The scoreline suggests 90 rather uneventful minutes, progressing entirely as expected to a very foreseeable conclusion. The reality was nothing of the sort.
And not only because the two-goal hero of the night was Serge Gnabry, who famously couldn’t get a game at West Bromwich Albion, let alone Arsenal. The real shock was that Lyon had the best of the chances. Really, they did. Bayern Munich were the better team overall and got the job done, by a sizable margin, They may well do so again on Sunday, when they will start the final as deserved favourites to beat Paris Saint-Germain.
Yet this was no walkover, no stroll in the Barcelona park. If Lyon could finish, they could have won. Munich had more possession, kept the ball well, were the better passers, the superior collective. Yet Lyon had spells at the start of both halves when they carved Munich’s defence open, but failed to demonstrate the confidence that had undone Manchester City.
So they lost. Yet Paris Saint-Germain, with better finishers across the team, particularly in the front three, will have seen plenty to work with here. Munich’s flat back line is vulnerable and their greatest weapon last night – Gnabry’s left foot aside – was quite possibly the belief that they would not fail.
In direct contrast to Lyon, Munich played with the sense of ownership that leads a handful of elite clubs to dominate this tournament as if by right. Everyone thought they would win, and Munich played as if they were convinced of it, too.
Their response to a significant period of first-half domination by Lyon was to score two goals in 14 minutes, which as good as took the game away from them.
Gnabry got both of those: the first a cracker, the second a tap-in that came from being in the right place, at the right time. He has certainly been that in Europe this season: the pair here brought his 2019-20 total to nine goals in as many Champions League games.
The pity was, Lyon did not play badly. Not to begin with, anyway. If anything, until the moment when Gnabry opened the scoring, they were outstanding.
Better than Bayern, certainly better than Barcelona last week. A step up, even, on the performance against Manchester City. In the earliest exchanges, Lyon were as good as any team we have seen in this UEFA mini-tournament.
Except in one, vital, area. They could not score. Had Lyon been better in front of goal, who knows what alarms they would have set off in Bayern’s defence? It is not their strong point, we know that.
Even putting eight past Barcelona, Munich looked unsteady. So had they gone one, maybe two, even three down in the opening 16 minutes – and it could have happened – they might have been plunged into the sort of mental crisis Barcelona faced last Friday.
Instead, Lyon let their advantage slip and were caught on the counter-attack. Done again after 32 minutes, that was it. The moment had passed and the game drifted for spells as if Lyon knew it. But what a moment it could have been.
The game was four minutes old when Thiago Alcantara gave the ball away sloppily in midfield and it was struck swiftly into the path of Memphis Depay, whose run split Munich’s central defenders leaving only Manuel Neuer to beat. Depay took it wide, as Munich’s goalkeeper tried to jockey like a defender, terrified of committing and giving up the penalty.
Had Depay taken maybe one more stride to the right, his angle would have improved immeasurably; instead he gambled on the tightest of margins and hit the side-netting. It was a huge opportunity, and Depay’s face suggested he knew it. Brilliant by Neuer, though.
Under pressure, Neuer dealt with a cross from Leo Dubois less convincingly soon after, before Depay went wide again.
It was all Lyon and scourge of Manchester City, Maxwell Cornet, should have done better from the next attack, breaking down the right with Karl Toko Ekambi in space at the far post. His cross did not make it past the first Bayern man, Jerome Boateng at full stretch to cut it out.
Munich were reeling now, and when Ekambi collected the ball close to goal after 16 minutes, the disarray at the back showed. He glided past Alphonso Davies, left David Alaba on his backside and then tried to beat Neuer at his near post, his low shot rebounding off the woodwork. It was a sliding doors event. Within two minutes Munich were a goal up and never really looked back.
What a wonderful goal it was, too. As fragile as Munich can be at the back, they are imperious going forward. Joshua Kimmich played a ball into the right channel where Gnabry was waiting.
He cut inside with Lyon too slow to close him down, before unleashing a shot that flew past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes into the top corner. It was the signal for Munich to get on the front foot at last, with Gnabry at the heart of it all.
He nearly grabbed a copycat second after 25 minutes, cutting inside from the right again, before, with one tiny error, Lyon handed over the tie. It was a fine run down the left by Ivan Perisic – on loan from Inter Milan, so he could have had his pick of European finals this weekend – but Jason Denayer entirely missed his chance to clear, stepping over his cross as if performing a dummy.
Maybe that is what surprised the normally infallible Robert Lewandowski, who had the simplest tap in, but somehow contrived to both a) miss his kick and b) fall over.
Gnabry to the rescue, then, collecting the loose ball and smashing it into goal from inside the six yard box. At first it looked as if Lewandowski was going to dispute the legitimacy of this finish and claim he had already got it over the line. Typical striker.
