Now that it’s decided, everyone’s just relieved. It’s shameful that FC Bayern wasn’t able to say goodbye to Robert Lewandowski with dignity. And it will change the figurehead of German club football.
You have to do that first. There’s a great striker playing for a big club for eight years, scoring goals like no other, bringing the club title after title, and then at the end of that great time you’re not even able to say a proper goodbye to each other. Welcome to FC Bayern Munich, figurehead of German club football.
You don’t have to be Lothar Matthäus to find the tugging and haggling over Robert Lewandowski, the undisputed best and most successful Bundesliga goalscorer since the legendary Gerd Müller, to be unstylish and unnecessary. But even the record national player and former Bayern star couldn’t help but notice: “I’ll sit down at the table with a player as deserving as Robert and find the best solution,” said the 61-year-old on Friday when, after weeks of basta Sayings from the Bayern management on the one hand and Lewandowski’s expression of deep disappointment on the other – all public, mind you – the change of the Polish national player was still not a done deal. And that despite the fact that everyone must have known long ago that things would not go on together.
Robert Lewandowski: Ultimately chased from the farm
FC Bayern would have done well not to stand in the way of Robert Lewandowski after so many years and instead to give him a great farewell – something with “Thank you Lewa” signs and one last big performance. Not an unreasonable thought after eight joint championships, two Champions League wins, a few cup wins and seven times winning the top scorer cannon – including 41 goals in 2020/21, the absolute season record for a goalgetter in 59 years in the Bundesliga. With that, FC Bayern would have looked very good. But as you can hear, it was one last training session on Saturday morning, a short farewell to colleagues and that was it. Then off to Barcelona. Something like that can confidently be called “chased from the farm”.
Of course, Lewandowski will be able to get over it all, and FC Bayern – freed from their last manic clinging to the exceptional striker – will finally be able to take the step forward that the current club management around Oliver Kahn and Hassan Salihamidzic apparently had to be forced to take. Nevertheless, some things will get stuck in the jerseys of the “Mia san mia” club. A lot can certainly be said about FC Bayern, but it was actually known as a club that treats its ex-players with respect and cares about its people. There are a number of examples of people who had health and/or personal problems who could count on FC Bayern (the recently deceased Gerd Müller was one of them). Those times seem over.
FC Bayern and Lewandowski: farewell without emotions?
As if to prove it, voices are now being raised, and one reads in the comments that Lewandowski was always distant anyway – his goals were always cheered on by the fans, but never loved. It is basically a goodbye without emotions, the 33-year-old is called after. Really, FC Bayern, that should be the end of the Lewandowski era? One of the most successful in the entire history of the club?
Lothar Matthäus, for whom the excruciatingly long duration of the Lewandowski case gave him plenty of opportunity to speak out, is a key witness when it comes to identifying a fundamental change in the atmosphere of the permanent master. “It’s a shame and it’s noticeable that more and more players want to leave FC Bayern. That wasn’t the case in the past,” said the 61-year-old in a Sky column at the end of May. David Alaba (now Real Madrid) and Niklas Süle (future Dortmund) are examples of an unfavorable development for Matthäus. Süle were also sent few respectful comments after the move to BVB was clear. “As a professional, you notice whether things are changing in a club,” Matthäus stated in his column. After all, that’s clear now: Serge Gnabry was able to hold on.
No longer FC Bayern, which Matthäus misses
The embarrassing Lewandowski haggling marks the beginning of that reset by FC Bayern, which many who watch the Bundesliga consider necessary. The new stars – Mané, Gravenberch, Mazraoui, maybe de Light and/or Harry Kane – definitely have what it takes for another success story. But there will be successes celebrated by a club that will probably no longer be the FC Bayern that Lothar Matthäus is still missing. For some time now, the question has been raised as to whether Munich’s flagship club can remain as it is if it wants to play in the concert of the ever larger international top clubs, or whether it has to change. The time after Lewandowski offers the chance for such a change. Despite all the professionalism on Säbener Strasse, you should not do without good and respectful interaction. Otherwise, at some point it will still be said: the fans cheer the successes, but don’t love the club.