October 23, 2017

The Game I Will Never Forget (Lewandowski’s Five Against Wolfsburg)

As I woke up this morning, before another busy day of studying, I decided to check my Facebook and what popped up on my notifications reminded me of a historic moment. It was a Facebook post I wrote when Robert Lewandowski scored 5 goals in 9 minutes.

It has already been two years. Wow! I remember it like it was yesterday. Tuesday September 22, 2015. I was on vacation and had plenty of time for Football! Luckily it was an ‘Englishe Woche’ and there was a cracking match on TV. Bayern Munich vs Wolfsburg!

It was Match Day 5 of the 2015-16 Bundesliga season, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were at the top of the table. Under the guidance of then new boss Thomas Tuchel, BVB swept aside their opponents with relative ease (much like they are doing now under Peter Bosz). Wins against Gladbach, Ingolstadt, Hertha Berlin and Bayer Leverkusen had everyone excited at the possibility of BVB challenging for the league once again after the horror show of the previous season.

What made that game even more exciting was that Wolfsburg were not the inconsistent, fragile team they are now. Having won the DFB Pokal in 2015 and having beaten Bayern both in the Super Cup and in their last league match unofficially known as ‘The Kevin De Bruyne Show’ they went in to that match with palpable confidence. But there was no De Bruyne to put on another scintillating display and neither was his partner in crime Ivan Perisic, who both left during the summer transfer window to Manchester City and Inter Milan respectively. But that didn’t dampen my excitement. I spent that day looking at my watch anxious for the game to start.

And as the game nears its start there was a surprise in the starting line up. Pep Guardiola has left striker Robert Lewandowski on the bench. It was hard to fathom what made the Spanish manager leave his key man out of the starting eleven, the man who saved them in their match against Hoffenheim with a last-minute goal and put on a great display in the other games.

The game kicked off! Bayern looked unsure. Despite seeing most of the ball, the Bavarians were unable to break down Wolfsburg’s organized back line. They were also susceptible to counter attacks and before long they paid the price as Daniel Caligiuri scored a wonderful volley to put the Wolves ahead.

I was off my couch punching the air. What a goal! This really is Dortmund’s year, I thought to myself. Bayern will lose this game…. They are not as unbeatable as everyone thinks… lots of thoughts and wishes raced in my head because of that goal. To put it in simple terms ‘I got carried away’. And why shouldn’t I? The game I was watching proved my point.

 The game went on and more of the same kept happening. Bayern with the ball moving forward, unable to penetrate their opponents and with a high line defending leaving themselves exposed. In order to halt one of the counter attacks Manuel Neuer went on one of his ‘adventures’. He ran to the center circle to sweep the ball away but it didn’t came off as did countless times before and  Josuha Guilavogui had a chance to put his team 2-0 up from a long shot into an empty goal. He took the shot wonderfully! I got up again as I watched the goal sailing toward goal with wide open eyes but instead of going in the back of the net the ball hit the post and went out. I was gutted!

During half time I was incredibly impressed by Wolfsburg’s first half display and took to twitter to express that. But I also mentioned Bayern still has another weapon. A part of me knew Lewy would be able to change the match albeit not in the manner he actually did.

On comes the Polish striker! And the rest as they say was History! Literally, it was HISTORY! One of, if not the most unbelievable things I have ever seen in football. The man scored 5 goals in 9 minutes! Crazy! (There was this funny tweet I saw that said it would have taken some players 9 minutes to celebrate goals like the ones Lewy scored.) What a player!

I was speechless! The entire world was. Pep on the sidelines could only put his hands on his head, Arjen Robben could only clap in amazement from the stands and the match commentator Phil Bonny was lost for words, especially for the 5thgoal.

“You just can’t do it! You just cannot be that good! That is an amazing goal!”

This the unedited version of those 9 minutes:

So much for Bayern being unbeatable! So much for my over the top optimism. BVB drew away to Hoffenheim the next day and dropped 2 points against Darmstadt a couple of days later before receiving the ‘Lewandowski treatment’ a week later by losing 5-1.

Those 9 minutes did many things than just host a Guinness world record for fastest goals. Those 9 minutes essentially ended the title race, made Dante’s career at Wolfsburg numbered, sent a big message to the race of the Bundesliga and put Lewandowski in the same bracket as the greatest strikers in the world.

The two teams will meet today. I won’t hold my breath for a Wolfsburg win but I’m still excited to see what unfolds on the 2 year anniversary of that magical football night, the game I will never forget!

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Brook Genene lives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he remains very passionate about German football and a Borussia Dortmund supporter. He loves to write and talk about football, with particular interest in discussing emerging young talents. "Lukasz Piszczek and Ricardo Rodriguez are my type of players." Follow @brookge

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