UEFA Men's Player of the Year, Robert Lewandowski, was at his brilliant best as Bayern Munich overcame a resilient Hertha Berlin. The capital club fought back after going down twice but were outdone by the Polish international, who scored four goals on his own to seal the win for Bayern Munich.
It was a battle between the 12th and the 13th-placed side in the Bundesliga, with heavyweights Bayern Munich uncharacteristically finding themselves in mid-table. The Bavarians started the season with a bang against struggling Schalke, netting eight goals without reply. However, a shock 4-1 defeat at the hands of Hoffenheim meant that Bayern Munich were level on points with the side from Berlin going into round three.
A stunning turnaround under Bruno Labbadia towards the back-end of last season saw Hertha finish 10th in the table - closer to the European spots than the relegation zone.
With over a €100 million spent since January 2020, loyal Berliners might have expected their team to start the new season on a better note. However, two extreme results in the first two matchdays meant that the capital club was placed a meagre 13th ahead of the third round of fixtures.
The teams played out an absolute thriller in their latest meeting in the Bundesliga, with only a late Robert Lewandowski penalty separating them in the end. Hertha, to their credit, fought hard after falling behind - first coming back from two goals and then scoring a third late on. However, they conceded a late penalty, allowing Bayern Munich to hammer in the final nail.
Here are the five talking points from this enthralling encounter.
#1 Bayern Munich's rut continues despite thrilling win
It has been a bittersweet week of football for Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick. The German's crowning as UEFA Men's Manager of the Year was overshadowed by a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Hoffenheim - Bayern's first defeat of the year. Meanwhile, his team's Super Cup win was clouded, if only momentarily, by Borussia Dortmund's comeback from two goals down.
Bayern Munich needed a statement win against Hertha, just to calm matters around the camp. While they did manage to win the game in the end - and claim all three points - it proved to be anything but straight-forward.
The Bavarians, once again, threw away a two-goal cushion before allowing Hertha to equalise for the third time in the match. While Bruno Labbadia's side fully merited their three goals in this match, the fact that Bayern conceded twice from set-pieces must have angered their head coach.
It took only one man to set things right for the struggling champions in the end.
#2 Business as usual for brilliant Lewandowski
2020 has been a near-perfect year for Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker enjoyed league success with Bayern Munich, before adding the UEFA Champions League and another DFB Pokal to his own personal vault. Thursday's crowning as UEFA Men's Player of the Year only added more gloss to his stellar year, despite the lingering disappointment of missing out on the Ballon d'Or.
Lewandowski continued his stunning run of form with a four-goal display against Hertha. The Poland international netted his first in the first half, firing home from close range after a spectacular save by Hertha goalkeeper, Alexander Schwolow.
He then added his brace early in the second half, scoring low past the custodian after collecting the ball from youngster Chris Richards. Partner-in-crime, Thomas Muller, laid the chance on a plate for the Pole to complete his hattrick, before he added a fourth via a penalty late into the match.