He grum­bles and he scores

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BER­LIN: Af­ter crit­i­cis­ing Bay­ern Mu­nich’s trans­fer pol­icy in an out­spo­ken in­ter­view, Robert Le­wandowski did his talk­ing on the pitch against An­der­lecht on Tues­day to kick­start the Ger­man side’s Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign.

The Pole’s forth­right com­ments sug­gest­ing Bay­ern no longer com­pete in the trans­fer mar­ket dom­i­nated the build-up to the Group B game, with the club fur­ther un­set­tled by Thomas Mueller talk­ing about a pos­si­ble move away and re­ports that Hof­fen­heim’s Ju­lian Nagels­mann is lined up to suc­ceed Carlo Ancelotti as man­ager.

A 2-0 week­end de­feat to Nagels­mann’s present side con­firmed Bay­ern’s worst start to a league cam­paign in six years and Le­wandowski’s out­burst led to a rare pub­lic re­buke by CEO Kar­lHeinz Rum­menigge, who in­di­cated that the Pole should stick to what he is good at.

Any­one doubt­ing what that might be had to wait just 10 min­utes into Tues­day’s game as Le­wandowski threat­ened on goal be­fore be­ing hacked down by Sven Kums, who was given a red card.

The Pole got up, dusted him­self down and scored Bay­ern’s opener from the penalty spot. Le­wandowski is due to make his 100th Bun­desliga ap­pear­ance against Mainz on Satur­day, hav­ing scored 80 goals in his pre­vi­ous 99, and still looks as lethal as when he made his de­but three years ago.

Keep­ing him happy will be high on Bay­ern’s list of pri­or­i­ties as they seek a first Cham­pi­ons League tro­phy in four years.

Next up is a trip to Paris Saint Ger­main, pre­sum­ably one team Poland’s cap­tain had in mind when he com­plained that pen­nypinch­ing Bay­ern needed an in­jec­tion of world-class tal­ent af­ter fall­ing be­hind Europe’s elite.

Al­though Tues­day’s 3-0 score­line sounded con­vinc­ing, Bay­ern il­lus­trated Le­wandowski’s point by strug­gling for long pe­ri­ods to see off a side who played with 10 men for so long.

“It was not a top per­for­mance but we got a win that we needed,” said a slightly down­beat Ancelotti. “We had a lot of chances but we were not fo­cused. Some­times it hap­pens.”

Be­sides Le­wandowski, Ancelotti must now deal with an­other dis­grun­tled player in Franck Ribery who, to the Ital­ian’s ob­vi­ous be­muse­ment, pub­licly dis­carded his shirt as he walked off af­ter be­ing sub­sti­tuted in the 77th minute.

“Ribery had a yel­low card so I de­cided to sub him off and give him a rest. He was clearly an­gry. You have to ask him why.” said Ancelotti. Reuters

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