Bayern Munich set a new Champions League knockout stage record on Tuesday, hammering FC Basel 7-0 to move through to the quarterfinals after winning 7-1 on aggregate.
The players, the coach, the fans all knew what was at stake in Bayern Munich's crunch Champions League knockout match at home against Swiss club FC Basel on Tuesday night.
The German giants had fallen prey 1-0 to their smaller opponents in their first-leg round of 16 clash in February, but would have been confident of success ahead of the return match in their own cauldron, Allianz Arena - the same stadium designated to host this year's Champions League final.
It took only 11 minutes for Arjen Robben to net the opener after he latched on to a rebounded Thomas Müller shot. Robben had followed through on the original attempt, took a few touches and placed his shot neatly past Basel goalie Yann Sommer.
The Dutchman was integral in Bayern's second goal on 42 minutes, doing well to chase down a ball before it rolled out, control and fire in a low curling cross from the right sideline for an unmarked Thomas Müller to side-foot in at the near post.
Bayern had been controlling the match until that point, but the goal still came as a slight surprise. Perhaps because of the efficiency and ease with which it was scored. Basel had failed to close down the ever-dangerous Robben down the flank and were unable to track the evasive Müller in the box.
The third goal came less than three minutes later and with as much ease when Mario Gomez scored a simple tap in after Holger Badstuber did well to cross back a deep free kick from Toni Kroos.
Two halves of dominance
On 50 minutes Bayern made it four with Mario Gomez rushing onto a cross to the near post from Franck Ribery to score an unstoppable brace. Ten minutes later, Gomez made it a hat trick, latching onto a short cross from the right to head the ball home and extinguish Basel's hopes of a respectable result.
Gomez produced a classy finish to bag his fourth goal in the 67th after a surging run into the box by Ribery. The Frenchman beat Basel fullback Markus Steinhöfer and pulled a cross back for Gomez, whose left foot strike from around the penalty spot scorched in over Sommer.
Robben scored his second goal and Bayern's seventh after substitute Bastain Schweinsteiger fed him a neat ball to the edge of the box where Robben overcame a challenge from defender Park Joo Ho, rounded Sommer and passed into an empty net.
Quarterfinal draw lies ahead
An impressive result from a team quite obviously eager to appear in its second UCL final in three years. What's more, if Bayern can progress to the final match of the tournament they will play for the Champions League trophy in front of a home crowd - an advantage afforded few teams in the competition's history.
"This was fun. Seven goals in the Champions League, this was unbelievable," said Robben. Gomez was also ecstatic over the result: "We put our foot on the gas and gave a lot of pressure. All in all, it was an outstanding game."
Bayern must now wait until the quarterfinal draw on Friday before they know the path ahead. Captain Philipp Lahm said he still viewed Barcelona as favorites to take out the tournament, adding that it would be nice if Bayern could avoid meeting the Catalans until the final.
In the night's other match, Olympique Marseille progressed to the quarters despite going down 2-1 away to Inter Milan. The French club had prevailed 1-0 in the first leg and move through to the next phase by virtue of the away goals rule. They join Barcelona, AC Milan, Benfica and APOEL Nikosia in the quarterfinals.
On Wednesday, Chelsea do battle with Napoli at home, while Real Madrid host CSKA Moscow.
Author: Darren Mara
Editor: Andrew Bowen