The star striker has been ruled out for a month will miss out on Bayern’s games against Leipzig, PSG and so on.
With everything happening in the world of football, the Bundesliga has gone slightly under the radar. However this weekend there is a fixture that can turn things on its head for the German Champions, Bayern Munich and add more spice to the league. The Bavarians, unfortunately, lost their talismanic striker in Robert Lewandowski for a month due to ligament strain and will now face RB Leipzig in the battle of the top two teams in the Bundesliga. Germany and Arsenal legend, Jens Lehmann feels that it is a great time for Die Roten Bullen to close the four points gap with Bayern and make Bundesliga more exciting.
“I think Bayern Munich don’t need to win this game; a draw will be okay for them,” Lehmann said in a video interaction with Indian journalists on Thursday.
Thoughts on the Bayern Munich vs RB Leipzig game
“They should go with Choupo Moting as Leipzig are very good from set-pieces and if you replace Lewandowski with a smaller forward then it will be difficult for Bayern during setpieces. Choupo Moting is a good centre forward, he can bring players into the game and can hold the ball well. But Hansi Flick sees them in training every day so he can make a better decision, ” the former Arsenal custodian added when quizzed about how will Flick fill the gap created by the absence of the Polish forward.
Coming back to RB Leipzig the 51-year-old added, “They (Leipzig) are remarkable. They have a very, very good defensive record; unfortunately, not in the big games. In the big games, they make mistakes. I hope that will not be the case on Saturday because it will be great for the Bundesliga for them to keep up with Bayern – to go just within one point. It will make Bayern a little nervous, given the situation with Lewandowski.”
The former Arsenal custodian heaped praise on RB Leipzig veteran Peter Gulacsi. He said, ” I think Gulasci is very very good and sometimes even fantastic. But where he can improve a little bit is on his organizational level and personality wise he needs to be a bit more demanding. He needs to be a bit more dominant at times and it is mainly because he has got young defenders in front of him. So they need a guy like him to tell them what to do and where to position themselves.”
“He has to be a great guy because he had a great role model,” he continued. “He once told me that I was his role model when he was at Liverpool so he must be a great guy,” joked Lehmann.
On Bayern and Dortmund’s Champions League ties
Coming to the UEFA Champions League with the German teams facing some tough challenges the 51-year was quick to address how difficult it will be for both the German sides.
“They (Bayern Munich and PSG) know each other from the final last year. The disadvantage to Bayern is that Lewandowski cannot play. And Paris are in a run of consecutive games; they have got rhythm. Last year in the Champions League final, you could feel in the end that physically they were not at Bayern Munich’s level. This may have changed now but we will see,” he added referring to the Champions League final of last season where these two giants met.
Also speaking about his former club Borussia Dortmund as they take on Manchester City in the quarterfinals of the Champions League Lehmann made it clear that City are undoubtedly the favourites in this tie. He said, ” Dortmund versus City will be very difficult because City are a great team right now and they have momentum. With Dortmund, sometimes you can’t predict their performances. It’s a typical characteristic of a young team.”
The conundrum with Die Mannschaft and their chances at the Euros
Shifting the focus from club football to the international scene as a couple of days ago Germany’s unbeaten run for 35 matches in the World Cup qualifiers came to an end as Die Mannschaft shockingly lost 2-1 to North Macedonia. Just like all the German supporters, Lehmann was also visibly disappointed by the performance. But he feels that it was the last wake up call for Germany and also for their coach Jogi Loew.
“They have played quite good in the last two games (3-0 win over Iceland and 1-0 win over Romania) and they have just missed out on scoring goals. Yesterday was a setback against North Macedonia,” Lehmann said. I did not even know before that there was a team from North Macedonia. I thought it was just one Macedonia. So I learnt something at least for my geography,” joked the former Arsenal star, who was part of their much-fabled Invincibles setup under Arsene Wenger.
“I remember we lost 4-1 to Italy ahead of the World Cup in 2006. The German parliament actually tried to call Juergen Klinsmann to ask him about our chances and what he could change (about the team) because people didn’t want to suffer embarrassment at our own World Cup. This situation is a little bit comparable,” reminisced the German custodian who was the first choice goalkeeper during the 2006 World Cup 2008 Euros.
I think Joachim Loew must be very disappointed. But I know him; he can fight. He will try to show people that this is not the face of the German national team. He can get angry about it. So it’s probably the last wake-up call before he will play the last tournament,” he continued.
Lastly speaking about Germany’s hopes at the upcoming European Championships, Lehmann felt that it is a nice opportunity for Jogi Loew to end his Die Mannschaft stint on a high.
“Germany is always capable of putting up a great performance in these tournaments. The last two tournaments (2016 Euros and 2020 World Cup) were very disappointing obviously but this happens to be Jogi Loew’s last tournament and I know he can fight. I think he needs to show people that he actually can do it and turn this negative atmosphere around the national team which has been worse after yesterday’s defeat. He can turn it around. He probably needs to add more to his team but I think he can do it,” he signed off.