Alphonso Davies’ early red card “woke up” Bayern Munich and set them on their way to claiming a 4-0 victory over Stuttgart despite their numerical disadvantage, Robert Lewandowski has declared.
The Bundesliga champions had been on the back foot even prior to losing their left-back in the 12th minute for a poor challenge on Wataru Endo.
But they responded brilliantly, taking the lead through hat-trick hero Lewandowski before Serge Gnabry also scored as they built a four-goal lead by half-time.
Speaking after the game, the Poland star shared his belief that, rather than hurt Bayern, the dismissal actually served to bring them to life.
He said: “We played really well after the red card. That woke us up. Before that, we didn’t play so perfectly.
“After that, it was a challenge for us to create chances and score goals. We wanted to keep playing forward after the first goal and try to add another one.”
Bayern coach Hansi Flick was understandably full of praise for the manner in which his players responded to that setback.
The German also had no complaints about the decision to dismiss his player.
35 – @lewy_official (@FCBayernEN) has scored 35 goals in this #Bundesliga season – only Gerd Müller has scored more in a single campaign (40 – 1971-72, 38 – 1969-70, 36 – 1972-73). Milestone. #FCBVFB pic.twitter.com/ZzxF8qjQoE
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) March 20, 2021
“I have to give my team a huge compliment,” he enthused.
“After the dismissal, which was justified, they worked well on the defensive, made the spaces very, very tight as a team and did very well in possession of the ball, especially in the first half.
“The way we created the chances was simply outstanding. We had to change the defence today and were very compact.
“We kept the clean sheet and got the three points – that was our goal and thus a successful game day for us.”
As for Stuttgart boss Pellegrino Matarazzo, he felt the sending-off only ended up taking away the visitors’ positive early momentum.
He said: “We got into the game well, you can even say that we were dominant.
“We played well and should have taken the lead shortly after the red card. Then something happened mentally: either that we had pressure to win or we thought we had less pressure now.
“We paid in the first half and I hope we can do better next time.”