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Match awards from Bayern’s 2-0 victory over Benfica

It was a triumphant return for Benfica’s Prodigal Son.

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Jersey Swap: Odisseas Vlachodimos

The Benfica goalkeeper did let up two goals, but withstood several chances that could have easily resulted in additional scores for Bayern Munich. With four saves, Vlachodimos kept Benfica in the game and used an aggressive approach to ruin several good opportunities for Arjen Robben. With some inconsistent play in front of him, Vlachodimos stood tall and kept Benfica in the game.

Tip of the Cap: James Rodriguez

The Colombian struggled at times in the first half, but played with an intensity and fire in the second half that helped propel Bayern to pull away. His perfectly placed assist to Sanches deflated Benfica and allowed Bayern to firmly take control of the contest.

Golf Clap: Robert Lewandowski

Lewandowski did a lot of positive things throughout the game, including securing the game’s initial goal with some excellent work in the box. His score set the tone for the match early and the Pole ultimately drew the full attention of Benfica each time he was near the ball. With so much focus on Lewandowski, the the Bayern wingers and central midfielders were able to make runs freely into the box, creating chaos and opportunities that eventually paid off.

Standing Ovation: Mats Hummels

In his first start back after missing time with an Achilles injury, Hummels was extremely solid with his positioning and was also calm and effective when defending. In addition, Hummels did a superb job of cutting off angles to the opposing attackers. All-in-all, it was about as consistent of an effort as you could hope for from the center back in his return to the lineup.

Meister of the Match: Renato Sanches

The 21-year old was having an up-and-down game in his return to Estádio da Luz Lisbon to say the least. Sanches, however, made a move to seize the day. When the Portuguese midfielder made a terrific, second half run into a pass from James Rodriguez, he deposited the ball into the net and gave Bayern an important 2-0 lead. On the day, Sanches made some terrific runs on with the ball and off of it, but struggled with decision-making at times in the first half. Frankly, it wasn’t always so pretty, as he likely pushed up the field more than Niko Kovac would have preferred; but to step-up in a big moment was huge for Sanches. When Bayern needed a goal to extend the lead, he supplied it. And while he might not have been Bayern’s most consistent or effective player on the day, sometimes it is about rising to the magnitude of the moment and that was exactly what Sanches did against Benfica.

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