Bayern Munich progressed to the final of the Champions League with a 3-0 win over Lyon at the Estadio Jose Alvalade on Wednesday night.
The German champions dominated the proceedings but Lyon had their moments and they were eventually made to rue about the missed chances.
Memphis Depay failed to hit the target after he was clean through on goal early in the game. Karl Toko Ekambi missed three chances on the night to hit the back of the net as well.
The French outfit were made to pay for the lapses in front of goal as Serge Gnabry scored twice in the first half to put Bayern Munich in the driver’s seat. Robert Lewandowski added a third in the dying minutes to continue his astonishing scoring record in the Champions League.
The Bavarians will face Paris Saint-Germain in the final in Lisbon on Sunday night.
#1 Serge Gnabry – from a West Brom reject to Bayern Munich mainstay
The 25-year-old winger is continuing to his prove his detractors wrong as he goes from strength to strength at Bayern Munich.
His first goal on Wednesday night was a thing of beauty. He cut in from the right side and produced a razor-sharp finish with his left foot while being surrounded by three Lyon defenders.
Serge Gnabry has scored nine goals in as many Champions League games this season and has 23 in all competitions. What forced Arsenal to sell the German we would never know but he is making Tony Pulis eat his words.
He famously wrote off Gnabry as not being good enough to play at the Hawthorns after joining the Baggies on loan from Arsenal in the summer of 2015.
The German has reached another level but there must be regret around him at the Emirates and the Hawthorns.
#2 Robert Lewandowski is the best number 9 of this era
Robert Lewandowski has scored an astonishing 246 goals in 288 appearances for Bayern Munich. His record this season reads 55 goals in 46 games in all competitions.
The Pole has been nothing short of brilliant in the Champions League, scoring 15 goals in nine games. The 31-year-old is at the peak of his goalscoring prowess but he has often been overshadowed by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the last decade.
But a closer look at his record in the last decade would suggest that he is the best number 9 of his era. He has 236 goals in 321 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund combined. He has also netted 68 times in 89 Champions League appearances.
There is not another number 9 with a comparable record and he is surely the best pure centre-forward of this era.
#3 Lyon left to ponder on what could have been
Lyon finished seventh in Ligue 1 this season and will not be involved in European football next season. Their run to the semi-finals of the Champions League is a story in itself.
They made it out of a tricky Group G which also had Benfica but were widely expected to exit the competition in the Round of 16 stage. But they produced the first shock result when they knocked out Juventus and then beat Manchester City 3-1 in the quarter-finals.
They were expected to get beaten by Bayern Munich in the semi-finals but Lyon squandered two great opportunities to take an early lead with Memphis Depay and Karl Toko Ekambi fluffing their lines in front of goal.
If they had taken an early lead, the dynamics of the game could have been much different. While their exit in the semi-final is not a shock, the French giants were left to ponder on what could have been if Depay or Toko Ekambi had hit the back of the net early in the game.
#4 Hansi Flick proving big clubs don’t need big-name managers
Hansi Flick joined the German champions as the assistant to Niko Kovac in July 2019 but four months later who took charge of the club as the interim boss when the Croatian was sacked after a torrid start to the season.
Since then, Bayern Munch have not looked behind. Flick has proven his credentials on the biggest of stage with the German champions.
A brilliant second half of the season meant the Bavarians won the Bundesliga on a canter again and the 8-2 win over Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals will go down as one of the iconic results in Bayern Munich’s history.
Flick has done what Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti, much bigger names than him, failed to do – take Bayern Munich to a Champions League final.
His name will be written alongside legendary Bayern Munich managers such as Udo Lattek, Dettmar Cramer, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Jupp Heynckes if his side beat Paris Saint-Germain in the final on Sunday.
#5 Bayern Munich need to tighten up at the back
Both Barcelona and Lyon exposed Bayern Munich’s defensive high line without actually taking advantage of the frailties. Memphis Depay’s early miss on Wednesday night was glaring but it was too easy to send him through on Manuel Neuer’s goal.
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will make them pay if they get the same kind of opportunities. PSG have the pace to hurt the Bayern Munich defence and they also press high.
The Bayern Munich midfield will need to make sure that they do not lose the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch the way RB Leipzig did in the other semi-final.
But it remains to be seen whether Hansi Flick orders his defence to drop back a few yards against PSG. Lyon and Barcelona showed the chinks in their armour but PSG have the players to punch holes into them.