The day before his probably most important game as Bayern Munich coach, Julian Nagelsmann spoke about Robert Lewandowski.
"If you have Lewy in the team, who has this goal threat, then it is always advisable to give him a lot of balls because he can score a lot of goals," he said in the press conference before the second leg in the Champions League Round of 16 against RB Salzburg – and immediately addressed the first leg (final result: 1-1) when his striker had “a lot of space” but got “too few balls”.
Sports correspondent in Munich.
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"That," said Nagelsmann, "we discussed, we also trained." And anyone who heard the coach's words and then saw the striker's actions had to realize, even for the most demanding competition in football: sometimes it's apparently enough for Robert Lewandowski to get a lot of balls to give because he can score a lot of goals.
On Tuesday evening, Lewandowski, the world footballer, scored 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 for FC Bayern between the 12th and 23rd minutes - and thus initiated the 7-1 victory over Salzburg.
That was enough to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
But that wasn't enough to be able to give a serious answer to the following question for the next round, which will be drawn on March 18th: How do you classify such a win?
"It is important that our form continues to improve in this important phase," said Lewandowski.
As much as against Salzburg was not at stake for them this season.
And the striker set the standard.
He was fouled twice in the penalty area in nine minutes.
The result: penalty, hit, penalty, hit.
Transformed by himself. He then earned his third goal because he eagerly pursued the ball that Thomas Müller had passed for him – and won the press shot against Salzburg goalkeeper Philipp Köhn.
The game has two phases
Goals followed from Serge Gnabry (31st), Thomas Müller (54th, 83rd) and Leroy Sané (86th).
That was more sovereign than one could have guessed after the 1-1 in the first leg - and yet not as sovereign as the 7-1 in the second leg would suggest.
You have to divide this match in Munich in front of 25,000 spectators into two phases.
With the third goal as the tipping point.
Before that, Salzburg sprint after sprint into the Bayern penalty area.
In the third minute, Argentina's Nicolás Capaldo was saved by Kingsley Coman's foot.
In the 15th minute, the Austrian Nicolas Seiwald failed at the hand of Manuel Neuer, who played for the first time since his knee operation.
After that, Salzburg collapsed.
Also because some of them were still in corona quarantine a week ago.
At least that's what her trainer Matthias Jaissle said later: "For one or the other it wasn't enough to get to 100 percent."
So: How do you classify such a victory in the Champions League?
It is not certain how many games FC Bayern will win there this season.
Since this Tuesday at the latest, however, it has been much more certain which three players seem to be primarily responsible for winning this season.
In recent months, the team members from the 1995 vintage have increasingly been the focus in Munich: Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Niklas Süle.
They should form the next so-called Bayern axis and will probably do so - with the exception of Süle, who will switch to Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
On Tuesday, especially in the first phase of the game - representative of this season - you could see that Julian Nagelsmann's first team is still based on the old axis.
On the goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, 35 years old, who can not only release the ball with his hands, but also accelerate it with his feet (no keeper passes as quickly and directly as he does).
On the all-rounder Thomas Müller, 32 years old, who leads his team with and without the ball.
And on the striker Robert Lewandowski, 33 years old.
On Tuesday, Müller and Lewandowski were involved in six out of seven goals.
And Neuer was again the protection for a defense that you urgently need to protect this season.
But it is not only the sporting situation that connects Neuer, Müller and Lewandowski, but also the contractual one.
You are tied to FC Bayern until the summer of 2023.
"I've said several times that we want to hold talks with various deserving players in the spring," said CEO Oliver Kahn recently.
Negotiations for a contract extension are said to have progressed with Neuer.
With Lewandowski, on the other hand, they apparently haven't even started yet.
At least that's how you can understand a statement he made publicly at the end of February.
He said after the game against Salzburg in an "Amazon" interview: "I don't know what's going on with the others, I won't tell what's going on with me."Keywords: