Crazy flood of opportunities against Bayern: Lewandowski's explosive return "with heart"

When your feet don't obey: Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world, but he misses a number of chances against his former club from Munich.

Crazy flood of opportunities against Bayern: Lewandowski's explosive return "with heart"

When your feet don't obey: Robert Lewandowski is one of the best strikers in the world, but he misses a number of chances against his former club from Munich. His return is explosive because of the change of theater - but the Bayern fans and Hasan Salihamidžić surprise.

Professionals and amateur kickers alike know this feeling. The latter is certainly far better. Sometimes, often in the most annoying moments, the ball just won't obey. He doesn't do what the kicker asks of him. What he may even ask him in his mind. That's how world footballers sometimes feel, very rarely, probably. In the 0: 2 of his FC Barcelona in Munich, it is Robert Lewandowski, who simply does not read the ball from his foot. No matter how sensitively, creatively or powerfully the goalscorer handles the game equipment - the strong-playing Pole does not manage to score a goal despite the best opportunities on his explosive return to FC Bayern.

After a true soap opera, Lewandowski will move to FC Barcelona in the summer. So now the first, early reunion with his former teammates. It's an explosive return, that much is clear before the game. The Transfertheater is over, but far from forgotten. How much has broken in the 34-year-old's relationship with the fans and his former club?

The Catalan team trotted onto the pitch with Lewandowski shortly after the Munich team. The obligatory whistles follow first. But the Pole confidently raises his arms and claps in the direction of every curve - and lo and behold: kind applause, of course not more effusive, suppresses the whistles. Shortly thereafter, the stadium announcer thanked the centre-forward for the many goals and again more positive than negative reactions followed, especially from the south curve. The reading of the team line-up is similar.

It's a fair action from both sides, so the Pole didn't ruin everything with his soap opera. But that was it with the emotions. There are neither tears nor "real" love and affection nor hate. That fits somehow: The often unapproachable Lewandowski never made it to an absolute crowd favorite à la Franck Ribéry or a legend like Bastian Schweinsteiger at FC Bayern.

The return of the Pole will then be much more emotional in terms of sport. Because the ball didn't obey him for once, because he left a big chance for three games, Lewandowski was probably annoyed that evening. The striker initiates the first big chance twice: he counterattacks on the right with the other Barça newcomer Raphinha. When the Brazilian loses the ball, the Pole boldly follows up, regains the ball and Pedri then fails in the middle only thanks to the brilliantly reacting Manuel Neuer (9th).

Shortly thereafter, Lewandowski has his first chance to head the ball, but it clearly goes wrong. In the 14th minute, Neuer hits a mega buck, who plays a pass directly into his ex-colleague's feet. But he is just pushed aside by Dayot Upamecano and cannot finish. There was more in it. Lewandowski shakes his head, luck for Bayern.

The Pole is right in the game and shows why he is so dangerous and sought after. Lewandowski has scored an unbelievable 344 goals in 375 competitive games for Bayern, and he has perhaps had the greatest share in numerous titles. His start in Barcelona could hardly have gone better. The world footballer also shows in Spain why he was the Bundesliga's top scorer in modern times and is still one of the most complete strikers on the planet. In five league games, the Pole has scored six goals and provided two assists. In the first Champions League game against Viktoria Pilsen, he scored a hat-trick and has scored in every game for almost a month. At Barcelona he only needs 52 minutes for a goal.

He almost only needs 18 against Bayern. Ousmane Dembélé leaves the entire Bayern midfield behind in a counterattack. Lewandowski indicates to him to pass out to the left. The ball comes from there via Pedri back to the center forward, who shakes off Upamecano, but hits the ball freely in front of Neuer from eleven meters with his instep over the box. The next high-carat. Again no goal. Incomprehensible! The Pole means well with his former club.

