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BFW Opinion: Who wins in the case of Robert Lewandowski vs the Board of Bayern Munich?

It is slowly beginning to dawn on me that Robert Lewandowski might never wear a Bayern Munich jersey again; we share our opinions about the saga and look at Lewa’s legacy at Bayern.

Robert Lewandowski At The Polish National Team Press Conference
Robert Lewandowski pondering his future
Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In the court of public (BFW Writers) opinion, in light of Robert Lewandowski’s latest statement, we discuss whether the Polish striker is right to be aggrieved with the Bayern Munich board; we also discuss what his departure might mean for his legacy at the club.

Samrin

The winner for me in this case is Robert Lewandowski. My feelings about him have not been a secret down the years — I have never really thought he cared about Bayern on a personal level. I don’t think that makes him an unfaithful player; he is a quintessential professional as we have witnessed over the years. Happy or unhappy, he has been professional and done the job. I did not like his flirtations with Real Madrid down the years but I do think he fell in love with Bayern under Hansi Flick only to be reminded of what getting emotionally involved can do to you when the club pursued Erling Haaland.

There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of Haaland per se; however, Lewandowski has earned the status of a legend at the club and should have been approached first. The club could have told him their plans, perhaps that Haaland was not a replacement but a second striker in a 4-4-2 system. If Haaland was indeed being sought to replace Lewa, Bayern is simply in the wrong here, because Lewa has much to give still, like Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

The board has made expensive errors time and again. Lewandowski is set to be in a long line of players to leave from the 2020 team which conquered the world. Although Lewa wanted to leave previously, this time, the fault, in my view, falls solely on the board.

As for his legacy, I have seen legendary players walk out under cloudy, if not acrimonious, circumstances (Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lucio, Michael Ballack etc.). Nevertheless, their status as Bayern legends stands. They are invited back to trophy presentations and the club they represented. They might not have kissed the badge but they are part of Bayern’s history.

In some senses, Lewa stands alone; he holds multiple Bayern records on his own. While I do not think he eclipses Gerd Müller, despite breaking his single-season record for goals scored, I think he stands in the top five best strikers to represent Bayern (Uli Hoeness was a forward player too, lest we forget). The exit is acrimonious. With time, it will be forgotten or, at least, it will sting less. And we will remember that the Pole who was the world’s best player at one point played for Bayern Munich, the magical Pole who scored five goals in nine minutes.


CSmith

In reality, no one wins this one, as everyone comes out a loser, from Lewandowski to the club, to — especially — the fans.

But...if I had to pick one here, it would be Lewandowski.

Through all of this, Lewandowski has become the victim (and probably rightfully so). The Poland international and his agent have raised doubts about the club’s communication with its star player. When (or even if) a contract proposal was first delivered, and reinforced the newly common theme that the club might not fully appreciate its players.

In the end, Oliver Kahn, Herbert Hainer, and Hasan “Brazzo” Salihamidzic forgot the most essential part of their jobs: They are dealing with real people. No Ivy League seminar, background in big business, or ability to make a good signing every now and again makes up for a lack of communication and relationship building.

What we have seen with Lewandowski, Hansi Flick, Niklas Süle, and even Serge Gnabry is the same thing: A lack of communication and a “my way or the highway” attitude about the club that does not work in the modern game.

Ultimately, Bayern Munich might not need to change who it is...but it certainly needs to evolve.


RLD

In the short term I agree with Chuck, everybody loses. The club loses a good player, and Lewandowski moves away from a situation that is built around his success, and looks like a whiner with his public statements about not feeling appreciated or some such.

Almost every member of Bayern’s management have gone out of their way in the last several months to say they think Robert is the best thing since sliced bread and they want to extend him for some period. Lewy and his team have decided to go public with some pretty petulant statements and mud-slinging, which don’t do anyone much good.

It is also difficult to see why Lewandowski wants to move to Barcelona. They are not likely to deliver much hardware over the next three or so seasons he may play there, certainly not at the Champions’ League level, or even in the league. There might be monetary reasons to want to make the move, but not sporting ones. I am simply not buying into the “not feeling appreciated” narrative the tabloids seem to like. Lewy has always come across as a focused, sophisticated professional, and if the club talking to younger strikers about a potential future at Bayern has upset the 33 year old, it would demonstrate a stunning level of insecurity.

In the long term, I don’t think the current brouhaha will matter to the club or Robert’s legacy in the slightest. The club will still have the titles the great striker helped deliver, and his breathtaking scoring achievements won’t drop off the books because he left in a controversial fashion. These transfer sagas remind me a great deal of teenage romances: at the time, they seem like the end of the world, but a few years later they are just a normal part of growing up.


Ineednoname

The question is phrased a little awkwardly, but I suppose it’s asking who’s responsible for the entire Lewandowski situation going sideways. In that sense, the board are the losers.

Let’s review what we know, shall we? First of all, we KNOW that Bayern Munich did not start talks with Robert Lewandowski until late into the season, possibly not before May. Oliver Kahn confirmed as late as March that talks with the player were not yet scheduled, and media reports as late as May indicated that no offer was made to the player.

Honestly, that alone is damning enough. If you’re Lewandowski, how do you interpret that? Then there’s the issue of Erling Haaland. Bayern Munich tried to sign the Norwegian until the very last day, and the secret was poorly kept. Whenever the media interviewed a Bayern exec about Haaland, they just couldn’t stop themselves from saying how great a player he was. It was only after the Manchester City transfer was finalized that the did change their tone, saying that Robert Lewandowski was the club’s only option at striker. The message was loud and clear — Lewandowski was Bayern’s plan B.

If this was a calculated series of moves to drive the player out of the club, it couldn’t have been better executed. But that’s obviously not what it was, because it’s clear that the board has no idea what to do if Lewandowski actually leaves. No replacements have been lined up, while talks with Barcelona are gridlocked. The board have squandered any goodwill they had with the player, which makes it impossible to have an amicable solution like the Thiago transfer.

At this point, their only saving grace is the fact that Robert Lewandowski is a consummate professional, and will probably keep scoring goals even if he’s kept at Bayern against his will. That gives the board at least some leverage in talks. If he decides to go on strike, or even down tools like, say, Harry Kane did at Spurs last season, then the whole plan blows up spectacularly. You’d effectively lose the one remaining year of Lewy’s contract PLUS the transfer fee you’d get from selling him.

Let’s hope that doesn’t come to pass. However, this was the most amateurish handling of a contract negotiation I’ve ever seen at Bayern. Heads should roll because of this.


So, there you have it. Who do you think wins this case? Let us know your thoughts and, as always, thank you for reading!