Football Features

Lewandowski’s addiction, Spurs’ 12th man & other UCL stories you may have missed

By J Smith

Published: 15:40, 27 November 2019

The Champions League group stage is nearing its end and the last-16 line-up is starting to take shape. 

Tuesday saw 16 teams play their fifth games of the campaign, with just one more group match to go for them, and there were a number of massive results.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain went at it in a real clash of the titans, running out in a 2-2 draw, while a Paulo Dybala wonder goal sealed a 1-0 win for Juventus over Atletico Madrid.

But what about the stats and stories you might have missed? Here is the best of Tuesday night’s action.

1. Addicted to goals

Is there an end to Robert Lewandowski’s 2019 brilliance? The Poland international popped up once again Tuesday night with not one, not two, not three, but four goals in 15 second-half minutes as Bayern Munich crushed Red Star Belgrade 6-0 in Serbia.

That’s 27 goals in 20 games for Bayern this season and 45 in 43 throughout the calendar year which begs the question of why the Poland international isn’t further up the conversation for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award?

Lewandowski tweeted after the match: “I have to confess…I am addicted to scoring goals.” This isn’t an addiction we recommend he curbs.

2. Stuttering City

They’re still scoring goals by the truckload, are playing eye-catching football and are still one of the most fearsome teams to face in England and Europe, but something just isn’t quite clicking at Manchester City at the moment.

Ahead of Tuesday’s showdown with Shakhtar Donetsk, Pep Guardiola had won nine of his 12 meetings with the Ukrainian side – more victories than any other opponent in European competition.

But that didn’t help the Citizens as they threw away a lead to draw 1-1, making it just one win in their last four games across all competitions. Admittedly, injuries haven’t helped City, and they’ve still sealed top spot in the group. But this lack of consistency is costing them in the Premier League and can only hinder them during the Champions League knockout rounds.

3. Atalanta make history

Prior to the start of this season’s group stages, Atalanta were one of the sides generating real excitement but thus far, it’s been a struggle for the Italian club.

But after four games, one draw and three defeats, La Dea finally sealed their first-ever Champions League win at the fifth time of asking, sinking Dinamo Zagreb 2-0 at the San Siro. Alejandro Gomez’s strike to seal the victory was particularly impressive.

Atalanta now sit just two points behind second-placed Shakhtar and face the Ukrainian side in their final group game. Everything to play for.

4. 12th man pulls through for Spurs

You can read more about Tottenham’s 4-2 comeback win over Olympiacos here but it’d be wrong to get through this and not mention the Lilywhite’s “12th man” on Tuesday.

With Spurs trailing 2-1, the ball went out of play for a throw-in. Luckily for Jose Mourinho’s side, an alert ball boy was on hand to set up Serge Aurier for a quick throw-in. The Ivorian picked out Lucas Moura, who then worked the ball to Harry Kane and, well, you know what happened next.

“I love intelligent ball boys like I was. I was a brilliant ball boy as a kid,” Mourinho said after the match.

“And this kid today was brilliant. He reads the game, understands the game and made an important assist.

“He’s not there just to look to the stands, lights or scarves. He’s living the game and playing it very well.”

5. Bender opens his account in style

At 30 years old, and with 53 European appearances under his belt, Sven Bender has finally opened his continental goalscoring account, and how.

With Bayer Leverkusen already leading 1-0, Bender found himself perfectly placed for a Charles Aranguiz ball over the top of the Lokomotiv Moscow defence and what followed next was nothing short of sensational.

Bender fired a left-footed volley beyond goalkeeper Marinato Guilherme with what the German’s call a “bogenlampe” – a bow lamp.

Leverkusen sit a point behind second-placed Atletico Madrid and host already-qualified Juventus in their final group game.

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