Bayern President Herbert Hainer joked after the game that Lewandowski still has "a heart for Bayern" because he missed so many chances. "Of course it was a joke," Neuer clarified shortly afterwards. The goalkeeper believes it was "an emotional game" for the striker and that he "has big plans". "But of course we also know him, the defense and I as the goalkeeper. Luck was on our side today."

In fact, Munich have a lot of fortune in the first 45 minutes. In the 21st minute it's Lewandowski again with the next big thing. On a cross from the left, he easily beats Hernández and gets the header relatively easily. The newcomer who stepped in reacted brilliantly. It's actually unbelievable that the Pole doesn't use such opportunities. Is he nervous about his return? "I just spoke to Lewandowski briefly," says Bayern's CEO Oliver Kahn afterwards, adding in surprise and with a laugh. "He had really big chances today and missed them."

"You have to say clearly and unequivocally: He is also performing outstandingly at Barcelona - for the third time in a row," praised Karl-Heinz-Rummenigge in an interview with "tz" before the game. But the Kahn predecessor can't help but give the Pole a little dig before the game. When asked about the best transfers in the club's history, Rummenigge replied: "Ribéry, Robben, Neuer, Lewandowski - in that order."

Coach Xavi praises his striker in the highest tones. "He gives us a lot of options up front in attack. His understanding of the game is fantastic," said the Spaniard at the press conference before the duel with Bayern. "He's a leader on the pitch." The Pole is fit and rested for the game against his old club: Xavi only used him in the last half hour in the league against Cádiz, but it was enough for the 2-0 in the 4-0 win.

Lewandowski himself does not speak to the media before the game. He wants to give his answers on the pitch. But his return turns into a tragic evening for him. In the 26th minute, the world footballer cleverly dropped a pass from Raphinha directly back to the Brazilian, who shot just wide to the right. Shortly thereafter, the strong Pedri runs into the penalty area and is not attacked. He can calmly pass to Lewandowski, who, however, takes too long to accept a few meters before Neuer and is blocked by Noussair Mazraoui. If he had locked it straight away, it would probably have rung. Next mega chance, no goal again! What's going on here?

But even without a goal, Lewandowski creates exactly the danger in the center of the penalty area that the Munich team lacks at this point. FC Bayern no longer has a world-class centre-forward, although this type of player has experienced a renaissance in recent years and it is mainly thanks to him (in person: Karim Benzema) that Real Madrid won the title in the premier class. Even the star coach Pep Guardiola, who always relies on small, nimble, noble technicians, now has Erling Haaland.

So has the system without a real centre-forward gone out of fashion now that Bayern are trying it out for the first time? Well, the Munich team is even more variable on the offensive than before, although there are often problems with the conclusion. The fluid and unbelievably fast attack produced five players with two or more goals in the first Bundesliga matchdays. The strong second half, especially the 2-0 creatively played out via Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sané, proves the Munich team right that evening.

It's a new game for Lewandowski in the second half. Suddenly he is defensively in the center of the action. At 0: 1 he misses Joshua Kimmich's corner so that Hernández can head in behind him. Then Barcelona delivered another brilliant moment that wasn't rewarded: Pedri dribbled out two Bayern players and placed them on Lewandowski, who immediately freed his team-mate perfectly. Pedri, however, lobs far too lightly on the outside of the post in front of Neuer.

Shortly before the end, Lewandowski is felled again after a dribble on the right corner of the penalty area. He personally prepares the ball for the free kick from a dangerous position. A shrill whistle follows, with which the fans absolutely want to prevent their ex-scorer from scoring a goal. It works, the free kick stays halfway up and harmlessly stuck in the wall. It shouldn't be that evening for the world footballer.

final whistle Lewandowski claps his hands and hugs his ex-colleagues. A quick chat here and there, that was it. A little later he comes out of the catacombs joking with sports director Hasan Salihamidžić. A surprising sight, after all, both of them didn't call each other the nicest words after the mud fight. All the camera teams present briefly chase the scorer to the team bus, but Lewandowski doesn't want to say anything. Why use your mouth when your feet don't obey all evening?

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