Robert Lewandowski warmed up for next week’s meeting with former club Bayern Munich by scoring a magnificent hat-trick in Barcelona’s crushing Champions League win over Viktoria Plzen.
The 34-year-old Poland forward demonstrated his value by making it eight goals in five games since leaving Bayern in July.
Lewandowski, who helped Bayern win the competition in 2019-20, marked his first Champions League appearance for Barca with a clinical finish which doubled the lead after Franck Kessie had headed the hosts ahead.
He then made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time with a header after Ousmane Dembele did well to win back possession before producing a fine cross.
Viktoria Plzen had briefly given their travelling fans from the Cech Republic something to cheer when Jan Sykora headed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but Barca – and Lewandowski – proved far too strong.
Lewandowski completed his hat-trick after 67 minutes following an assist by former Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, who added the fifth.
Lewandowski is the first player to score a Champions League hat-trick for three different teams – one for Borussia Dortmund, four for Bayern Munich, one for Barcelona.
This result was the perfect start to Group C for Barcelona, who face Bayern next Tuesday.
Lewandowski joined Bayern on a free transfer in 2014 after his departure from Borussia Dortmund and scored 50 goals in 46 games last season as he helped Bayern win a 10th straight Bundesliga title.