Bayern left with Lewandowski-sized void

July 27, 2022 0 Comments

 ,Bundesliga giant faces huge task to find new goal source as prolific Polish striker closes on Barcelona switch,The departure of Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona leaves Bayern Munich with the unenviable task of finding a replacement for the Bundesliga’s most prolific contemporary striker after his relationship with the club turned sour.,Following eight glorious years in Munich, winning the Bundesliga each season and lifting the Champions League trophy in 2020, Lewandowski is bidding farewell to the Bavarian giant.,On Saturday, Bayern confirmed that it had reached “a verbal agreement” for the transfer of the Poland striker to Barcelona, for a reported fee of 50 million euros ($50.4m).,”It’s good for both sides that we have clarity,” Bayern president Herbert Hainer said on the club’s Twitter account. “Robert is a very deserving player, he has won everything with us. We are incredibly grateful to him.”,The forward turns 34 in August, yet Lewandowski is showing no signs of slowing down and now embarks on a fresh challenge to make as much impact on Spain’s La Liga as he did in the Bundesliga.,He scored 35 times last season in Germany’s top flight, after breaking the single-season scoring record in the previous campaign with 41 Bundesliga goals, snatching a record that stood for 49 years from another Bayern great, Gerd Mueller.,The Polish striker quits Germany’s top flight having scored 312 goals in 383 Bundesliga games for Bayern and Borussia Dortmund.,Only Germany legend Mueller, who scored 365 goals for Bayern in 427 Bundesliga games during the 1960s and 1970s, netted more.,But since Lewandowski won FIFA’s best male player award for the second year running in January, his relationship with Bayern has progressively unraveled.,Breakdown,With Lewandowski’s contract expiring in 2023, Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic insisted at the start of the year that the forward was central to the club’s plans. Yet when a reporter relayed that message in February, Lewandowski dropped the first hint that communications had broken down. “I’m hearing that for the first time,” he said.,As reports emerged that Barcelona was keen on the striker, Salihamidzic and Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn could only insist Lewandowski would be held to his contract.,He finished last season banging in goals for Bayern, earning the trophy as the Bundesliga’s top scorer for the fifth straight year.,Despite winning a 10th straight Bundesliga title last season, there was a lingering air of disappointment after Bayern’s shock Champions League exit to Villarreal.,A quarterfinal defeat in Spain and draw at home showed how far Bayern currently is from the summit of European soccer, fueling Lewandowski’s desire to leave.,As tensions simmered between the player and club, head coach Julian Nagelsmann admitted he wanted the matter resolved to plan for next season.,The prolific poacher will not be easy to replace.,His 55 goals in all competitions in the 2019-20 campaign were key to Bayern winning the treble, as Lewandowski became the first player to be top scorer in the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup competitions in a single season.,Five goals, nine minutes,He has made a career out of stunning scoring feats.,In 2015, he needed just under nine electrifying minutes off the bench to score five goals, leading the charge as Bayern roared back from a goal down against Wolfsburg to dish out a 5-1 thrashing.,Two years earlier, Lewandowski scored four goals for Dortmund in the 2013 CL semifinal first leg against Real Madrid, helping his former club into the final, where it was beaten by Bayern at Wembley.,Lewandowski was spotted as a raw 21-year-old playing for Polish club Lech Poznan, where he scored 41 goals in 82 games, and joined Dortmund in 2010.,He made his breakthrough under Jurgen Klopp, helping Dortmund win back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.,Lewandowski put himself firmly on Bayern’s radar with a hat-trick against the club as Dortmund romped to a 5-2 win in the 2012 German Cup final.,Two years later, Bayern signed him on a free transfer and, thanks largely to Lewandowski’s ruthlessness in front of goal, the Bavarian giant has thoroughly dominated the German game.,His departure to Spain is perhaps the biggest threat to Bayern’s monopoly of Germany’s top flight with the hunt for a new star striker now on.,AFP