Lyon 0 Bayern 3: Gnabry and Lewandowski send dominant Munich to Champions League final against PSG
IT was five years ago this month that Serge Gnabry signed for West Brom on a season-long loan from Arsenal.
But Tony Pulis gave the young German just 12 minutes of Premier League action before cutting the deal short and sending him back to the Emirates.
Last night Pulis was left squirming with embarrassment as Gnabry fired Bayern Munich into the Champions League final with a magnificent two-goal performance.
And it’s not only Pulis who should be feeling shame-faced considering Arsenal sold him the following summer for just £5million.
How the Gunners could do with a player of Gnabry’s class right now as they contemplate a fourth successive season out of Europe’s top competition.
Instead the 25-year-old winger will be lighting up Sunday’s showpiece final against Paris St.Germain.
And what a mouth-watering match that promises to be after a seemingly unstoppable Bayern extended their incredible winning run to 20 games.
It might not have been as easy as it was in last Friday’s 8-2 quarter-final humiliation of Barcelona.
But it was still comfortable enough for boss Hansi Flick as his all-conquering team survived a couple of early scares before turning Lyon tamers.
The only previous time Lyon reached this stage of the competition was back in 2010 when they were beaten 4-0 on aggregate…by Bayern.
They kicked off in the Stadio Jose Alavalde as such rank outsiders that some bookies were offering odds of 12-1 against them making it an all-French affair in Sunday’s final.
After all, Rudi Garcia’s men had already lost three times in this season’s competition and didn’t even top their first round group.
But no team which can see off both Juventus and Manchester City could ever be taken lightly and Bayern certainly weren’t going to fall into the trap of counting their chickens.
So it was no surprise that the Germans stuck with the same team which had left Barcelona so utterly humiliated last week.
What came as something more of a shock was that Lyons also named an unchanged team, which meant that two-goal quarter-final hero Moussa Dembele was back on the bench.
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And Garcia’s faith in his team almost paid off in the fourth minute when Memphis Depay raced beyond keeper Manuel Neuer but just couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball with the goal beckoning.
There was an even bigger left off for Bayern in the 17th minute when Toko Ekambi went past Alphonso Davies but smacked a glorious opportunity against the base of the post.
Trouble is that when you show mercy to a team as ruthless as Bayern, you immediately regret it.
And within a minute of that Ekambi miss Lyon were handed a chastening lesson in finishing by Gnabry.
Joshua Kimmich’s ball over the top allowed Gnabry to hold off three defenders as he cut inside to deliver a left-foot Exocet into the top corner from the edge of the area.
It was as good as any of the 155 goals which Bayern had scored in all competitions prior to this match.
His second in the 33th minute was not quite such a thing of beauty, but no-one in Bayern red was complaining about that.
Once again Gnabry cut inside from the right wing but this time chose to feed the lurking Ivan Perisic out wide.
The Croat’s low cross should have been finished off by 54-goal Robert Lewandowski but when his scuffed shot was blocked on the line by keeper Anthony Lopes, Gnabry was on hand to hammer home from close range.
And that was just about for Lyon. Marcelo and Ekambi missed a couple of decent second-half chances to make things interesting but you always felt that Bayern could score again whenever they wanted to.
And so it proved when Lewandoski made it 101 goals in two seasons for club and country when he headed in from Kimmich’s 88th minute free-kick.
So now it’s PSG’s turn to stand in the way of the big red juggernaut. Bonne chance, mes amis.
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