Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski had some fun in his press conference when he was asked about who might eventually take his place at the “9” for Bayern Munich.
“We have to wait a few more years, it’s still too early,” Lewandowski said (as captured by Goal). “But there are also three or four really good strikers in the Bundesliga if we look to Frankfurt or Borussia.”
While Lewandowski did not name anyone specifically, he did hint that the Bundesliga does have some quality options at the position who might one day be capable of filling his shoes.
That led us to thinking about which Bundesliga strikers might — and we say might very loosely with some of these — be able to be the “next one” for the Bavarians.
The Phenom: Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund
I’ve already went on record with the fact I’d make shady deals with Wirecard, Spongetech, or whoever to generate enough revenue to bring in the Norwegian Nightmare. Haaland has everything you want in a modern striker: Size, speed, strength, anticipation, the ability to score with both feet or his head, and phenomenal timing on his runs. Haaland’s physical attributes (6’4” - 1.93 meters; 195 pounds — 88.5 kilograms) alone make him a tantalizing figure.
At 20-years-old, Haaland is the best possible successor to Lewandowski — and I would borderline fight about this claim. Haaland also reportedly has an exit clause in his contract after the 2021/2022 season, but it would be shocking if Borussia Dortmund does not get flooded with bids for Haaland this upcoming summer. With a talent like this, the early bird — or bidder — could get the worm.
The Comeback Kid: Luka Jovic, Eintracht Frankfurt
Still technically the property of Real Madrid, Jovic has re-asserted himself nicely in Germany since moving back to Die Adler on a loan assignment. Jovic measures up closely to Lewandowski in stature (6’0” — 1.82 meters; 185 pounds — 84 kilograms) and has a history of being able to score in a variety of ways (both feet, headers). Jovic, though, would need to build his strength a bit to match Lewandowski’s overall physicality.
The issue with Jovic, however, is that he is under contract with Real Madrid through the 2024/2025 season and given the financial issues Los Blancos are reportedly facing, it might take a significant bid to lure Jovic away.
One thing that could help any prospective bidder for Jovic is that Real Madrid is supposedly hot on the trail of both Haaland and Kylian Mbappe. Should Los Blancos get close to a purchase of either of those players, they could look to generate funds with a sale of a talent like Jovic.
At just 23-years-old, Jovic still has loads of potential.
The Opportunist: Andre Silva, Eintracht Frankfurt
Silva has had a tremendous season for a very game Eintracht Frankfurt side and is yet another sturdy (6’1” — 1.85 meters; 185 pounds — 84 kilograms) striker who matches Lewandowski’s stature, but would also need to build more strength. At 25-years-old, Silva’s late maturation as a player follows the relatively slow developing pathway that Lewandowski himself endured.
Finally given the opportunity to showcase himself this season, Silva has seized the moment — and even has Atletico Madrid eyeing him up. Regardless, the Portuguese striker would certainly be an interesting option, but might not be quite as sexy a name as those players listed above.
The Bridge: Andrej Kramaric, Hoffenheim
Kramaric has been tremendous this season in Sinsheim and was linked to Bayern Munich earlier this season as many fans clamored for the Croatian to move to Bavarian just to be the back-up to Lewandowski.
At 29-years-old and standing 5’10” (1.78 meters), while weighing in at 154 pounds (70 kilograms), Kramaric is the smallest of the potential options. While extremely strong for his size, Kramaric would have to adapt to the expectations of the position at Bayern Munich. Kramaric, though, is already a proven commodity and a lethal scoring option. By the time Lewandowski is ready to move on or retire, however, Kramaric would only be a “bridge” option to keep the seat warm at striker until a younger prospect was ready to start.
The Apprentice: Fiete Arp, Bayern Munich II
Oh man...has the #ArpTrain derailed the past couple of seasons. While Arp was ravaged by injuries and illnesses in 2019/2020, this season has not been much better of an experience for the 21-year-old.
At 6’0” (1.82 meters) and 175 pounds (79 kilograms), Arp is a close match for Lewandowski in stature. In addition, Arp has clearly worked on his physique and building his strength this season as he appears more sturdy and stronger on the pitch. That said, the youngster has not been able to make things happen consistently for Bayern Munich II. Granted, there are a lot of reasons for that (rapid roster turnover, constant lineup shifting, little-to-no team consistency from game-to-game), but the former Hamburger SV man has to be better.
The one silver-lining that any rider on the #ArpTrain can take out of this is that Lewandowski himself at 21 had just made the jump from Ekstraklasa to Borussia Dortmund and was still in the process of discovering himself as a player.
While he might still have a long way to go, there is at least some hope that Arp can put it all together and live up to his once-lofty potential.
Sure, we could have mentioned quite a few more strikers within the league, but what fun would that be for all of you? Drop your choice in the comments below.