Robert Lewandowski scored a record-breaking 11-minute hat-trick to send Bayern Munich to the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 7-1 win at home to Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday.
The Polish striker had three goals to his name in the 23rd minute – the earliest anyone has ever scored a hat-trick in a Champions League match – as Bayern shook off their early nerves to crush Salzburg.
“This was definitely a statement from us, and it gives us hope that more of this kind is to come,” Bayern captain Manuel Neuer told Amazon Prime after his side reached the last eight for a record 20th time.
Austrian champions Salzburg had held Bayern to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but their hopes of defeat in Munich were dashed when Lewandowski scored a tap-in and two penalties to send Bayern on their way to a famous victory.
With just ten minutes and 27 seconds between Lewandowski’s first and third goal, it was the fastest of the six hat-tricks the Pole has now scored in the Champions League.
“We knew we had to attack the penalty area early today and get Lewy into the game because he is so hard to defend,” said Thomas Mueller.
“We all knew how important this game was today. If we had been knocked out, the next three months would have been very sad for us,” he added.
– Lewandowski from the spot –
Bayern started with an attacking 3-5-2, but they looked back nervously and there were chances on both sides in the opening minutes.
Lewandowski forced a sharp save from Philipp Koehn on the first attack of the match, while Nicolas Capaldo, on the other hand, was denied by a brilliant block from Kingsley Coman.
Lewandowski thankfully saved a penalty to give Bayern the lead 12 minutes into the game after being knocked down by Maximilian Woeber in the penalty area.
Initially, the lead didn’t seem to calm Bayern’s nerves and Salzburg almost equalized when Nicolas Seiwald fired a bright shot over the crossbar at the far end.
But Lewandowski was in a predatory mood and soon added two more to complete his hat-trick and put the equalizing goal out of the Austrian side.
After hitting a second penalty into the bottom corner to double the lead, he added a third on the counter-attack, chasing a loose ball across the line after a one-on-one with Koehn.
Bayern were now spinning and Serge Gnabry hammered home a crushingly inevitable fourth after an elegant pass on the half hour.
Mueller curled a brilliant shot into the bottom corner to make it 5-0 shortly after half-time, before Bayern switched on cruise control.
The guests seized a consolation goal with a clinical counterattack 20 minutes from time, 18-year-old Dane Maurits Kjaergaard hit a Geoff-Hurst-esque finish in the top corner past Manuel Neuer.
But the hosts had the final say when Mueller brought in his second and Lewandowski put Sane ahead of Bayern seventh just minutes before time.