Bayern Munich’s stunning four-goal fightback to beat Juventus had the ‘wow’ factor for Pep Guardiola as the Bavarians reached the Champions League quarter-finals for the fifth season in a row.
Substitutes Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman scored extra-time goals as Bayern roared back to beat Juve 4-2 in their last-16, second-leg tie and seal a 6-4 aggregate victory.
A stunned Bayern found themselves 2-0 down after 28 minutes at the Allianz Arena as Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado struck for the Italians before the Bavarian side floored the Italians with four unanswered goals.
But the hosts left it late as Robert Lewandowski netted on 73 minutes before Thomas Mueller’s dramatic equaliser in the 91st minute forced extra time.
Just as Juventus had fought back in Turin to draw the first leg 2-2, so Bayern came back in Munich.
Thiago put Bayern ahead for the first time on 108 minutes before fellow replacement Coman—on loan from Juventus—curled in a superb strike on 110 minutes to cap the fairytale finish.
“Four goals against an Italian team. Wow!” beamed Bayern manager Guardiola.
“I don’t know how often that has happened in history that a German team has scored four goals against an Italian side.
“It was a great game for the fans.
“We played against last season’s finalists and to come back from 2-0 down is very hard.”
The fightback keeps alive Guardiola’s dream of bringing the Champions League trophy to Munich at the third and final attempt before his high-profile move to Manchester City next season.
- City question –
But Guardiola baulked at a cheeky question as to whether he would now like to face his future employers in the quarter-finals or the final in Milan on May 28.
“I can’t decide that. We’ll have to see what comes from the draw,” he said tersely.
This is the seventh time Guardiola has reached the Champions League quarter-finals in as many attempts as a coach at the highest level.
In his four years with Barcelona, he won the title in 2009 and 2011, reaching the semi-finals in 2010 and 2012, while he steered Bayern to the last four in Europe in each of the last two seasons.
It was a heartbreaking end for last season’s finalists Juventus.
“Of course I am disappointed,” said their coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“But I have to pay my team a big compliment: we played one of the favourites for the title and we played better than in the first leg.
“That’s football, we made our first big mistake after 90 minutes.
“And they scored from one of their first few chances through Lewandowski.
“We could have reacted better, but we didn’t have the strength left to score another goal.
“We were 2-0 up and we could have been 3-0 up, but it’s not easy to get a result here.
“We could have decided the game earlier, it’s a pity, but at the end we have put in two games and I’m happy with the performance.
“Now we have to concentrate on winning the Serie A and then come back better in the Champions League.”
- Crazy game –
Much had been made in the build-up about how vulnerable Bayern are on the counter-attack and Guardiola’s side were again found wanting on the break as Juventus went ahead with just five minutes gone.
“That was a crazy game,” said goalscorer Mueller. “We knew, even when we were 2-0 down, that we were still in it.”
Bayern captain Philipp Lahm added: “What an unbelievable evening. You could see how tight things are when two top teams meet each other. We knew it would be all over if we had conceded a third goal.”
Juventus were just a minute away from their first victory in Munich since 2004 and their captain Gianluigi Buffon said the tie had been decided by fine margins.
“Football results depend on chances,” said the 38-year-old.
“They attacked a lot in the second half and took advantage of their chances.
“It’s always a pity to concede a goal in the last minute of a game, but I’m proud of my team.
“We are going out with our heads held high.”