Bayern Munich faced Schalke 04 on Friday in their first away match of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season. The Bavarians also secured their first win of the new campaign, netting three past Schalke’s tame defense. Die Roten were not the dominant force fans have become accustomed to seeing in recent seasons, and if it was not for the brilliance of Robert Lewandowski the match surely would have ended much differently.
Robert Lewandowski Proves He Is Still Bayern Munich’s Star
A Game of Debuts
If anyone was meant to steal the spotlight in yesterday’s match, it was not Robert Lewandowski. Three new signings made their Bayern debut in the match. €80 million-Euro man Lucas Hernandez started the game in central defense and played a solid 77 minutes. Brand-new offensive additions Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perisic, meanwhile, joined the fray for the final 33 minutes.
While none of those three players had a poor game by any means, it was undoubtedly Lewandowski who stole the show. The Pole netted three goals, each highlighting a different area of strength to his game.
Robert Lewandowski: The Hat-Trick Hero
Robert Lewandowski’s first goal came in the 20th minute. Kingsley Coman‘s fine footwork got the best of Jonjoe Kenny, who brought the Frenchman down inside the penalty box. There was never any question who would step up to take the ensuing penalty.
Robert Lewandowski immediately grabbed the ball and headed to the penalty spot. His unique run-up — Lewandowski takes a half-skip on the final step and keeps his head up to see which direction the goalkeeper is leaning — sent young Alexander Nubel the wrong direction. In typical Lewandowski fashion, the Pole tucked the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 1-0.
Lewandowski again showed his precision from dead-ball scenarios in the 50th minute, but this time from much further out. Corentin Tolisso won a free-kick about five yards outside the penalty box, and there was again no question who would step up to take the shot. Lewandowski curled a powerful but perfectly-placed shot over the wall and into the back of the net. 2-0.
Bayern’s final goal came in the 75th minute and was perhaps the best of the bunch. Kingsley Coman sped down the right flank on a counter-attack before finding Lewandowski at the top of Schalke’s box with a low cross. Lewandowski took one deft touch, faking allowing the ball to run through to Philippe Coutinho, then put his striker’s instinct on full display with a shot fired precisely into the bottom right corner. Hat-trick complete.
Robert Lewandowski Proves He’s a Star, But He Cannot Always Do It Alone
Though yesterday’s match might suggest otherwise, Robert Lewandowski cannot always single-handedly win Bayern a match. At least, the club should not expect that much from him.
Yes, he is undoubtedly one of the best forwards on the planet, but even he needs some help. Saturday’s scoreline might have read 3-0, but Lewandowski’s brilliance overshadowed what was otherwise a dull performance from the Bavarians. According to Understat, the xG for the match was 1.08 to 1.60, Bayern narrowly beating their opponents in the category.
The hosts created more chances than their visitors, who often struggled to break down Schalke’s sturdy defense.
Going forward, Niko Kovac must find a way for his team to create more chances. Of course, new signing Philippe Coutinho should play a huge part in that, but even he cannot do it all on his own. The onus is on Kovac to find a system that works best for his players.
Robert Lewandowski may have saved Bayern Munich yesterday with his masterclass performance, but the 31-year-old cannot always be expected to be the hero.