Match Report : Mario Gomez's Hat-Trick Made Bayern Munich Beats Napoli
Mario Gomez helped himself to a hat-trick as Bayern Munich took a huge step towards the knockout stages of the Champions League with an eventful 3-2 victory over Group A rivals Napoli at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday night.
Bayern Munich's striker Gomez struck three times in the opening half as the Bundesliga leaders threatened to run riot but Federico Fernandez dragged the visitors back into the game with a header just before the interval and then repeated the trick late on, after both sides had been reduced to 10 men following the dismissals of Juan Zuniga and Holger Badstuber.
However, despite Napoli's introduction of Goran Pandev, the on-loan Inter striker who dumped Bayern out of last season’s Champions League, Jupp Heynckes’ men held on to claim a crucial win.
Napoli had actually started encouragingly, looking relatively solid at the back and reasonably threatening in attack, with Ezequiel Lavezzi looking lively early on.
However, Bayern slowly asserted their superiority and took control of the contest with two goals in the space of six minutes from their in-form centre forward. The first arrived 17 minutes in, Gomez controlling a neat pass from Bastian Schweinsteiger before spinning Hugo Campagnaro on the edge of the box and then firing low past Morgan De Sanctis.
Napoli were still reeling when Gomez struck again, the Germany international this time volleying home side-footed after being picked out by the most delicious chip in behind the Napoli defence from Toni Kroos.
Bayern were rampant thereafter and Gomez really should have completed his hat-trick on 35 minutes when slipped in by Muller but the striker’s flicked finish drifted just wide of the right post.
However, Gomez made amends just two minutes before the break by being on hand to tap in from close range after Kroos’ effort had been saved following a wonderful exchange between Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller.
Napoli were, by this point, being completely overrun by Bayern’s wonderfully inventive forwards but they grabbed themselves a lifeline right on the stroke of half-time when Fernandez headed in Lavezzi’s free-kick from the left-hand side.
Napoli, buoyed by their goal, began the second half brightly but even though Bayern lost the inspirational Schweinsteiger to a suspected dislocated shoulder shortly after the restart, what hope the visitors had of turning the game around appeared to vanish when Zuniga was dismissed after picking up two yellow cards in the space of two minutes.
However, Bayern were reduced to 10 men themselves late on when Badstuber, booked in the first half for a lunge on Christian Maggio, saw red for a slight pull on the jersey of Edinson Cavani.
Then, with just over 10 minutes remaining, Fernandez found the net with a majestic far-post header from a Gokhan Inler’s free-kick.
There was to be no late drama, though, with Bayern seeing out the game quite comfortably to move to 10 points in Group A, three clear of Manchester City, who climbed above Napoli into second place on the back of their win in Villarreal.