A Bundesliga professional as a world football player? The idea is not absurd, because hardly anyone else has delivered as reliably as Lewandowski in this strange season.
For FC Bayern’s interests, on Saturday, in perspective, it was perhaps not the worst news that coach Hansi Flick still had a strange question. In essence, it was whether his striker Robert Lewandowski should not be counted among the candidates for the title of world footballer.
“If I just measure it by goals,” said Flick: “He made 34 booths in the Bundesliga. And a total of 51 competitive goals are also a house number, so you can also think about turning a Bundesliga player into a world footballer can make.” It would be a novelty: since the award was created in 1991, there has never been a Bundesliga professional on the top podium; the award winner in the debut year of the award, Lothar Matthäus, played at Inter Milan at the time.
Now Robert Lewandowski, two goals in the 4-2 win against Leverkusen? “With these important goals, he’s a candidate to become a world footballer,” said Matthäus himself on Sky Saturday night, “I know what I’m talking about.” Should Lewandowski still get the golden shoe, “he is a very big favorite for the title at the end of the year,” he said.
What would have happened if Lewandowski could have played all 34 games?
The idea is not absurd: This strange season does not have a player ready who could claim to have left his mark on him – whether he is Sadio Mané (Liverpool FC), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Ronaldo (Juventus) or Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain). At least Lewandowski can point out that he delivered reliably.
Against Leverkusen he scored his cup final goals seven and eight, not even the Bayern legend par excellence, Gerd Müller. And who knows what would have happened if Lewandowski could have played all 34 Bundesliga games in the past season. Perhaps Müller’s previously irrefutable record of 1971/72 (40 goals in 34 games) would have faltered.
That Lewandowski was kissed by the muses could also be seen on Saturday, with his lupfer for the meantime 4: 1, but especially with the third goal of Bayern. He had picked a long ball from Manuel Neuer with the suppleness of a Bolshoi dancer from the Berlin sky before dropping something like a shot with shot. He pulled away with brute force, the ball jumped from the arms of Leverkusen goalkeeper Lucas Hradecky to the floor, then back to the Finn’s buttocks – and from there into the goal.
“Surprising,” said Lewandowski. And, oh, why was Saturday good news for Bayern? Because the application for the title of world footballer leads over the Champions League. And there is hardly a player who is more motivated than Lewandowski.