November 19, 2017

Lewandowski Stirs the Pot at Bayern

Bayern’s weekend defeat to Hoffenheim, while a blow, was not the end of the world. No drama, it’s just a blip, not worth getting your Lederhosen in a twist about, especially after Tuesday’s Champions League win over Anderlecht –not a textbook Bayern performance, but a decent if expected win. But all is seemingly not well at the Sabener Strasse and dirty washing is starting to be aired in public.

Striker Robert Lewandowski has been openly critical of Bayern’s transfer policy in an interview and kicked up a hornets nest at the Rekordmeister with club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and club legend Stefan Effenberg hitting out at the Polish attacker.

Speaking to the German magazine der Spiegel last week, Lewandowski aired his concern that the German champions were being left behind in the current transfer market.

“Bayern have to think something up and be more creative if the club wants to attract a world-class player to Munich,” he said.

“If you want to play on the front foot, you need the quality players.  To date, Bayern has never paid more than around 40 million euros for a player,” he added

“In international football, that has long since been a figure which is only average, rather than at the top.  Paris has bought up a world-class squad, whether or not that will become a world-class team, we will have to wait and see”.

“Bayern Munich, as a team, has experienced a lot together, but football is pure capitalism, everyone wants to make money in this sector.”

So the player has spoken his mind, but that’s something that hasn’t exactly gone down well with the powers that be with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge himself criticising Lewandowski’s comments.

“It would be a shame if he sees things that way,” Rummenigge told Bild. “Loyalty is in the Bayern DNA and important to our fans.

“We’ve had a serious and successful philosophy for a long time and enjoyed great success with that. Rather than Lewandowski, I share the viewpoint of the Chancellor [Angela Merkel], who says we should regulate and reduce the amounts.

“Clearly Robert has been affected by the PSG transfers. Nevertheless, he is employed by us as a footballer and earns a lot of money. I regret his comments. Anybody who criticises the trainer, the club or his teammates will immediately be in trouble with me personally” Rummenigge added.

Tough words indeed from the Bayern boss and Lewandowski has also drawn criticism from former Bayern midfielder Steffan Effenberg (one all too familiar with controversy from his time with FC Hollywood).

Writing in a column for T-Online, Effenberg commented: “On the one hand, he [Lewandowski] attacks the philosophy of the club. [President] Uli Hoeness has already said several times that they will not pay these transfer fees of €100 or €150 million.

“He also attacked his colleagues, who in his opinion apparently do not have the quality to win what he hunts: the Champions League.

“I myself said a few weeks ago that FC Bayern is in danger of losing touch with Paris or Barcelona if it is not willing to pay these sums.  But, Lewandowski is a player – in this role, he should consider such statements well and express them internally.”

So clearly a differing of opinion between the two camps, but Lewandowski’s critique is not the only trouble bubbling under the surface at the club. Thomas Müller, who made his 400th appearance for Bayern Munich at the weekend, while not personally making waves, is attracting attention over his lack of playing time and future role.

With an array of riches at his disposal, Carlo Ancelotti is finding it tricky to juggle all the aces in his pack and has already hit back at critics of his team selection.

“When a player doesn’t play, of course he is not happy,” Ancelotti said. “He complained a little bit after the game, this is absolutely normal. I prefer to have an unhappy player when he doesn’t play, than to have a player happy to stay on the bench.”

Bayern, being Bayern, it will be interesting to see how these little spats develop. Watch this space.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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