When the German Bundesliga starts, many roll their eyes due to the firm expectation that Bayern Munich will walk their way to yet another league title. Those that do have every right to, as the Bavarians won it for a tenth time in a row last season and a record 32nd time.
However, every dominance comes to an end, right? In the summer, Bayern Munich sold Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona for €45m, a transfer that sent shockwaves around world football, as the 34-year-old Polish striker had scored 344 goals and created 72 assists in 375 appearances for Bayern, seeing him widely regarded as the best striker in the world.
The lack of natural replacement for Lewandowski has left questions as to whether Bayern have made a huge mistake, as ultimately, Sadio Mane isn’t an out-and-out goalscoring number nine.
Mane has scored three times in seven league matches for Bayern, but, it is their recent run of four games without a win that has piled on the pressure towards Julian Nagelsmann. So far this campaign, Bayern have been held to 1-1 draws with Borussia Monchengladbach and Union Berlin, whilst only drawing 2-2 with Stuttgart, before falling to a shock 1-0 loss at Augsburg. The champions currently sit fifth in the standings.
At this time last season, Lewandowski had scored seven and created one assist in seven league games. In total, as a team, Bayern are nine goals worse off than last season’s tally. Perhaps the Pole’s penalty area presence provided opposition defenders with a fear factor unlike what we see now.