Bayern Munich finally put the rumors surrounding Robert Lewandowski to bed after confirming a five-year deal that will see him join the club at the beginning of the 2014-15 season. The Polish international’s future at Borussia Dortmund had been partially unclear with his deal running out this summer, however there was no other realistic destination other than the Bavarian club.
Like Mario Gotze, he has come under fire for his switch to Germany’s top club. Many view it as a traitor move and one that will cause the league to become lop-sided. Keen to appease the fans that have adored him for the last few years, he wrote them a letter on the Dortmund website explaining his reasoning behind joining Bayern:
“Dear BVB fans, I would like to say a few words to you.
“With half a year to go, there are still some goals we want to achieve together.
“I hope you will support me, even if some of you don’t agree with my decision! I for one will give my all for BVB!
“Yours, Robert Lewandowski.”
What Lewandowski brings to Bayern is competition, particularly for Mario Mandzukic, who has most recently been linked with a move to Arsenal. The Croatian striker may be fazed out of the line-up in a similar way Mario Gomez was when Mandzukic joined Bayern himself. Mattihas Sammer told German newspaper Blid that Mandzukic must accept this competition:
“Mario remains a key player for us. However, he has to accept – like the rest of the squad – that there will always be stiff competition for places.”
Some may argue that Bayern are ruining the competition in the Bundesliga by building an ultimate ‘dream team,’ but while they are causing the Bundesliga to become more one-sided, they are building a side that will be admired for years to come. No one ever thought a team would top Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in terms of sheer excellence. However, it seems that Pep Guardiola’s Bayern side are set to go one step further in their magnitude as a footballing legacy. While they don’t have the home-grown talent factor like Barca, and they also don’t have the ‘Galactico’ feel of Real Madrid, they have the feel of something very German – a ruthlessly efficient nature.
Robert Lewandowkski is just another part of the puzzle in building a side that can rival the Bayern team of the 70s in terms of their greatness. That team won three European cups in a row between 1974 and 1976, and the current Bayern side certainly have the potential to do the same for the first time in Champions League history. Many have argued that Robert Lewandowski is the first world-class striker that has come into this Bayern side. Both Mario Gomez and Mario Mandzukic are good players and established internationals, but whether they are on the level of Robert Lewandowski is questionable.
Lewandowski’s performance in last season’s Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid demonstrated his supreme talent, as he scored all four goals in a 4-1 first leg victory. His second goal highlighted his ability as he spun the Real Madrid defense and fired a tremendous shot into the top corner past Diego Lopez.
A big question resulting from this transfer is whether Dortmund’s time at the top will come to an end. Dortmund have refused to reveal who his replacement will be, but sources believe Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko may be the players Dortmund are hoping to chase down.
The latter has previously had a spell in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg, where he scored 66 goals in 111 appearances, the most by any Wolfsburg striker in the Bundesliga. Dzeko’s style does suit Dortmund; his tendency to stay in the box and finish moves off is similar to the way Robert Lewandowski is deployed.
One thing is certain from the deal: it will certainly benefit Bayern Munich and add even more talent to what is already an amazing team. But whether it will benefit Dortmund, the Bundesliga, and the rest of European football is yet to be seen.