A lot of Bayern Munich’s success over the best part of the last decade has largely been down to the goalscoring prowess of Robert Lewandowski. Of course, given the strength and depth in all areas of the Bayern squad, you can’t entirely pin the German giants’ hefty trophy haul both domestically and in Europe on their Polish talisman, but you’d have to agree he has played a major role with his consistent performances over the last eight years.
Having left Borussia Dortmund for the Allianz Arena in 2014 in pursuit of winning silverware, it’s fair to say that Lewandowski has achieved his goal. Fast forward to the current day and the 33-year-old boasts eight Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokals and a Champions League winners’ medal — as well as three DFL-Supercups, a UEFA Super Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.
It’s certainly quite the collection of trophies, even if he would have perhaps liked to have won more than one Champions League. But it seems Lewandowski has outgrown winning the Bundesliga with sheer ease every season, and in the twilight of his career, is beginning to force a move away from Munich for pastures new — with financial strugglers Barcelona appearing the most likely destination in the SkyBet football betting.
It is a situation that leaves Bayern Munich at a crossroads and their fans staring down the barrel at the end of an era which has brought them so much joy. Indeed, at the ripe age of 33, Lewandowski’s time at the Allianz was undoubtably going to come to an end sooner rather than later. But with 35 goals in 34 league games last season, it’s safe to say that he still has a lot to give despite turning 34 in August.
Replacing him is a tough task that Julian Nagelsmann and the Bayern hierarchy face this summer. It’s no secret that Liverpool’s Sadio Mané is their number one target, with a £25 million bid reportedly already turned down by the Champions League finalists, but the Senegalese forward isn’t exactly a 30-goal-a-season forward, nor is he a long-term answer at 30 years old.
And with that opening offer rejected it appears Liverpool are going to drive a hard bargain for Mané. With fresh reports claiming that the Reds are going to hold on for something in excess of £40m despite the Africa Cup of Nations winner only having one year left on his current deal at Anfield — which might mean that Bayern look elsewhere.
In hindsight, they might well feel that Erling Haaland is one that got away. The Dortmund forward has sent shockwaves through Europe since his move to the Signal Iduna Park in 2020, with 62 goals in 67 Bundesliga games, and Bayern were believed to be one of the teams on his shortlist — with the Norwegian even holding talks with the club to hear their proposal and plans.
But he has now joined Manchester City, with the Etihad outfit triggering his very reasonable £63m release clause, and their old rivals Dortmund have already snapped up the very promising Karim Adeyemi — a full German international at just 20 — from Red Bull Salzburg for a mere £27m.
Some fans will be rather displeased with Nagelsmann’s first season in charge of Bayern. Indeed, he delivered the Bundesliga title, but that is nothing more than a given at the Allianz. His performances in the Champions League knockouts were particularly disappointing, with Villarreal upsetting them in the quarter-finals despite a perfect win record in Group E, while they were embarrassingly beaten 5-0 by Borussia Mönchengladbach in the second round of the Pokal.
A lot more will be expected from the young coach in his second season in charge of Bayern, and without Lewandowski leading the line, his job will be made a lot harder.