If so, he quickly came to his senses and laughingly congratulated his team-mate for saving his embarrassment. Lewandowski has come to the rescue of others enough times to be owed one.
And Gnabry was doing his best for him, too. In the 38th minute, a quite magnificent cross from the right was an inch away from gifting Lewandowski Munich’s third at the far post.
Had that gone in, there would have been no way back for Lyon; instead they started the second-half with a puncher’s chance, and proved as much with a couple of early opportunities.
Marcelo had a header from a Depay corner picked out by Neuer, but Ekambi’s miss after 59 minutes from a cross by Houssem Aouar, rekindled memories of the first-half. He hit it straight at Neuer. Back home, Manchester City will have been cursing that such wastefulness did not inflict Lyon earlier.
Could Lewandowski score? He always scores, and he did again after 87 minutes, taking his run in this competition to nine straight scoring matches, equalling Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s stretch in 2003 but behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s 11 in 2018.
He needs two in the final to equal another Ronaldo scoring record: 17 Champions League goals in the 2013-14 campaign. Last night’s was a straightforward finish by his standards – a strong header from a Kimmich corner when Lyon’s fate was presumed.
It is ten straight Champions League wins for Munich now, another tournament record. There is considerably more at stake on Sunday night, mind, when a French team with a considerably steadier eye for goal may give Munich their sternest test of the season.
You can catch all of that drama from the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon on Sunday but for now that’s all from me. Thanks for following and cheerio.
Germany vs France, old money vs new money.
Both of these teams have dominated their domestic top flights in the last decade, but only one can match league title success this season with a Champions League trophy to go with it.
I’m really looking forward to seeing two of Europe’s best attacking teams try and outscore each other!
Bayern Munich are through to the Champions League final
90+1min: There are three added minutes, with Bayern Munich once again ploughing through the competition. Lyon have been no match for the German giants this evening and that is no shame on them. What a team this is.
88min: It did not look like being Robert Lewandowski‘s night but he heads home from a Kimmich free-kick at the back post to score his 15th Champions League goal of the season and his 55th in all competitions. Insane numbers!
Of course, Lewandowski gets involved in the action to make it three! ⚽️
1️⃣5️⃣ Champions League goals this season! 🎯
He’s just two goals shy of Ronaldo’s single-season record 👀#Club2020 pic.twitter.com/nxhJTo96pO
85min: Houssem Aouar has a low shot comfortably saved by Manuel Neuer, while at the other end Thiago Mendes is booked for bringing down Josh Kimmich on the edge of the box with a sliding challenge.
82min: Double change for Bayern then as Thiago Alcantara and Leon Goretzka make way for Corentin Tolisso and Benjamin Pavard.
79min: Great control from Coutinho inside the box before steering home from close range, but he was offside following a Leon Goretzka flick on.
78min: It’s been a much more measured second half from Bayern Munich, who haven’t really attacked as much as I thought they would following their bright start to the period.
Coutinho adds some sort of spark though as he cuts in from the left before his shot takes a deflection wide across goal.
75min: Well Hans-Dieter Flick thinks this game is done. Off comes Gnabry to rest his legs for the final as he is replaced by Philippe Coutinho.
73min: Youngster Rayan Cherki replaces Marcal in Lyon’s final substitution.
72min: It’s all fine margins. A wonderful cross from out wide just evades Reine-Adelaide at the far post, who otherwise would have had a good chance to nod home and pull a goal back.
69min: Lyon have improved slightly in this second half and are certainly showing much more fight than RB Leipzig did last night. Being 2-0 down against Bayern with only 20 minutes to play isn’t the best situation to be in, but they are not out of this yet.
67min: Here comes a double change from Lyon as they look to force a way back into this game. Jeff Reine-Adelaide replaces Karl Ekambi while Kenny Tete comes on for Leo Dubois.
63min: Having come on at half-time, Niklas Sule already looks like he is struggling with a knock. He is staying on for now though as Kingsley Coman replaces Ivan Perisic in Bayern Munich’s second switch.
60min: Best chance of the half for Lyon. Houssem Aouar cuts the ball across the box for Karl Ekambi but he is soon met by Manuel Neuer who charges down his shot from point blank range (below).
It’s better from Lyon but they really need to be taking these opportunities.
58min: Second change for Lyon as the hero against Manchester City Moussa Dembele comes on for Memphis Depay.
57min: It’s Lyon’s first shot on target. A corner is swung into the centre where it finds Marcelo, but his header lacks power and accuracy as it is far too close to Manuel Neuer who gathers.
54min: Silly challenge from Thomas Muller on the slide to give Lyon a free-kick inside the Bayern half.
