In particular, Mintzlaff was asked if he had any personal wishes regarding the at the time still pending Robert Lewandowski transfer to FC Barcelona. Would the Leipzig man be happy for Bayern’s basta to crumble?
Mintzlaff kept it short, sweet, and crafted to be as safe as possible. “FC Bayern is doing an excellent job at transfers and will generally remain the measure of all things.”
Of course, we now know that the Bayern bosses’ hardline stance earlier in the summer did soften, and the Rekordmeister has now sanctioned a move away for their star striker. However, Mintzlaff has ample reason to remain deferential and on the alert. Bayern have already brought in a new superstar (or two? — counting Juventus man Matthijs De Ligt) and nobody can be quite sure when they’ll be done throwing weight around in this transfer window.
Leipzig have had a fast rise through the German ranks, and last season lapped the entire field in the Rückrunde — finishing with 36 points from the second half, most in the league. It’s not only Borussia Dortmund, eternal second-place challengers, who are feeling the nipping at their heels. Bayern themselves were a lackluster fourth (34 points) in the second half, despite being crowned champions.
Yet as ever, across the full balance of the season, it was the Bavarians who easily prevailed. The problem with challengers has been keeping it up through tides high and low. Can Leipzig change that?
Mintzlaff was diplomatic: “So far we have not had the consistency for this, it has to do with quality, experience and consistent and constant will. The fact that Bayern win games in the 92nd minute isn’t the proverbial Bayern dizzy spell, it’s a result of a successful mentality. So it takes many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to leave them behind. I don’t know if we’re there now, or if we’ll be there in two, four or ten years.”
That’s the spirit? Or perhaps it’s a hungry and envious rival that simply knows it is not yet their turn to talk — though as ever, they’re lying in wait and waiting for the chance to strike.