Quick summary, for those just joining in: Bayern currently has 2 excellent strikers. Mario Gomez is a German international who has scored goals at an impressive pace in his ~4 years with the club. He's a strong guy with a powerful shot, but has occasionally frustrated Bayern supporters with some blown attempts and clumsy finishing. Mario Mandžukić, meanwhile, is a new acquisition from Wolfsburg who made his name this summer with a great Euro campaign for Croatia. He's looked amazing in half a season with Bayern, scoring 14 league goals in 18 matches and providing a constant threat to opponents' defenses ... but, as some would point out, a half a season of great play doesn't mean he'll be a can't-miss star in the future.
Over the past week or so, repeated stories have put Bayern on the trail of Robert Lewandowski, BVB striker. The move is rumored to confirmed soon, and consummated this summer. I've been skeptical. More detail here and here. It's been widely suspected that a move for Lewandowski would leave one of our current two strikers on the way out - commonly thought to be Gomez, thanks to the scorching form of Mandžukić recently. Which makes today's story even more interesting: Gomez says he'd be fine with 'Dowski coming along, and would welcome the competition:
I'm not afraid of anyone ... The club must be clear and tell us what is happening, even if it is not my role to comment on the situation. The only thing I can say is that strikers will feel at home in Bavaria. We shall see.
Interesting ... that could be read any number of ways. He could have been privately assured that a Lewandowski move will not happen, or assured that he (Gomez) will remain on board no matter what. He could actually be worried about the possibility of being sold, and just decided that the best move was to play it cool and say "I'm fine with it, it doesn't worry me" (in that case, "The club must be clear and tell us what is happening" makes sense as a quiet dig at the board's failure to quash the rumors). Or he could truly be ready for a big competition at striker, and feel like he's good enough that he'll keep the striker job (or at least a good share or it) no matter what.
What's pretty clear is that we can't have all 3, as there will never be enough meaningful minutes for all of them. I'm on record as really liking Mandžukić, but even with my past criticisms of Gomez, I don't think he should be sold. We appear to be so strong right now, with a pair of strikers who bring so much to the table, I don't believe a move for Lewandowski will really happen (at least not soon). My preference would be to stick with what we've got (well, my actual preference would be to sell them all, get Özil, put him or Tommy in the false-10 of a 4-2-4 with no true target man ... but, failing that, my preference would be to stick with what we've got). With a new manager on the way, though, anything is possible. Today's comments seem to indicate that Gomez is feeling confident in his ability to fight for a spot. Could that bode poorly for Mandžukić? Several of our more informed readers commented yesterday that Mandžukić could be sold with less fuss than Gomez, because he's been here for less time and because he's not a member of the German national side. But, then, neither is Lewandowski - and he's never been here at all! He's played for our toughest rival of the past few years.
We'll be following the story as it develops. You can also consider this your open thread for Tuesday CL matches. Thanks for reading.