It comes to nothing though as Maxwel Cornet’s delivery is easily headed clear from the edge of the box.
51min: Half-chance but no more than that for Bayern Munich as Ivan Perisic’s near post effort is well saved by Anthony Lopes. No sign of any attacking response from Lyon.
48min: Bayern’s approach for the second half? Well they only know one way to play don’t they? Attack is the best form of defence as they go in search of a third goal.
Lyon send on Thiago Mendes for Bruno Guimaraes in defensive midfield, while Bayern Munich replace Jerome Boateng with Niklas Sule at centre-back. Both changes look like they are injury influenced.
2 – Serge Gnabry is only the second German player to net a brace in a Champions League semi-final, following current teammate Thomas Müller back in 2012-13 (two goals v Barcelona). Toughie. #UCL pic.twitter.com/Cw7K0usHxL
How can Robert Lewandowski have a heat map with this many touches inside and around the six-yard box and not have a goal to his name? He has 14 Champions League goals this season remember.
But then Serge Gnabry knocked the stuffing out of Lyon with a wonderful strike, and since then there has only been one team in it.
Gnabry of course has doubled the lead since then and while this tie is far from over, you would be a very brave person to bet against a Bayern vs PSG final at this point.
43min: Marcelo has already seen yellow for bringing down Robert Lewandowski, now his centre-back partner Marcal is cautioned for a similar offence.
40 – FC Bayern München are only the fourth team in Champions League history to reach 40 goals in a single campaign, along with Barcelona in 99-00 (45), Real Madrid in 13-14 (41) and Liverpool in 17-18 (41). Ferocious. #UCL pic.twitter.com/j0wnatcCsZ
39min: Gnabry has been the thorn in Lyon’s side in this first half. Now his cross into the box just evades the lunging Lewandowski as the ball bounces just wide across goal.
36min: Marcelo is booked after pulling on Lewandowski’s shirt on the half-way line. Lyon finally have a spell of possession again, but there is very little confidence being shown now.
33min: This could become a long night for Lyon. Ivan Perisic’s low cross finds Robert Lewandowski at the back post and although the Polish striker somehow scuffs his effort, with Anthony Lopes keeping it out, Serge Gnabry is once again on hand to bury the rebound.
30min: You just wonder if Lyon’s heads have dropped. After such a good start, they are stating to masquerade as RB Leipzig from last night. They have gone very flat.
10 – Serge Gnabry is one of only four players to have been directly involved in 10+ goals in the Champions League this season, along with Robert Lewandowski (19), Erling Haaland (11) and Kylian Mbappé (10). Elite. #UCL pic.twitter.com/NsgQwz8Bhl
24min: Lyon started this game so well but since conceding have really struggled to find an attacking avenue. Bayern are now playing as if the shackles are off as they press for a second goal.
Gnabry again has an effort on goal but his low shot is well stopped by Lopes, unlike his earlier effort (below).
WOW WOW WOW 😳
Serge Gnabry with a pearler here! 🔥
A stunning goal to open the scoring!#Club2020 pic.twitter.com/0EqGDb0D4n
21min: Nearly two for Bayern but from a free-kick Thomas Muller mis-kicks the ball inside the box as Anthony Lopes collects.
18min: What a goal this is! It’s eight goals in nine games for Serge Gnabry and I doubt any of them are better than this.
Picking the ball up from the right touchline, he cuts inside dodging a couple of challenges before from 23 yards he blasts into the top corner. It’s world class, it really its.
17min: Another excellent chance for Lyon. Karl EKambi gets the better of Alphonso Davies but after cutting inside his shot cannons off the post.
16min: There really is nothing between these teams in the opening 15 minutes. Lyon will be far the happier team at this stage.
13min: Lyon are not just here to sit back. Memphis Depay cuts inside from the left before firing just wide across goal.
And moments later Maxwel Cornet skips a challenge from Goretzka before running down the left and playing in a low ball into the box.
There are Lyon players waiting to tap home but Jerome Boateng makes a crucial sliding tackle to intercept.
10min: Strange first chance for Bayern Munich. Leon Goretzka never looked in control of the ball as he ran through the box and in a desperate attempt to get a shot on goal swings wildly at it.
It results in the ball with such little power bouncing almost comically across goal but dangerously towards the bottom corner only for Anthony Lopes to scramble across his line and palm the ball behind (below).
7min: Bayern Munich have taken control of the ball since that Depay chance, but the German side are looking vulnerable to the Lyon counter attack. Good omens here, in that this is shaping up to be a cracking semi-final (I hope I have not put the mockers on it now).
