Robert Lewandowski: the name that evokes fear in the mind of every defender across Europe. The focal point of Bayern’s attack, Lewandowski has scored an astounding 27 goals in 21 games for Bayern this season, with 16 goals and an assist in just 14 Bundesliga appearances. Yes, he’s having the form of his life right now, and has directly contributed to around 50% of Bayern’s goals this season. That leads us to the question — is Bayern’s attack overly reliant on Lewandowski for goals?
Bayern’s past two games were both 2-1 losses, to Bayer Leverkusen and league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach. True, both are very strong teams strong on the counter, but we notice something else — Lewandowski didn’t score in either game. So, is the team’s recent slump somewhat directly related to Lewandowski coming up short in front of goal? Is man-marking the hitman the key to stopping Bayern this season? Are Bayern really bereft of ideas up front when its star striker does not deliver the goods?
In Bayern’s recent presser ahead of the Champions league tie against Tottenham, both coach Hansi Flick and our very own raumdeuter and Lewandowski’s partner in crime, Müller, chimed in their thoughts on Lewandowski’s contribution to the attack. Flick reiterated Lewandowski’s importance, but emphasized the contribution of the offense as a whole (TZ):
He is an important player for us, no question. But I wouldn’t say that we are dependent on him. Just as we defend collectively, we also have to function as a team collectively on offense.
Thomas Müller, meanwhile, attributed the recent losses to Lewandowski’s supposed mini “goal drought,” but stated that others have to step up to take the responsibility. He even called out a few other players who can share the burden of the striker role:
Of course we have missed Lewy’s goals in the past few games, because nobody else jumped into the breach. We need him and his goals, that’s obvious. Perhaps one or two players — myself included — has to change their game to play somewhat more as a scorer. We have players after all, like Serge Gnabry or Ivan Perisic, who can score goals.
Additionally, Müller said (Kicker),
We had several situations in which the decisive pass was played behind by ten centimeters or the timing wasn’t right. You have to be a little self-critical about that. It would do us good if we had more options that could score goals. We other offensive players have to jump into the breach.
Our raumdeuter definitely sees room for improvement in the attack and is calling his fellow attackers to step up their game. This is a good thing and can hopefully serve as much-needed constructive criticism and motivation for the team moving forward.
Sure, Lewandowski has scored 27 goals out of 60 in all competitions for Bayern so far this season. But that also means that 33 goals have come from other team players, noteworthy mentions being Serge Gnabry (9 goals) and Thomas Müller (3 goals, 9 assists). Bayern is definitely not a one-man attacking team, and if players like Gnabry, Perisic and Coman step their game up, we could be seeing goals galore in the games to come.