Robert Lewandowski. Goodness.
After a ridiculous summer of transfer rumor after transfer rumor, Robert Lewandowski made a point against Eintracht Frankfurt to remind everyone just how important he is. The big center-forward led the way for Bayern Munich in the DFL Supercup with a fantastic hat-trick that frustrated Frankfurt so much they were slapping him in the face and elbowing him in the head.
While Lewandowski’s first two goals were excellent headers (including one from a brilliant cross by Joshua Kimmich), the third goal was a thing of beauty. Lewandowski had David Abraham (more on him later) on his back, received a pass and immediately flicked it beyond Abraham before finishing to put the game out of reach.
If this is the Lewandowski that Bayern is getting this season, the rest of
the Bundesliga Europe better watch out.
Mats Hummels was lucky to avoid a red card
After Bayern jumped out to a 2-0 lead, they were cruising into halftime when Mats Hummels courted disaster but escaped with only a slap on the wrist. Mijat Gacinovic was speeding toward the Bayern goal, and Hummels came over and completely wiped out Gacinovic — while also getting the ball. Despite the fact that Hummels was the last defender between Gacinovic and Neuer, the referee (who was clearly interested in keeping 22 men on the field today) opted for only a yellow card.
While you can argue all day long about whether or not you believe that it was a red-card-worthy foul, the fact remains that Hummels must be smarter than that and not put himself into situations where a referee’s opinion about a foul sends him off in the final seconds of the first half.
Manuel Neuer’s distribution is arguably more important than his shot-stopping ability
When Manuel Neuer spent almost the entirety of last season on the sidelines due to a foot injury that never seemed to heal, Bayern fans were rightly worried. While Sven Ulreich has always proven himself to be a more than adequate temporary replacement, everyone knew that, for a match against the European elite, Ulreich would always be a question. Most people point to Neuer’s ability to make better saves; while that is true, it is not the main thing Bayern get back from his return.
Neuer’s possession and distribution game is equal to and potentially better than some defenders starting in the top divisions across Europe. Against Frankfurt’s speedy press, the Bayern defenders never once feared sending a pass back to Neuer, no matter how close a Frankfurt attacker was from getting there. The confidence that they have in the big German number one was on full display all night long.
While Neuer was called upon to make just one save in the DFL Supercup, he was instrumental in Bayern’s ability to beat the Frankfurt press all night long. If he can stay healthy, you should expect to see Bayern challenging for every possible trophy once again.
Eintracht Frankfurt played a very dirty game
It started early when Marco Fabian slapped Robert Lewandowski in the head during a confrontation with David Abraham. Then, it continued for the rest of the game as Abraham hit and elbowed Lewandowski every chance that he could. There’s no doubt that Abraham
could should have been sent off for his swinging elbow that connected with Lewandowski’s head in the second half, but the referee didn’t even go to VAR for it. (Actually, was VAR used at all today? I feel like it should’ve been used multiple times. Whatever.)
Once Bayern’s lead was overwhelming, Frankfurt’s game plan quickly turned into hard fouls and cheap shots. It’s not the kind of behavior you want to see out of any team, especially not from a team playing in the DFL Supercup.
If David Alaba’s injury is serious, it could be very damaging
David Alaba left the match late in the second half after a collision with Frankfurt’s Danny da Costa. While it didn’t appear that there was too much to the challenge, Alaba’s inability to get up on his own let us know quickly how serious it was. He was unable to leave the field under on his own power and had to be helped down the tunnel by team doctors.
At this point, it’s impossible to know the true extent of Alaba’s potential injury, but it is a stark reminder that Bayern really can’t afford to sell Juan Bernat this summer, despite some fan opinions. Alaba’s importance to Bayern’s offense and defense can’t be overstated, and losing him for any significant period of time cause potentially cause serious damage to the start of Bayern’s campaign.
While you’re unlikely to find a bigger Rafinha booster than me, I have zero interest in seeing him filling in for Alaba at left-back on a regular basis. Bernat must stay in Munich this summer.