Bayern Munich get crucial win against Benfica to save Niko Kovac

Niko Kovac’s job as Bayern Munich coach is safe for now, thanks to his side’s emphatic 5-1 win over Benfica at the Allianz Arena.

For the first time since their 5-0 SuperCup win over Eintracht Frankfurt at the beginning of the season, Bayern Munich won a game in a completely convincing fashion. Niko Kovac led the Bavarians to an emphatic 5-1 victory over Benfica at the Allianz Arena, saving his job (for now) in the process.

Bayern were on the front foot from the beginning of the match, and it didn’t take long for them to make good of their dominance. Arjen Robben gave his side the lead after just 13 minutes with an expertly executed move. The Dutchman beat several Benfica players, cutting inside and (unsurprisingly) firing home with a powerful left-footed shot.

The Dutchman didn’t stop there, though. Just under 20 minutes later, he doubled his side’s advantage by capping off a quick counter-attack — once again firing home with his left foot. Robben’s vintage performance, particularly in the first-half, and overall positive body language was not one of a player hoping to see his coach sacked. It was quite the opposite.

Robert Lewandowski made it three for the Bavarians less than ten minutes prior to half-time, heading home from a Joshua Kimmich cross followig a corner. The goal was his 50th in the Champions League, making him the third-fastest player to reach this landmark. For the first time in a long time, Bayern went into the locker room after 45 minutes with a convincing lead over their opposition.

Benfica threatened to spoil the party at the Allianz Arena just after the return. Substitute Gedson Fernandes got the better of Jerome Boateng and cooly fired his shot past the onrushing Manuel Neuer. Yet again no clean sheet for the Bayern captain.

Contrary to how they have so often this season responded to conceding a goal, Die Roten didn’t let this stop them from executing their game plan. Bayern continued to push forward, and they were soon rewarded with their fourth goal of the game, just five minutes after conceding. Lewandowski once again put away a Joshua Kimmich corner, scoring his 51st Champions League goal — only five players have scored more in the competition.

Franck Ribery — yes, you read that right — put the icing on the cake in the 76th minute, making it five goals for the hosts. The Frenchman was yet another player who put in an exceptional display on Tuesday.

He, along with the rest of the Bayern squad, played like they had a point to prove. If the reports of unrest in the locker room are true, they did a good job of hiding it today.

As Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed after the match, Niko Kovac will definitely be the Bayern coach this weekend. He may not be completely in the clear, but he definitely answered many of his critics with today’s game. Hopefully the return of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Thiago to the first team will be the boost he needs to continue building momentum.