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Weekend Warm-up: Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has a huge decision to make; Throwing it back to Stroke 9; What’s going on with Tanguy Nianzou; Bundesliga predictions; and MORE!

Sunday games...ugh.

1. FC Köln v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images

Watching the FC Bayern — Behind the Legend documentary has taught me a few things:

1 — It is so easy to see why so many Bayern Munich players would run through a wall for Hansi Flick.

2 — Thomas Müller is just as much a character as we all think he is.

3 — There was absolutely awkwardness between Flick and sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic.

4 — Robert Lewandowski’s sometimes steely exterior is like the shell of an M&M. It’s sort of hard, but that is not really similar to what is underneath.

What burst through the screen was not only that Lewandowski is insanely driven (partly from pain, partly from sheer will, partly from an unrelenting desire to be the best), but that he is not the high maintenance figure that can sometimes come across with his on-pitch persona.

1. FC Köln v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga
Robert Lewandowski will have to make some decisions on his future in the coming weeks.
Photo by Alexander Scheuber/Getty Images

There have been times where Lewandowski has come across poorly through stories in the media or if fans read too much into his gestures on the pitch, but Lewandowski’s personality within the documentary was humble, dedicated, and pretty much low key.

How much longer he wants to continue bringing his own special brand of desire to Bavaria could soon be decided.

Lewandowski’s contract ends in 2023 and at 33-years-old, both he and the club have a difficult decision to make. Does Lewandowski want to take this last opportunity to try and ply his trade at a different club to give himself that one last major challenge (and a huge pay day) for his career? Or does Lewandowski want to take a lesser contract (both in years and in pay) to stay with Bayern Munich where he still a fantastic opportunity to chase multiple trophies every season and some legendary records.

Bayern Munich is also in a bit of an awkward situation. The club has the best striker in the world and could also be within reach of getting his natural successor, Erling Haaland. The immediate futures of Haaland and Lewandowski are intertwined in such a way that should the Pole decide to leave, the Bavarians would undoubtedly put on the full court press to land Haaland.

While we saw Lewandowski flirt with Real Madrid in 2018, this time the situation feels different. The Polish Hitman doesn’t feel or look bitter. There are not stories breaking every day detailing his frustration with his situation at Bayern Munich. Right now, things have been radio silent from Lewandowski and his camp.

The only reads that fans are getting into his thoughts are how he conducts himself on the pitch, his public interviews, and how he came across on-screen during the documentary.

That person — the one on screen — is about as likable as one can be, but he is going to have to make a choice: Play out the remaining years of his career with a little less money and a lot more of a chance for legendary status or…take one last run at maximizing what he can earn in his career.

There are no wrong solutions for Lewandowski, but whatever he decides will send a ripple through Bayern Munich’s plans for the future. The pragmatic view of roster planning say to sell early rather than late, but this is a player who could be a unicorn among a sea of Shetland ponies (no offense Shetland ponies).

With a decision expected in the coming weeks, fans should appreciate everything that Lewandowski brings to the table; just in case these are his last months with the club.


Bavarian Podcast Works: Weekend Warm-up Podcast Season 1, Episode 34

It was a big week in the world of Bayern Munich as Robert Lewandowski received a big honor and we received contract news on Serge Gnabry and sporting director Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic — along with a potential move for Denis Zakaria.

This is what we have on tap for this episode:

  • Why Lewandowski deserved better from Lionel Messi.
  • The latest on a potential contract extension for Gnabry.
  • Somewhat begrudgingly giving Brazzo respect and acknowledging he deserves a contract extension (even if he royally botched the Hansi Flick ordeal last season).
  • The potential transfer of Zakaria, what it might cost, when it could happen, and who might be affected on the roster.
  • How far along I am in with the Bayern documentary and where I stand on the other shows I’m watching.

Nianzou’s status is...confusing

Tanguy Nianzou came to Bayern Munch as a can’t miss, heralded prospect who could float between center-back and the defensive midfield. The youngster’s skill level and versatility made him a unique fit on the roster.

The Frenchman’s subsequent seasons, however, have not really shown much of the potential we heard so much about.

Nianzou missed 34 games (totaling 158 days of down time) last season, but during this campaign, Nianzou has been healthy and has only missed two games (14 days total) with a should injury and COVID-19. Nianzou has played 444 minutes in 14 games so far and has been...okay. With the recent news that Bayern Munch was getting serious about a pursuit of Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria to fill the same exact role, it is safe to ask exactly what the club thinks of the former Paris Saint-Germain youth player at this point.

The club’s core of defenders are all relatively young and even with a little turnover, Nianzou’s prospects for a starting role do not look great. Has Bayern Munich cooled on its plans for Nianzou or is this just another case of a young player not quite being ready to break through the club’s strong, veteran lineup?

At just 19-years-old, Nianzou still has plenty of time to right the ship and get his career going, but patience is not something granted to every prospect in football. Moreover, Nianzou’s own patience could be getting tested as well.


Song of the Week: “Kick Some Ass” by Stroke 9

Stroke 9 formed in late 1989, but it would be in the early aughts when the band achieved its biggest commercial success. Known mostly for its single, “Little Black Backpack” (which is awesome), the band also produced “Kick Some Ass”, which appeared on the soundtrack for Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back — which was thought to be the end of the View Askew-niverse. We’d late find out the Smith would produce more moves with that core of characters, but I digress.

“Kick Some Ass” came out in 2001 is just a lot of fun. When I was in my mid 20’s, I was grinding away at a Dutch publishing/subscription services company in New Jersey and used to listed to this pretty frequently while I drove to work and was ultimately trying to figure out exactly what I was doing with my life.

Anyway, Stroke 9 is still around and you should check them out — at a minimum the two songs I referenced above. Here is “Kick Some Ass”...enjoy it (the video is pretty great):

Ah hell, I’ll save you the click...here is “Little Black Backpack”:


Bavarian Podcast Works: Preview Show — Bayern Munich vs. Hertha Berlin

With no DFB-Pokal to worry about, Bayern Munich had the opportunity to get rested and healthy this week, which should there are plenty of bad things in store this weekend for Hertha Berlin.

Die Alte Dame is not exactly lighting the world on fire and, truthfully, it is tough to find many reasons that Hertha Berlin would be able to slow down Bayern Munich.

This is what we have on tape for this episode:

  • A look at where each team sits within the Bundesliga table.
  • The legitimate threat that Hertha Berlin could end up in a fight for its first flight life.
  • A look at who is in and who is out for Bayern Munich.
  • What Julian Nagelsmann’s starting XI selections on the backline and in the central midfield might tell us about futures of players like Niklas Süle, Marcel Sabitzer, and Corentin Tolisso.
  • A prediction on the match.

Predictions

Bayern Munich seems to be back (relatively) healthy and back on track, while Hertha Berlin is a bit of a mess. This one should not be close and the prediction here is that the Bavarians take care of business.

Prediction: Hertha Berlin 0-4 Bayern Munich

Other Bundesliga predictions include:

  • Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 Arminia Bielefeld
  • Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-2 Union Berlin
  • Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 FC Augsburg
  • SC Freiburg 2-1 VfB Stuttgart
  • SpVgg Greuther Fürth 0-2 Mainz 05
  • Hoffenheim 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
  • VfL Bochum 1-3 FC Köln
  • RB Leipzig 2-1 Wolfsburg

Prediction Records

Last week was not great by any means, let’s be clear. At least it ended up on the positive side.

Last Bundesliga Match Day record: 5-4

Overall Bundesliga record: 88-82

DFB-Pokal record: 1-1

DFL-Supercup record: 1-0

Champions League record: 6-0

Overall record: 96-83