Insight

Greedy for goals

The group stage has been lit up by unforgettable hat-tricks and emphatic four-goal hauls, with a new set of forwards leading the charge

WORDS Chris Burke

It was, as one German newspaper neatly put it, “Oktoberfest in north London”. Bayern’s festival of attacking football at Tottenham Hotspur on Matchday 2 turned heads across Europe, but perhaps the most surprising aspect was that one player had scored four goals in the 7-2 win – and it wasn’t Robert Lewandowski (pictured above). The prolific Pole would soon put that right.

Erling Braut Haaland announced himself with a hat-trick for Salzburg against Genk

Whatever they’re serving up at the Bayern canteen this season, it’s working. Serge Gnabry was the club’s star turn at Tottenham, burying his first goal on 53 minutes and completing his hat-trick half an hour later, before adding a bonus effort close to full time. For the former Arsenal winger, it was a night to savour. “North London is RED!!!” joked the 24-year-old on Twitter after notching the first Champions League four-goal haul since 2015, and signposting a surge in personal scoring feats this term.

Hat-tricks, hat-tricks, everywhere. At the time of writing, by the end of Matchday 5, no fewer than seven had been recorded – just two shy of the benchmark for a Champions League season, set in 2016/17. And for the first time in the competition’s history, two players from the same club have now plundered four-goal salvos in the same campaign, with Lewandowski following Gnabry’s example at Crvena zvezda on 26 November, rattling in his quartet of goals in a record 16 minutes.

Penalty Pedigree

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It was, as one German newspaper neatly put it, “Oktoberfest in north London”. Bayern’s festival of attacking football at Tottenham Hotspur on Matchday 2 turned heads across Europe, but perhaps the most surprising aspect was that one player had scored four goals in the 7-2 win – and it wasn’t Robert Lewandowski (pictured above). The prolific Pole would soon put that right.

Erling Braut Haaland announced himself with a hat-trick for Salzburg against Genk

Whatever they’re serving up at the Bayern canteen this season, it’s working. Serge Gnabry was the club’s star turn at Tottenham, burying his first goal on 53 minutes and completing his hat-trick half an hour later, before adding a bonus effort close to full time. For the former Arsenal winger, it was a night to savour. “North London is RED!!!” joked the 24-year-old on Twitter after notching the first Champions League four-goal haul since 2015, and signposting a surge in personal scoring feats this term.

Hat-tricks, hat-tricks, everywhere. At the time of writing, by the end of Matchday 5, no fewer than seven had been recorded – just two shy of the benchmark for a Champions League season, set in 2016/17. And for the first time in the competition’s history, two players from the same club have now plundered four-goal salvos in the same campaign, with Lewandowski following Gnabry’s example at Crvena zvezda on 26 November, rattling in his quartet of goals in a record 16 minutes.

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Serge Gnabry and Niklas Süle celebrate Bayern's 7-2 victory at Tottenham

Lewandowski aside, what’s noticeable is that a new crop of talents have added themselves to the hat-trick roll of honours. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated this list for years, but neither have been able to get in on the action so far, with the tone set on Matchday 1 when 19-year-old Erling Braut Haaland scored an eye-catching treble in Salzburg’s 6-2 defeat of Genk. Twenty-four hours later, fellow competition debutant Mislav Oršić put three past Atalanta for Dinamo Zagreb.

After Gnabry’s big night, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling hit an 11-minute hat-trick against Atalanta, the third fastest in Champions League history. Then it was over to Kylian Mbappé, who terrorised Club Brugge with his first – but surely not his last – European treble, a feat later repeated by 18-year-old Rodrygo for Real Madrid against Galatasaray. Hat-tricks galore – and a fresh cast of names grabbing the headlines.

It was, as one German newspaper neatly put it, “Oktoberfest in north London”. Bayern’s festival of attacking football at Tottenham Hotspur on Matchday 2 turned heads across Europe, but perhaps the most surprising aspect was that one player had scored four goals in the 7-2 win – and it wasn’t Robert Lewandowski (pictured above). The prolific Pole would soon put that right.

Erling Braut Haaland announced himself with a hat-trick for Salzburg against Genk

Whatever they’re serving up at the Bayern canteen this season, it’s working. Serge Gnabry was the club’s star turn at Tottenham, burying his first goal on 53 minutes and completing his hat-trick half an hour later, before adding a bonus effort close to full time. For the former Arsenal winger, it was a night to savour. “North London is RED!!!” joked the 24-year-old on Twitter after notching the first Champions League four-goal haul since 2015, and signposting a surge in personal scoring feats this term.

Hat-tricks, hat-tricks, everywhere. At the time of writing, by the end of Matchday 5, no fewer than seven had been recorded – just two shy of the benchmark for a Champions League season, set in 2016/17. And for the first time in the competition’s history, two players from the same club have now plundered four-goal salvos in the same campaign, with Lewandowski following Gnabry’s example at Crvena zvezda on 26 November, rattling in his quartet of goals in a record 16 minutes.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.