored a third when he raced clear with
only De Sanctis to beat but his flick went wide.
However, he did complete his hat-trick after 42 minutes,
benefitting from confusion in the box to slot in from close
range for his 13th goal in the last 10 Champions League games.
Fernandez cut the deficit for the Italians just before the
break with a well-timed header as the hosts gradually stepped
off the gas and lost their focus.
The Argentine struck again 10 minutes from time, heading in
as the Bayern defence left him unmarked at the far post to
trigger a nervous finish to the game.
Gomez almost got a fourth with a shot from 80 metres in
stoppage-time as all of Napoli players including De Sanctis had
come forwards for a corner but the keeper sprinted back to save
on the line.
"I had hoped we could recover against a team with phenomenal
players," Napoli coach Walter Mazzari told reporters.
"I am sad for this result. What bothers me most is they
converted their early chances and we did not. We were not
careful enough. The result was not the right one but overall I
am satisfied with my team's game."
Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho will part company at the end of the current season
Manchester City midfielder called up to the England squad for summer friendlies
Spurs miss out on Champions League again despite highest Premier League points tally
Champions closer to matching Real Madrid's La Liga record of 100 points with 2-1 win
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010