By George Rinaldi.
From Poznan to Borussia Dortmund, from Dortmund to Bayern Munich. Robert Lewandowski has signed for one of the finest football clubs in the world.
Holding aloft the Munich shirt earlier this month made it official. He is now a Bavarian. What can he do to aid the reigning champions of the Bundesliga though?
Lewandowski brings a prolific goalscoring record with him. Scoring is just in his nature. The striker picked up 20 goals over the course of his farewell season at Borussia Dortmund and topped the scorers chart in the Bundesliga, making it an emotional and fitting farewell. He is always there or there abouts amongst the top goalscorers, having placed second and third in the past two seasons scoring 22 and 23 goals respectively. He may have scored less than in previous seasons, but the forward notched up his tally of 20 from just 60 shots on target, averaging a goal every one in three accurate strikes – a stat bettered by only Mario Mandzukic.
The Pole is the trademark centre-forward every club craves in terms of his height, build and strength. He’s your Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris-St.Germain), your Mario Gomez (Fiorentina), your Robin Van Persie (Manchester United). If you feed Lewandowski, he will score. Former Dortmund teammates Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan provided the forward with eight assists over the course of the season which he gobbled up gratefully. He did return the favour, managing to get a very respectable seven assists which goes a long way to show his all-round ability.
The striking masterclass of Lewandowski was felt by 11 of the opposing 17 teams in the Bundesliga. Interestingly though, he failed to score past new club Bayern, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach, four of the five teams who finished in the top six. Having said this, it would be unfair to say he isn’t a ‘big game player’. This is the man who single-handedly put four past Real Madrid in May 2013.
Despite 2013/14 not being his best season in a Dortmund shirt, Lewandowski has already lifted the Bundesliga title. This is important for anyone joining a side full of champions and now world champions too. It took him a season to get into the swing of things at Dortmund after leaving Lech Poznan, but the Polish striker knows the league well now. He also had the summer off as Poland failed to qualify for the World Cup, so he should be fresh and ready to take the Bundesliga by storm again.
With confirmation of Lewandowski’s move to the ‘Deutsche Meisters’, Mario Mandzukic has taken the opportunity to move on to a new challenge at Atletico Madrid. The arrival of the Polish attacker nudged Mandzukic towards the exit, much like when the Croatian dislodged former Bayern teammate Mario Gomez from the starting line-up.
The league wasn’t a problem for Pep’s Bayern side last season but they struggled in major European matches. The Bavarians lacked that cutting edge, notably not managing to score past Real Madrid over 180 minutes. Lewandowski will bring more presence and offer something different than Mandzukic did, even though the Croatian is slightly taller. His eye for a goal and his experience in Europe will help Bayern re-establish themselves on the biggest stage.
Signing such a talent on a free transfer is a real coup for Bayern and one thing is for sure: we should expect goals galore at the Allianz Arena.