4min: Big chance for Lyon! Maxence Caqueret plays a wonderful long ball for Memphis Depay to run onto, but despite taking the ball past Manuel Neuer 20 yards out, he can only steer a finish just wide of the near post. He probably should do better there, even if he was slightly off balance.
3min: It’s an overcast evening in Lisbon and it’s been a rather grey start too. Both teams sparring in midfield as they look to wrestle control of the ball.
Here is a reminder of the teams and formations as they make their way out onto the pitch:
Lyon: Lopes, Denayer, Marcelo, Marcal, Dubois, Caqueret, Bruno Guimaraes, Aouar, Cornet, Depay, Toko Ekambi.
Subs: Andersen, Da Silva, Dembele, Traore, Thiago Mendes, Reine-Adelaide, Cherki, Jean Lucas, Tete, Tatarusanu, Bard, Diomande.
Bayern Munich: Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Alaba, Davies, Thiago, Goretzka, Gnabry, Muller, Perisic, Lewandowski.
Subs: Odriozola, Sule, Pavard, Javi Martinez, Coutinho, Cuisance, Lucas, Tolisso, Ulreich, Coman, Zirkzee, Hoffmann.
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (Spain)
You may already argue he is the best striker in the world right now. He is top scorer in the Champions League this season with 14 goals – four more than anyone else.
Sportsmail’s Max Winters takes a look at the Polish striker.
Just think were it not for an erupting volcano there was a chance he could have ended up at Blackburn Rovers…
2 – Lyon manager Rudi Garcia is looking to become just the second French manager to lead a French team to the Champions League final, following Didier Deschamps with Monaco back in 2003-04. Patriotic. #UCL pic.twitter.com/789v5rsHbl
Not a scratch or a blemish on it either – not at least until Sunday night…
Lyon have already upset the odds twice in the Champions League knockout stages by beating Manchester City and Juventus, but how can they dismantle the German powerhouse of Bayern Munich?
Sportsmail’s James Dutton has looked at the methods Lyon could take into this semi-final.
Seems a shame to make all that effort with the suits and not wear a tie as well. Come on, chaps.
But only one will still be alive after this evening… unless you do not count a penalty shootout loss as a defeat, but that’s getting into ground I don’t think we need to cover at this stage of the evening.
So the semi-final failure or the unbeaten run, which one goes on?
12 – This will be @FCBayern ‘s 12th appearance in the semi-finals of the @ChampionsLeague, with only Real Madrid (13) reaching this stage on more occasions; the German side, however, haven’t progressed from any of their last four semi-finals in the competition. Bygones. #UCL pic.twitter.com/gKWhPgH6yL
And why would they be? Both produced stunning results to get this far, with Bayern dismantling Barcelona 8-2 and Lyon wiping their hands clean of Manchester City a few days ago.
All set 👀🔥 #MissionLis6on #OLFCB #packmas pic.twitter.com/TVOSvgu7f5
Checking in for #OLFCB! 📍#UCL pic.twitter.com/dGHjNNLt0z
Our #UCL starting XI for ##OLFCB! 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/fAC5cYjAfo
🔴 Your #FCBayern XI for this @ChampionsLeague semi-final 🔴#MissionLis6on #OLFCB #packmas pic.twitter.com/jUyPjFeBql
This run stretches back to before Christmas by the way and consists of just one draw… ONE!
28 – In all competitions, FC Bayern München are on the longest unbeaten run across Europe’s top five leagues (P28 W27 D1 L0), scoring 94 goals during this run (3.4 per game). Immovable. #UCL pic.twitter.com/s2sJY5sJ2p
Ten years ago in fact, the last time Lyon reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg at the Allianz Arena, Bayern travelled to France and demolished Lyon 3-0 thanks to an Ivica Olic hat-trick (below) to progress to a final where they would eventually lose to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan.
Bayern and Lyon have not played each other since, but they do have other history in this competition consisting of group stage matches in the 2000s.
Bayern edge the head-to-heads 4-2 overall, with two draws also included.
In case you missed it (in which case where on earth were you yesterday evening) we already know one of our Champions League finalists.
There was never going to be a shock at the Estadio da Luz as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to victory over RB Leipzig.
If it really is one of those nights, we could get both! All I know is Bayern Munich and Lyon have helped serve up both in the previous round as I welcome you to our live coverage of their Champions League semi-final.
Bayern Munich will be looking to build on their total destruction of Barcelona as they face off against Lyon for a place in the final of the Champions League against PSG.
The German giants were rampant in their 8-2 thrashing of Barca and will be heavy favourites to see off Lyon.
However Rudi Garcia’s side have already eliminated Juventus and now Manchester City as they look to reach a major European final for the first time in their history.
Sportsmail will provide live UCL coverage of Lyon vs Bayern including score, lineups and build-up.