It was no secret that Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski wanted out of the Bavarian capital, as much was made of his desire for a new challenge with Real Madrid or Manchester United. After failing to fulfill his Champions League ambitions and being blamed for disappearing in big matches, Lewandowski wasn’t feeling the love. Following a disappointing World Cup, the Polish hitman seemed to be at his breaking point.
In an exclusive interview with Sport Bild (via Bild), the holder of the Kicker Torjägerkanone (Bundesliga top scorer award) opened up about his frustrations with the Bayern brass over a lack of support:
In April and May, almost everyone took a shot at me. And I didn’t feel protected at all by the club; I felt alone in that situation. I didn’t score in two or three important games and suddenly everyone was saying, “Fire away at Lewandowski!” I did not see anyone who stood behind me at the time. None of the bosses defended me either.
Lewandowski’s failure to be a difference-maker in key Champions League matches, coupled with his poor production at the World Cup, resulted in a sense of alienation from the club. It is true that Lewandowski earned the ire of some fans and possibly also management for under-performing. In the interview, the striker does not mince words or deny his desire to leave earlier in the Summer.
That was agreed with Pini [Zahavi]. Because at that moment I did not feel good in Munich anymore. Things didn’t fit any more during this time; too much happened all at once. I felt as though I had just been at Bayern for a season and had no credit at the club. That’s why I thought about leaving.
This type of honesty is hard to come by among top athletes, but Lewandowski’s openness about his thought process seems to indicate he is at peace with his decision to stay. He said as much speaking to his current state of mind.
My heart is back at Bayern. I saw here in Munich how the fans are behind me. (...) I see they still want me!
Lewandowski also declared he will never resort to the tactics used by Ousmane Dembélé to force his move away from Borussia Dortmund:
I will never go on strike, never take on the club. I’m not wasting any time now thinking about going abroad.
This will come as a relief to many Bayern fans, especially considering Lewandowski’s swashbuckling start to the new campaign. The sharpshooting Pole is not only is at peace with his decision, but four goals and two man of the match performances in the first two competitive matches of the season let the world know that RL9 is back with a vengeance and a Champions League trophy-sized chip on his shoulder.
Although some supporters and many media outlets have criticized Lewandowski for disappearing in the big matches (Yes, the same Lewy who scored four against Real Madrid in a knockout round...FOUR), this sentiment really misses the mark. In reality, the striker has largely served as a scapegoat for underlying issues at the club.
Aging wingers who cannot provide the same elite service of old, along with a Kingsley Coman injury and some shambolic defending made it difficult for a lethal finisher, especially one who relies on the ability of others to find him at the end of his intelligent and brilliantly timed runs. The current narrative against Lewandowski does not hold up when compared to the reality of the last campaign in Munich. A ticked off LewanGOALski will return to his prolific self and prove to be a difference maker in big matches.