Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich thumped Hertha Berlin 5-0 on Saturday, with the Poland striker passing the milestone of 300 goals for the defending Bundesliga champions.
Bayern took an early lead through Thomas Mueller before Lewandowski struck either side of a Jamal Musiala goal.
Having scored a record 41 Bundesliga goals last season, Lewandowski has already netted five times in three league matches this term.
Lewandowski could have finished with four, having stepped over the ball to allow Mueller to score the early opener.
“Sometimes the first goal is the most important, it was right to leave the ball for Thomas – I knew he was there,” said Lewandowski, who has scored three goals or more in 15 Bundesliga games in his career.
“We had the game under control and everything planned came off.
“I’m always hungry, I feel really good and I am always looking to reach the next level, always ready to improve.”
Mueller said Lewandowski is playing at “another level”.
Lewandowski doubled the lead after Mueller’s opener by heading into the net at the second attempt having first hit the cross bar as Bayern outclassed Hertha.
He has scored in 16 consecutive games for Bayern in all competitions, one more than club late legend Gerd Mueller, who scored in 15 consecutive games in 1969/70.
Hertha’s fortunes did not improve when their goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow landed on Berlin captain Dedryck Boyata after clearing a corner and the pair banged heads.
Bayern’s third came just after the break when Mueller won possession and Musiala, 18, beat two defenders to fire inside the far post.
Musiala made way for Leroy Sane who answered recent whistles from Bayern fans by serving up Lewandowski’s second.
Sane exchanged passes with Mueller, then sliced through the defence on the left and gave Lewandowski a simple tap in for his 300th goal in all competitions for Bayern.
He completed his hat-trick when Joshua Kimmich’s corner was flicked on to the back post by Tanguy Nianzou for Lewandowski to head home.
– Jeong’s rapid-fire double –
The rout lifted Bayern into second in the table, level on seven points but behind early leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who swept Augsburg aside 4-1 thanks to two early own goals, on goal difference.
Augsburg made a disastrous start when Brazilian defender Iago, then striker Florian Niederlechner both turned the ball into their own net to generously put Leverkusen 2-0 up after 14 minutes.
Niederlechner made amends when he stabbed home after Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky had rushed off his line.
It was one-way traffic in the second half as Leverkusen dominated with goals by Patrik Schick and Florian Wirtz.
Freiburg are third after a 3-2 victory at Stuttgart, where all the goals came in a frantic first half.
South Korea forward Jeong Woo-yeong, 21, made a dream start with two goals for Freiburg in the opening nine minutes before striker Lucas Hoeler made it 3-0 before half an hour was played.
Stuttgart hit back with rapid-fire goals from striker Hamadi Al-Ghaddioui and defender Konstantinos Mavropanos just before half-time.
Austrian midfielder Patrick Wimmer made a dream Bundesliga debut with Arminia Bielefeld’s equaliser four minutes from time in a 1-1 draw at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Wolfsburg can regain top spot if they pick up their third straight league win at home to fellow Champions League side RB Leipzig on Sunday.
Nigeria Edge Cape Verde in Qatar World Cup Qualifier
The Super Eagles continued their 100 per cent record against Cape Verde in their second match of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday.
The Nigerian team won the game 2-1 after staging a comeback.
A 75th-minute own goal by Cape Verde earned Nigeria a 2-1 win in their qualifying clash in Mindelo on Tuesday, a result that stabilized the Super Eagles’ leadership of the pool as they await a home-and-away fixture against Central African Republic next month.
Dylan dos Santos steered the home team in front after 19 minutes of an intense back-and-forth by both sides, when he slipped behind the Eagles’ rearguard and slammed a rocket of a shot past goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.
The three-time African champions refused to be brow-beaten, and launched series of attacks, with Chidera Ejuke forcing the opposing goalkeeper to an acrobatic save in the 27th minute. Two minutes later, an alert Victor Osimhen would pull Nigeria level, stabbing home from close range after the goalkeeper punched following a defensive blunder.
In the 41st minute, the lively Ejuke again rattled the Cape Verde number one, before Osimhen came close to adding another one from a corner with a minute to recess.
Kelechi Iheanacho and six other UK-based players were absent when the Super Eagles played the Blue Sharks in Mindelo.
The players were forced out from the tie after the UK government insisted individuals who travel to “red zones” — which Cape Verde falls into — must quarantine for 10 days upon return.
Aside from the seven UK-based players, Serie A defender, Ola Aina, also did not travel with the squad to Mindelo, and returned to Italy instead.
In the second half, Ahmed Musa latched onto a centre by Osimhen as the Eagles pushed forward, but his tame shot was easily collected. Substitute Onyekuru was also guilty of putting too low a purchase on his shot in the 73rd minute as Nigeria streamed to the opposition area.
Two minutes later, in a spectacular backpass to his goalkeeper, Kenny Santos scored an own goal as the ball floated above the goaltender and landed in the net. The goal put Nigeria in front and eventually gave the Super Eagles the three points on the night.
Victory took the Eagles to maximum six points from two matches, three points ahead of second –placed Liberia, ahead of the Day 3 and 4 games scheduled for October.
WC Qualifier: Nigeria to face Cape Verde without UK-based Stars
The Super Eagles will tackle the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde this afternoon in Match Day 2 of Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier without the services of UK-based players.
The Super Eagles contingent landed on the island of Mindelo yesterday morning, after a four-hour flight from Lagos aboard a special Air Peace jet.
There were 21 players on board, following the departure of UK-based players, who returned to their base as a result of UK authorities COVID-19 protocols and guidelines that must be observed by anyone returning to Britain after visiting a country with COVID-19 red label, of which Cape Verde is one.
Today’s encounter, scheduled for the 5,000 –capacity Estádio Municipal Adérito Sena, affords a number of ambitious fresh legs not deployed in Friday’s 2-0 win over Liberia in Lagos to stake claims for permanent shirts in the Nigerian squad.
The absence of Olaoluwa Aina, William Ekong, and Leon Balogun probably means that Italy –based Tyronne Ebuehi, Chidozie Awaziem of FC Boavista in Portugal, and Spain–based Kenneth Omeruo will start against the Blue Sharks this evening.
The departures of two-goal hero Kelechi Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi also open the door for perhaps Terem Moffi and Henry Onyekuru. But it is in the midfield that Coach Gernot Rohr would have to enlist entirely unaccustomed partners and charge them to deliver.
Oghenekaro Etebo, Wilfred Ndidi, and Joseph Ayodele-Aribo have all returned to the UK.
Coach Rohr may opt to deploy the versatile Abdullahi Shehu to the midfield as he has done a couple of times, most recently in Sierra Leone against the Leone Stars in a 2021 AFCON qualifier. Russia–based Chidera Ejuke, Italy–based former junior international Kingsley Michael, and new face Innocent Bonke from Sweden are available.
Captain Ahmed Musa will earn his 100th cap for Nigeria, 11 years after he won his first against Madagascar in Calabar if he takes any part in today’s encounter.
Three points will consolidate Nigeria’s leadership of Group C, confirmed after the victory over Liberia that followed the draw between Cape Verde and the Central African Republic in Douala. A win will guarantee Nigeria a minimum of three points ahead of any other team in the pool, even if Liberia’s Lone Star is victorious against Central African Republic in Monrovia.
A win will also brighten the path of the three–time African champions to the knockout final round, given that home-and-away fixture against the Central African Republic is what is on the plate in October.
Conte breaks silence, says pre-deal with Arsenal not true
Antonio Conte’s agent, Federico Pastorello has revealed that the coach has not agreed to a pre-deal with Arsenal FC.
There have been speculations that Conte is in line to replace Mikel Arteta at the Emirates after the later failed to win a single game this season in the Premier League.
The Gunners have also not recorded any goal in their defeats to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City.
Although Conte is out of work since leaving Inter Milan, he is not close to returning to the dugout.
Transfer specialist, Fabrizio Romano, tweeted: “There’s absolutely NO pre agreement between Antonio Conte and Arsenal. Conte has no verbal/pre-agreement with any club and he’s free.
“Federico Pastorello – agent close to Conte since years – confirms to @Freddie_Paxton: “Rumours about Arsenal pre-deal are not true”.
There’s absolutely NO pre agreement between Antonio Conte and Arsenal. Conte has no verbal/pre agreement with any club and he’s free.
Federico Pastorello – agent close to Conte since years – confirms to @Freddie_Paxton: “Rumours about Arsenal pre-deal are not true”.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 5, 2021
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