Robert Lewandowski scored both his team’s goals Tuesday and hit the woodwork three times as Bayern Munich beat PSV Eindhoven 2-1 to secure a place in the knockout stage of the Champions League. The final score was flattering for PSV as Poland striker Lewandowski could, with a bit more luck, have had five goals instead of his brace.
Lewandowski had already struck a post and the crossbar with headers before he stroked home a 34th-minute penalty to level the score and reward the visitors for their dominance.
The equalizer came 20 minutes after defender Santiago Arias rounded off a lightning counterattack to score his first Champions League goal and give PSV a shock lead.
But Lewandowski made sure of Bayern’s victory with his fourth strike in as many Champions League matches this season when he turned in a cross by David Alaba in the 74th minute. Ten minutes later, Lewandowski turned neatly in the area but saw his shot hit the underside of the bar.
With Group D leader Atletico Madrid beating Rostov 2-1, both Bayern and Atletico are now assured of progressing while PSV and Rostov will fight it out for third place.
“We can be happy with the final result, but you have to look further,” said Dutch winger Arjen Robben, a former PSV star who got a hero’s welcome on his return to Eindhoven. “This evening our level was not enough. You can get into trouble playing like this in the knockout stage.”
Atletico has 10 points, one more than Bayern. Rostov is third with two points, one more than PSV.
“It’s a shame, but it was always going to be tough in a group like this,” said PSV captain Luuk de Jong. “Now we have to focus on the third place.”
PSV coach Phillip Cocu, criticized for starting two weeks ago in Munich with an attacking 4-3-3 formation that was swept aside in a 4-1 defeat, switched to a more defensive 5-3-2 lineup for the home tie, defending in numbers and hoping to hit Bayern on the break.
The tactic worked to perfection just once, as PSV cleared a Bayern free kick and rushed out of defense, finding Bart Ramselaar on the right wing. His cross was met with a diving header by Davy Proepper that was well saved by Manuel Neuer but the ball fell to Arias who headed home from close range as Bayern’s goalkeeper and defenders appealed in vain for offside.
Bayern finally made its overwhelming possession pay in the 34th when Lewandowski calmly slotted in from the penalty spot after Andres Guardado had handled the ball in the area.
Earlier, Lewandowski had hit the bar in the 4th and the post on the half hour as Bayern relentlessly battered the PSV defensive wall.
Those near misses were forgotten when he grabbed the winner to complete the scoring after Alaba had combined well with substitute Douglas Costa.