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Bayern Munich Explode in First Half, Advance to Champions League Semifinals

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Wow. Just...WOW.

Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

With their backs against the wall, Bayern Munich pushed hard in the first half to dismantle FC Porto 6-1 in the 2nd leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Thursday. They advance to their fourth consecutive semifinal, advancing on a 7-4 aggregate victory.

Thiago Alcântara sparked the Bavarian comeback, knocking in a cross from Juan Bernat before helping set up the second from Jérôme Boateng on a short corner. Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller added three more combined to overturn a 1-3 first leg deficit.

An zestful atmosphere in Allianz Arena gave Bayern the energy they needed right from the starting whistle. Porto tried to compress the final third, swarming Bayern when they had the ball. With both Alex Sandro and Danilo out due to yellow card accumulation, Bayern loaded up the flanks as best they could. Eventually Juan bernat was able to break free long enough to find a near post run from Thiago to put Bayern a goal ahead.

That started a run of five goals in half an hour for the German giants, who were relentless in winning the second balls and maintaining possession. Once Boateng knocked in a Holger Badstuber volley, Müller helped set up and score three goals, including a tear drop from 30 meters out that put Fabiano on his bum. Bayern became the first team to score five goals in the first half of a knockout stage match in Champions League history.

Porto mustered a reasonable response in the second half, Jackson Martínez cleverly staying on side to find a breakthrough in the 73rd minute. However, the Portuguese representatives could not raise their level to Bayern's intensity. Frustrations eventually boiled over as Ivan Marcano picked up a second yellow, and Xabi Alonso whacked in a clinical free kick to bookend the match.

It was a result that reverberated over the media waves, and left current and former Bayern players in the stands jumping for joy. With Barcelona finishing off Paris Saint-Germain 5-1 on aggregate, Bayern just await the results from Real Madrid/Atlético Madrid and Juventus/Monaco to learn their possible semifinal opponents.

Match Details

Bayern Munich (6-1) FC Porto | Allianz Arena – Bayern advance 7-4 on aggregate
FCB: Thiago Alcântara (14'), Jérôme Boateng (21'), Robert Lewandowski (27', 40'), Thomas Müller (36'), Xabi Alonso (88')
FCP: Jackson Martínez (73')

Bayern XI (4-3-3): Neuer – Rafinha (Rode 72'), Boateng, Badstuber, Bernat – Lahm, Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcântara (Dante 90') – Müller, Lewandowski, Götze (Weiser 86')

Porto XI (4-3-3): Fabiano – Diego Reyes (Ricardo Pereira 33'), Maicon, Ivan Marcano, Martins Indi – Herrera, Casemiro, Óliver Torres – Quaresma (Neves 46'), Martínez, Brahimi (Evandro)

Instant Analysis
  • The passion and the electricity that came from Bayern right from the first whistle was out of this world, arguably higher than the energy level the club displayed in their Champions League victory in Wembley stadium. They tapped in to the energy of the crowd, channeling it with every touch they took. Who was going to win this match was clear right from the start, and it was only matter of time when Porto's defense would crumble.
  • Going into the match, Guardiola was going to have to find a way to stretch the play without his two play stretchers – Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben – watching the match from the sideline. His solution was to have Rafinha, Philipp Lahm, Bernat, and Mario Götze clamp down like a vice and put service into the box. With Porto's fullbacks suspended, Bayern used that tactic to get ahead quickly, then return to their element once the match opened up. Lopetegui may have bested his old mate in the first leg, but Guardiola returned the favor tenfold.
  • As exciting as it was to see Bayern fire on all cylinders, the way Porto stalled was tragic. Once Thiago bopped in his goal early in the match, Porto's hands were already flailing in dismay, and their dejection continued throughout the remaining 75 minutes. To add insult to injury, Lopetegui took out arguably his best attacker, Ricardo Quaresma, at half time, a white flag if there ever was one. Porto certainly gave it a go in the second half, but their locker room is probably the last place anyone would want to be after such a shellacking.
  • As if his return was not enough for depth reason's alone, Thiago made everyone forget he has been fit for under a month. His direction in midfield helped Bayern exploit the flanks, and his gaol reestablished how versatile he is. Bayern payed as much for him as they did for Ribéry and Robben (Robben cost €1 million less than Thiago). Who knows? He might be just as impactful as those Bayern icons.
  • Ironic, how the goal that eventually decided the tie came on Bayern's second corner kick goal of the season. It even took Badstuber to flick it on and Boateng to place it just past the fist of Fabiano. The fortune could be a sign from the divine footballing powers Bayern were meant to win this tie.