It was almost a year ago when we started to hear the whispers that Bayern Munich had a disgruntled Pole on its hands.
Whether it was Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester United, or Juventus, the seemingly never-ending list of potential suitors and interested bidders made it look very probable that Lewandowski was about to close out his tab in Bavaria. That attention and the uncertainty of his future also certainly affected the star’s demeanor. Whether it was on-field glares or training ground spats, Robert Lewandowski was a man playing with a cloudy vision of his future.
This season, however, Lewandowski has had a laser-like focus on his one true goal: dominating the competition every time he takes the pitch.
A New Beginning
Gone are the prolonged displays of exasperation with teammates when he doesn’t get the ball. It has been a long while since we have seen that trademark scowl after a teammate scores, when Lewandowski feels like an extra pass could have been made to him.
Frankly, Lewandowski was surly both on the field and off the field many times last year, as he quickly transformed from a fan favorite into the “jerk that Bayern needed.” Does the striker still get visible frustrated at times? Absolutely, but it typically lasts for a few seconds before he reboots and refocuses on creating the next opportunity.
All those troubles now appear to be behind him. With his focus solely on the pitch, Lewandowski has excelled and reclaimed his throne as most dangerous striker on the planet.
This season, Lewandowski has been nothing short of spectacular.
Lewandowski has 22 goals and 5 assists across competitions this season. That is tremendous given the circumstances that Bayern has fought through so far. Whether it is the insane amount of injuries to key players surrounding him, the sometimes turbulent transition as the squad adjusts to Niko Kovac, or the overall quality of competition that Bayern has faced, Lewandowski has pushed forward undeterred.
Bolstered by the presence of Thomas Müller behind him for most of the first half, Lewandowski has thrived and taken advantage of Müller’s uncanny ability to exploit space and sacrifice his own game for Lewandowski’s benefit. It is a symbiotic relationship that drives the Bayern attack and extracts the best out of both players.
Even without the goals and assists, though, there is just something different about the Polish international this season. His passion, his zeal, and — dare I say — his happiness are visible for all to see.
The Future is Now
If Lewandowski wanted a bigger stage for his game and his brand, he has it. As Bayern trail Borussia Dortmund by six points in the league, there is a renewed focus and excitement on the Bundesliga this season. In addition, the squad is preparing for a heavyweight battle against Liverpool in the Champions League. where Lewandowski will enjoy the time in the global spotlight that he desires.
For now, any thoughts of a post-Bayern plan are on the back burner. When his time eventually comes and both Lewandowski and Bayern are mutually ready to part ways, then hopefully Lewandowski will receive that career-ending stint in Los Angeles that he wants (although Philadelphia would be soooooo much better). Until then, let’s keep the Polish Hitman in Bavaria, plying his trade better than any other “9” on the planet.