Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has not used a true “number 9” this season after Robert Lewandowski’s departure to FC Barcelona. Nevertheless, results have still been exceptional — further seen through a dominating 2-0 victory over Inter Milan. And now the Polish striker will be making his much-anticipated return to Munich, with the opening Champions League fixture between the two teams coming next Tuesday.
Lewandowski was as pure a “9” as they come, and his move to Spain was one of the transfer window’s biggest stories. So, too, was the mere prospect of a Bavarian reunion — made real with a Champions League draw that threw Bayern and Barça together in Group C.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Robert,” Nagelsmann said to the inevitable questions about it after the game, as captured by @iMiaSanMia. “It will be an exciting game, they started their league season very well.”
Barça are currently second in La Liga behind Real Madrid, but close on their rivals’ heels. In addition to three straight wins in the league, Lewandowski’s new club are coming off a 5-1 win over FC Viktoria Plzeň, which places them — for now — atop the group.
With eight seasons of history with the German Rekordmeister, there’s a lot of familiarity that goes both ways between player and club. Nagelsmann foresees the dynamic as a beneficial one for Bayern.
“We don’t need that much analysis against him,” he said evenly. “The guys know him very well.”
Familiarity, however, cuts both ways. Who will have the upper hand? We’ll find out next week.
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