Monday, October 18, 2021

Bundesliga: Another Lewandowski record as Bayern Munich caps off terrific week

Oktoberfest in Munich may be canceled for the second straight year over coronavirus concerns, but that hasn’t stopped Bayern Munich from partying.

Days after their 3-0 triumph over Barcelona in the Champions League, and one week after their dismantling of RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga, the Bavarians, wearing green Oktoberfest-inspired kits, took Bochum to task.

The display was vintage Bayern as first-year head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who only made two changes to his side from midweek, looks to establish a consistently dominant side.

Should this form continue, the Bavarians look well on their way to securing their 10th straight title.

Robert Lewandowski reminds football fans of his class on a weekly basis — literally.

Bayern’s win against Bochum was the 13th straight Bundesliga game in which the Pole has scored, the longest such streak in league history. The record was previously held by Jupp Heynckes and the late Gerd Müller, both of whom scored in 12 consecutive games in the German top-flight.

The new mark comes four months after Lewandowski broke Müller’s seemingly untouchable single-season goalscoring record when he bagged his 41st goal on the final day of the 2020-21 season.

The one record that appears out of reach, at least for now, is Müller’s all-time Bundesliga goalscoring mark of 365 goals. But given the pace the 33-year-old is scoring at now, don’t be surprised if he approaches that record in due time.

Leroy Sane faced a chorus of jeers from Bayern fans after a subpar performance against Cologne at the end of August. But the 25-year-old gave the home crowd something to cheer about on Saturday.

His goal from a direct free-kick from more than 30 meters out may have been aided by a poorly constructed wall, but the strike was nonetheless audacious — his attempt had a 3% probability of going in, according to Bundesliga.com. The sight of a player with newfound confidence.

And no one could question his class when he set up Bayern’s second goal, bursting into the left side of the penalty area before setting up an easy tap-in for Joshua Kimmich.

It may be too early to say that Sane, a big-money arrival before the 2020-21 season, has finally arrived in Munich. But he has at least rewarded the faith Julian Nagelsmann has given him — Sane has started four of Bayern’s five Bundesliga games.

With Kingsley Coman recovering from a slight cardiac arrhythmia, Sane is Bayern’s main man on the left side of attack, his main position during his time with Manchester City and the position Nagelsmann has admitted is Sane’s preferred role.

Kimmich must have worn his scoring boots on Saturday. Not normally known for finding the back of the net, the pint-sized midfielder scored a goal in each half for Bayern.

His midfield partner, Leon Goretzka, made a different kind of impact this week, ending weeks of speculation by inking a new contract. His extension ensures that both he and Kimmich will roam Bayern’s midfield until 2025.

Although arriving two years apart, the two midfielders have become inseparable over recent seasons. Bayern Munich’s treble season success was partly due to Hansi Flick’s commitment to play both in central roles during the campaign. They have also become Flick’s midfield duo with the German national team, with Toni Kroos announcing his retirement from international football in August.

The pair also teamed up to start the “We Kick Corona” charity, raising millions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now Bayern have ensured that the two will remain a focal point in their team for the next several years, both on and off the field.

The only question surrounding Bayern’s midfield at the moment is where Marcel Sabitzer, who followed Nagelsmann from Leipzig to Munich, will fit in. The Austrian international has only appeared of the bench in his first three Bayern games, but can surely be hopeful of game time throughout the season as Bayern compete on multiple fronts.

Can anyone catch Bayern Munich?

Entering the season, there were a glimmer of hope that the Bavarians could finally be unseated as league champions.

Despite an impressive reputation, Nagelsmann nonetheless arrived as a young and relatively unproven coach, and endured an unimpressive pre-season followed by a draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach on the opening day.

But Bayern’s last three games against RB Leipzig, Barcelona and Bochum — in which they have scored 14 goals and conceded one — have put that stigma to bed as the defending champions look well on their way towards a 10th straight league title.

Given the impact Nagelsmann has already had on Sane, Jamal Musiala, Niklas Süle and others, Bayern’s squad once again boasts talent the rest of the Bundesliga can only dream of.
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