Robert Lewandowski was Bayern Munich’s hat-trick hero on Sunday, as the reigning Bundesliga champions routed Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 in the DFL-Supercup. It was exactly the type of performance Niko Kovac wanted to kick-start his competitive campaign as Bayern Munich manager with two weeks to go until the Bundesliga opener vs. Hoffenheim.
While the football on display from Die Roten was nothing short of savory, the occasion was also marred by an unnecessary clash between Lewandowski and Frankfurt’s David Abraham. The two have a history when it comes to nasty exchanges, and a handful of incidents during the Supercup quickly escalated:
- Abraham and Makoto Hasebe get in Lewandowski’s face after Lewandowski and Abraham had been jostling for position in the box on a set piece (between 21st and 26th minute).
- Abraham unnecessarily body-checks Lewandowski off the ball after Lewandowski had passed it off to a teammate (52nd minute).
- Abraham tries to foul Lewandowski, but the striker wriggles free, scoring his third goal of the match (54th minute).
- Abraham blatantly elbows Lewandowski during an aerial duel, leaving Lewandowski with a swollen and bloody chin (70th minute).
- Following the final whistle, Lewandowski confronts Abraham, and both sets of teammates have to hold them back to avoid anything escalating further.
- Lewandowski and Abraham exchange a few words... (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
- Ante Rebic had a few words for Lewandowski... (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
- The scuffle escalated quickly. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
- The ref is in the middle of the pack somewhere in there trying to keep things [somewhat] civil... (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
- This picture just about sums it up... (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)
- Lewandowski and Abraham going at it as their teammates try to mediate... (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)
- Abraham gives Lewandowski an elbow to the chin. (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
- Abraham tries to act as if nothing happened...yeah, right. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)
- Lewandowski with a swollen chin... (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)
After the match, Lewandowski’s longtime German agent, Maik Bathel, took to his Twitter account to voice his frustration about Frankfurt’s “dirty” style of play during the Supercup (via Bild). There was no call for VAR after any of the incidents, as there usually always is for controversial decisions in the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal matches, which Bathel was pretty upset about:
Where is VAR? Clearly unsportsmanlike and a clear penalty from Fabian. Just ridiculous.
That such a dirty way of playing by Eintracht is being supported by the referees is the real scandal.
He was especially irate about the lack of a decision when Abraham clearly elbowed Lewandowski during their aerial duel towards the end of the second half:
The video assistant did not intervene on the elbow hit from Abraham against Robert. That would have been a clear red card for me. The slap from Fabian against Robert also followed without consequences
Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidžić also chimed in, commenting specifically on the elbow incident between Abraham and Lewandowski:
With that score, it was completely unnecessary. You don’t do that. Abraham is usually a nice guy, but in this instance he did not act correctly. I don’t want to complain about VAR, but the scene with Robert has to be seen.
Thomas Muller chose to take a more diplomatic approach to the situation overall when he was asked about Frankfurt’s dirty fouls:
Frankfurt is known to come at you from time to time. But all in all everything was okay. After all, the referee generally strives to blow the final whistle with all the players still on the pitch.
Regardless of the scoreline, there’s certainly cause for concern that most of the incidents went without consequences, especially with how well the Bundesliga has been with the usage of VAR. On the other end of things, though, it was fantastic to see Lewandowski open up his competitive 2018/2019 campaign with a hard-fought hat-trick.
We leave you with this: