Can Robert Lewandowski's play finally surpass his ego?
Background photo: Frabi, CC BY-SA 3.0
Bayern fans are more than happy to suffer Robert Lewandowski's prodigious ego. The former Borussia Dortmund striker became an indisputable figure for the Bavarians upon switching the Westfalenstadion for the Allianz Arena in 2014.
With more than 200 goals for die Roten, averaging 35 per season, he's provided the punctuation for seven Bundesliga titles and three DFB Pokals. While Lewi constantly demands more from himself and the Bayern squad, no one else does. That's why his early-season numbers are such a blessing. At the moment, no striker in Europe belongs in the same class as the Polish International.
Finishing as the top Bundesliga scorer is nothing new. Surpassing a 50- goal pace in the Bundesliga and more than 60 across all competitions is. In seven league games, he's struck 11 times. Add another three in the Champions League and one in the Pokal and he's on 15 goals in 11 games. That's Messi and Ronaldo territory.
The striker started the party with a brace in Bayern's Bundesliga curtain-raiser against Hertha Berlin, a 2-2 draw. He followed up with a hat-trick against Schalke 04 before making it a run of three successive games by netting once as the Rekordmeister demolished Mainz, 05-1.
Red Star Belgrade were his first European victims. The 31-year-old scored once in a convincing 3-0 victory over the Serbian club. He then bagged a brace while everyone was watching Serge Gnabry strike for four in the 7-2 rout of Spurs in North London.
Bayern appear rejuvenated this season. The Bavarians were sluggish in the first half of 2018/19 but are following on from their second-half surge. They top the Bundesliga and their Champions League group. Kovac's team is stronger, more confident. Everything is in place for Lewandowski to take his game to an even higher level.
Philippe Coutinho was lured from Barcelona on loan during the summer. Springtime in Paris are the time and place where people fall in love but the chemistry between the Brazilian and his new striker in Munich this fall rivals that tradition. What will happen when the two really get to know one another? The duo linked up superbly against Tottenham. In terms of service, the Polish striker's season is setting up like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The Spurs result sent a strong message across Europe. The Bavarians are real contenders for the European crown. If Lewi maintains his fine form throughout the tournament, he could steal the spotlight and shine brighter than he has in recent years. In Barcelona, Messi's season hasn't even started thanks to calf and thigh injuries. Ronaldo is putting up human numbers [8App/4G/1A] in Turin. Neymar is doing likewise in Paris. Ballon d'Or talk two months into a season is foolish but the honour is Lewandowski's to lose at this point.
As the striker enjoys a career start, Bayern need only take advantage. Nico Kovac's men are poised to go the distance. Despite their recent shocking defeat to Hoffenheim, the Bundesliga champions remain in good shape. Augsburg don't want to run into a hungry Robert Lewandowski when league play resumes in just under two weeks.