Following Bayern Munich’s 2-0 Super Cup defeat to rivals Borussia Dortmund on Friday, striker Robert Lewandowski once again made a plea for the club’s bosses to add to the Bavarian’s squad ahead of their Bundesliga title defence. Does the talismanic goal scorer have a point?
Bayern succumbed to a defeat at the Signal Iduna Park in the season opener, and their key goal scorer took the opportunity post-match to once again highlight a potential weakness in the overall depth of the squad going into the new campaign.
”Today was exactly the right time when you could see what happens when we only have a certain number of professional players” the Polish striker said.
“The young players, who were on the bench, have potential- that’s true. But sometimes you simply need players on the bench, who can help straight away, or who can give the team fresh impulse.”
Bayern’s first XI was missing Serge Gnabry and Javi Martinez through injury, while new €80 million signing Lucas Hernandez was also absent as he recovered from an operation. That said, their bench looked rather sparse.
Youngsters Alphonso Davies and Fiete Arp were there as well as prospects Sarpreet Singh and Ryan Johansson. Beyond that they had a third-choice goalkeeper in Ron-Thorben Hoffmann, with the only real experience provided by Renato Sanches, Benjamin Pavard, and Sven Ulreich.
So is Lewandowski justified in his concern that the Bayern squad just isn’t deep enough to challenge both domestically and in Europe? Most clubs would laugh at the assertion, looking at the riches available to trainer Niko Kovac, but there is some substance in Lewandowski’s complaint.
Defensively Bayern look well covered following the arrivals of Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, as well as Jerome Boateng’s turnaround in fortunes. The attacking third however lacks for depth following the departures of Franck Ribéry, Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez.
God forbid anything untoward happen to Lewandowski as the only recognised back-up is Fiete Arp- a prospect, but still with a long way to go to lead the Bayern attack.
It is in the three behind the striker in Niko Kovac’s 4-2-3-1 formation where the gaps are, especially when you consider the injury histories of both Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry. The Leroy Sane link is becoming louder as we approach the transfer deadline, and many Bayern fans are already looking forward to welcoming him to the Allianz Arena. Clearly a big statement of intent and some way to appeasing Lewandowski’s concern, but is it enough?
One further solution would be to ‘free’ Thiago from the number 6 position (even though he excels there too), push him forward into the number 8 role (where he can create), and sign a quality replacement. Bayern reportedly already have Espanyol defensive midfielder Marc Roca under serious consideration, but the €40 million transfer fee is causing Messrs Hoeness and Rummenigge to balk.
Some reports claim Bayern offered €18 million back in July, but it could well be that they are forced into a higher offer if they are to get their man.
With Borussia Dortmund having seriously strengthened their squad and showing they have the beating of Bayern in the Super Cup, the pressure is on Bayern to keep pace in the Bundesliga, as well as fulfilling their ambitions to keep ace in the Champions League.
Will Lewandowski’s appeals be answered?
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