Last season’s Champions League finalists were hit for an embarrassing seven goals by a rampant Bayern Munich side on Tuesday night.
Serge Gnabry ran riot at Tottenham, scoring four second-half goals to complete an extraordinary 7-2 drubbing.
Son Heung-min had opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Joshua Kimmich restored parity three minutes later. Robert Lewandowski gave the away side the lead on the stroke of half-time only and quick-fire strikes from Gnabry after the restart gave Bayern a 4-1 lead.
A Harry Kane penalty pulled one back for Spurs but Lewandowski would find the net again and Gnabry added two more to round off the scoring.
The result puts Bayern in pole position in Group B.
Here, we rate the performances of Bayern’s players.
STARTING XI (4-2-3-1)
Neuer 6 – Made some fine saves to deny the likes of Son and Christian Eriksen. Cool as you like with the ball at his feet.
Pavard 5 – Got an assist but Son ran off the back of him a couple of times. Hooked at the break.
Boateng 5 – Lost his bearings a few times at the back. Good on the ball but had to go off injured with 20 minutes left.
Sule 6 – Struggled against Son in the first half but grew into the game and stamped his authority on it in the second.
Alaba 6 – Good going forward and created chances with his deliveries. Even made a vital block.
Kimmich 7 – Stunning goal to equalise in the first half. Switched from midfield to right-back effortlessly.
Tolisso 6 – Big error leading up to the opening goal but made up for it with two assists.
Gnabry 10 – Flawless on the night. Four fantastic goals and an assist as well. What a talent Arsenal let go.
Coutinho 6 – A subdued display that did have the rare highlight. Classy flick to set up Lewandowski for his second.
Coman 6 – Had a decent shout for a penalty but denied. A threat on the break but nowhere near as effective as Gnabry.
Lewandowski 9 – The definition of an elite striker. Had it all to do up front but pounced on his opportunities and dispatched them expertly.
Thiago (46′) 7 – Entered the game and immediately brought control to Bayern’s play. Superb ball for Gnabry’s hat-trick.
Perisic (71′) 5 – Didn’t make much of an impact after replacing Coman.
Martinez (72′) 5 – Held firm at the end before seeing out the game.
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Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac has ruled out the possibility of fielding both Philippe Coutinho and Thomas Muller as his side prepare to take on Cologne.
Coutinho returned to fitness in time for Bayern’s 3-0 Champions League victory over Red Star Belgrade before being replaced by Muller in the 83rd minute. Muller made an almost instant impact by scoring in the first minute of stoppage time, but Kovac does not intend to play the attacking midfielders in tandem.
“Muller and Coutinho together in the 10 role would be too attacking. We need a good balance,” he said at a pre-match press conference.
“Never say never, but right now I’d lower the probability.”
Unbeaten this season in the Bundesliga, Kovac reported that his squad were raring to return after their midweek exertions.
“Of course we’ve had that game but Saturday will come down to the mental aspect,” he said.
“We absolutely want to win, that’s hugely important for us, but my players are fit and ready.
“Our opponents in the Bundesliga always give their all and we’ll be challenged from the first minute, but we want to win and remain at the top end of the table.”
Kovac could have a handful of injury worries, however.
“Josh (Kimmich) went over his ankle but everything looks OK,” he said.
“Lucas (Hernandez) has a problem with his ankle too and Kingsley (Coman) has a sore neck, so we’ll have to see how they do.”
Cologne manager Achim Beierlorzer is not resigned to defeat as his side anticipate their stiffest challenge since winning promotion from the second tier.
The Billy Goats have endured a tricky initiation in the Bundesliga, winning only one game thus far and losing three. They now face the reigning champions as they hover just two points from the bottom of the table.
“If it’s about damage limitation, then I’m the wrong man to speak to,” Beierlorzer said at a pre-match press conference.
“That’s not my thing. Naturally, it will be a challenge. But we want to get something from the game.”
After a forgettable season at the Spanish club, the Brazilian was shipped on loan to Bayern, a club Klopp knows very well from his time as Borussia Dortmund manager.
The pair shared a memorable time at Liverpool where Coutinho established himself as a world-class player but it has been downhill for the midfielder ever since his move to Barcelona.
Coutinho revealed that Klopp wished him good luck ahead of a fresh chapter at a big club in a great competition.
“He sent me a message and wished me good luck,” Coutinho told Sport Bild . “He told me that Bayern is a big club and the Bundesliga is a great competition. He said he is very happy to see me there.”
The Brazilian continued to speak highly of his former manager and his impact on Liverpool.
“He is simply an amazing coach, one of the best in the world,” he said.
“He is a true leader. I learned so much from him, especially on a psychological level.
“He always finds the right words, both before the game and during the game, and he always manages to get you back on track with the next opponent.
“He changed Liverpool and made them really strong again. It was a big honour to work with him.”