Olivier Fritsch and Fabian Scheler are sports journalists for the German weekly “Die Zeit”. The newspaper published in Hamburg is read by more than 600,000 weekly. people. From the second half of April, the gentlemen will also be running a football podcast. In the first episode, they had to deal with the current and last top scorer in the Bundesliga. They described him as an “overrated” footballer. In the current situation, such rhetoric could be seen as an attempt to create a good climate for the likely transfer and to downplay the Bayern loss that could occur this summer. Except the podcast was recorded almost a month ago, when Lewandowski’s will to leave Munich wasn’t so clear, and FC Barcelona where he was going seemed more in the air of rumour.
Central midfield in Bayern? “Dream job”
After the positions of both men, one can get the impression that Bayern should not cry about Lewandowski. “He is the beneficiary of Bayern’s dominance and that is also a sign of the weakness of the Bundesliga,” said Fritsch. The journalist noted that “being a striker in Bayern is a footballer’s dream job.” This is because the team plays very aggressively and in practice there are sometimes four or even five attackers during the match. According to Die Zeit commentators, surrounded by Serge Gnabrym, Thomas Mueller, Leon Goretzka and Leroy Sane, and supported by well-playing side defenders, Lewandowski has a situation where “there is always something going on in the penalty area he uses”.
Journalists also emphasize that the German league is becoming increasingly offensive and more and more goals are being scored, the statistics show. Ten years ago, the average goals scored in a season were no more than three goals per game. Currently, it has been consistently higher than this number for several years and in the 2019/20 season, it achieved a long-unstated 3.21 goals per encounter. This Bundesliga offensive can be seen all over the German football field. Fritsch and Scheler wonder why they should only be happy with Lewandowski, who scored 34 goals two years ago, and not with Timo Werner, who scored fewer goals then (28). In fact, they are drawing attention to a similar situation this season with Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrick Schick, who needed just 27 games to score 24 goals, and on top of that, he scored almost the entire game. Lewandowski scored 35 times, but in 34 games (5 goals from penalties). What about last season, when the Pole scored 41 goals and beat Gerd Mueller’s legendary feat? According to journalists, this only confirms the theory that it is getting easier to shoot them in the Bundesliga. Comparing both players is “unacceptable”, they say.
Many goals, which is a weak defense effect
Stamping on the counter and as journalists call it “overestimating Lewandowski’s statistics” is also a result of the defensive weakness facing the Bundesliga, they say. Commentators see this defensive weakness even in the game Lewandowski went down in history and the Guinness Book of Records. It’s about the encounter in September 2015, when he scored 5 goals in 9 minutes against Wolfsburg. In the podcast “Die Zeit”, those discussing the event tend to focus on the poor performances of Wolfsburg’s great defenders (Dante and Naldo) in these situations, who “made a lot of money in the Bundesliga despite their defensive weaknesses” . Journalists also approached the four goals Lewandowski scored against Real Madrid during his time with the BVB. They recalled that the Pole once pushed the ball into the goal from 3 meters, hit once from 5 meters, alone with the goalkeeper, and added a penalty. Fritsch and Scheler also advise everyone to calmly “look at Lewandowski’s goals and estimate how much quality and special skills it took in these situations to score those goals?” According to them, these were mostly simple hits.
“In great matches, Lewandowski almost never scores spectacular goals,” reporters say. They emphasize that even in the Champions League, Lewandowski usually scored easier goals in the first, group stage of the competition, and the longer the tournament lasted and the rivals were stronger, the more the Pole faded. With this player there are no wonderful rallies or solo actions, because “he is not a top dribbler”. Although until the 2019-20 season, when Bayern won the Champions League and the Pole scored goals to the semi-finals, commentators made no particular comment, comparing Lewandowski to other players who “have more football class than him”.
They name: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema. In their opinion, Benzema has “positioned a better leg and is technically better, with a perfect match”, Messi, like Ronaldo, beats the Pole with “free throws and passes to the nose”, Mbappe surpasses him not only with speed, but also with dribbling, moreover, this argument applied to all four. † This technical ability and spectacular achievements and goals are, in their opinion, the factors that “distinguish excellent players from the very good”. Therefore, they say Lewandowski’s excitement in the Bundesliga is “a sign of weakness in the league.”
“Lewandowski can do everything very well, but he doesn’t do anything special”
Journalists add that while Lewandowski has developed a lot during his career, he often “covered up his backlogs or shortcomings with a little cleverness”, and the intern had something to do in Poland’s backyard. He has also spent a long time taking free kicks, which are not his forte, and still sporadically approaches them. But he found a way to take penalties “with a discharge and a jump”, which his stats also yield. According to the authors of the podcast, the penalty for Bayern is a 90 percent chance of a goal if Lewy touches the ball.
Journalists not only focus on certain disadvantages of the Pool, but also point out its advantages: “a good shot with a strong right leg and a good weaker left leg, good header, good reception of the ball in different situations, stopping in the air, working all over the field, avoiding injuries.” and that’s all — they add. They are not surprised that the best player in the FIFA poll did not receive the “Golden Ball” from France Football, or that Messi did not vote for him in the FIFA competition. “Robert Lewandowski can do everything very well, but he does nothing special” – was one of the statements.