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Heynckes defends Lewandowski from criticism: A better second leg in the making

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Robert Lewandowski had a difficult game in the first leg against Real Madrid, but he has Jupp Heynckes’s confidence.

MUNICH, GERMANY - APRIL 11: Coach of Bayern Munich Jupp Heynckes greets Robert Lewandowski after he's replaced during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg match between Bayern Muenchen and FC Sevilla at Allianz Arena on April 11, 2018 in Munich, Germany.
Jupp Heynckes and Robert Lewandowski April 11, 2018.
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

In the wake of Robert Lewandowski’s substandard performance against Real Madrid, the Pole has weathered a storm of criticism—fans, journalists and pundits have thrown shade at Lewandowski for failing to deliver his best performances against bigger teams. Bild, among many other news portals, raised several questions about why the league’s top-scorer seems to struggle when it comes to the most important games of the season.

Putting an end to the denunciations, hopefully, Jupp Heynckes spoke in defense of the Polish striker while talking to the press on Friday. Heynckes believes that people would have appraised Lewandowski’s performance in an entirely different way if he had converted a chance in the 88th minute. Heynckes said that he is very well aware of the criticism and had a long discussion with Lewandowski about how he needs to deal with it. The second leg in Madrid is the biggest chance for Lewandowski to prove his worth. As Heynckes said, the criticism must be answered by Lewandowski’s performance on the pitch.

I don’t share it [the criticism]. If Robert Lewandowski scores in the 88th minute, his performance would be assessed completely differently. Look here: Ronaldo is a goal-machine—and how many touches did he have? I’ve had a long discussion with Robert and I hope he’ll give his answer on the pitch on Tuesday. I am aware of the criticism; he has to deal with it and give his answer on the pitch.

Tuesday’s game against Madrid is Bayern’s last chance of keeping this season’s treble hopes alive. With Heynckes kindling positive thoughts, a better performance can be expected at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.