Robert Lewandowski’s form so far this season has been out of this world. The Polish ace has already tallied 23 goals from 17 appearances across competitions for Bayern Munich and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He also broke Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s record of scoring in the first 8 Bundesliga matches of the season: Lewandowski has scored in all 11 of Bayern’s league matches this season.
He recently gave a lengthy interview to Sport Bild (print edition) where he discussed the competition with RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner for the Bundesliga’s prized Torjägerkanone, how he views Jadon Sancho as a world class talent, Hansi Flick’s effectiveness at Bayern Munich, and more. He also revealed that he’s, fortunately, going to wait until the winter break to have surgery on his groin so that he he will not miss any matches for Bayern.
No competition at the top in the Bundesliga?
Currently, Lewandowski sits atop the Bundesliga’s goal scorer’s list with 16 goals. Even though he’s the clear odds-on favorite to collect yet another Torjägerkanone at the end of the season, Lewandowski is still motivated. Despite his own dominance, he still feels that the Bundesliga is not lacking in outstanding players:
There is still Timo Werner, who has 11 goals. That’s a strong performance. But I’ve known for years that I have to concentrate on myself. Even if there is no immediate competitor, my motivation is to increase the distance to second place even more, and especially to score even more goals for the success of the team and to win titles.
Although the scorers like himself get most of the glory and plaudits in the Bundesliga, Lewandowski also recognized singled out Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho when asked who he viewed as the league’s top talents:
Jadon Sancho, who has great potential. But there are also other players who impress me. Leipzig has two really good defenders in Upamecano and Konaté. Werner has a top tally. The Bundesliga this year is very close generally; the season will be very interesting.
Lewandowski was also recently put on the short list of nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or, but he feels that players in England and Spain have an advantage because of the broader popularity of their leagues. He made it clear that he feels his former teammate and Bayern legend Franck Ribery was cheated of the honor:
The question is whether this vote is about the best players or about the best known league. In my opinion, players from the Premier League and the Primera División [i.e., La Liga] simply have an advantage there. Take a look at 2013: Franck Ribéry played immensely, FC Bayern won the Champions League. Still he was only voted third. Nonetheless, I still hope that I someday can win this this honor — as a Bayern player! Everyone knows the numbers and statistics; everything else is out of my hands.
Sport Bild asked Lewy directly whether there is any center-forward who can rival him currently. His answer was not direct, but clear: “I am giving my all to be the best possible.”
Who is the right coach for Bayern?
Since taking over as interim manager in the wake of Niko Kovac’s departure, Hansi Flick has guided Bayern to two impressive wins against Olympiacos FC and Borussia Dortmund, outscoring them 6:0. Bayern have looked a completely reinvigorated since Flick’s appointment. Lewandowski argues it is his communication with the players that has made Flick so effective so soon:
Communication with the players; he is honest and direct. The players immediately noticed that. But he also works very well tactically. I won’t say that everything is great now. But he has done a very good job in a few days.
Lewandowski feels that Flick could be the right man to finish the season as Bayern’s manager, and he praised Flick’s attention to Bayern’s defense and midfield ahead of the matches against Olympiacos and Dortmund:
[Flick] is a very good option. It’s not easy for the club; there are not many coaches on the market. And what coach leaves his team in the lurch in the middle of the season? It would definitely be reasonable to continue with Hansi Flick. Against Piraeus and Dortmund, we had the feeling that we were well set up at the back and that nothing would happen there. That gives you strength and the ability to concentrate more on offense. You can take greater risks if you know that nothing will catch fire behind you.
Lewandowski, of course, was speaking before news of Mauricio Pochettino’s dismissal by Tottenham Hotspur broke. If he or another new coach arrives in the winter transfer window or over the summer, Lewandowski emphasized the need for a manager to adapt to the players that Bayern already has:
Every coach has his preferred tactics, his preferred system. But a coach also stands out for working with the players who are already at the club. A good coach has to be flexible and find the best tactics for the players that are at the club. Both sides have to adapt to one another.
When asked about the rumors linking Pep Guardiola with a potential return to Bavaria, Lewandowski gave a diplomatic, but pointed answer:
That of course is not my decision. But in my opinion Pep Guardiola makes almost every player better, so everyone can consider himself lucky to train under him.