World footballer Robert Lewandowski (34) has experienced all kinds of emotions on his return to Munich with FC Barcelona. A review.
One or the other mobile phone might have been running on its last battery groove on Tuesday evening in Munich. Patiently, thousands of fans had been waiting in the stands well before kick-off of the match between FC Bayern and FC Barcelona, cameras at the ready to welcome the former top scorer.
Whistles echoed in the Allianz Arena as the players of the Spanish league runners-up took to the pitch, but only until Robert Lewandowski appeared on the scene. The mood tilted, an initial chat turned into a small cheer after a greeting from the stadium announcer. “Welcome back, Robert,” Stephan Lehmann said into the microphone. The Pole thanked him with applause, turned once in each direction and then concentrated on warming up again.
Apparently with success, because as soon as the whistle blew, Lewandowski once again took centre stage. He showed why he had already scored nine goals in his first six games for Barça. Time and again, his teammates sought him out in the centre, where Dayot Upamecano and Lucas Hernandez took turns as bodyguards. In the 8th minute he initiated Pedri’s big chance with a courageous tackle on Marcel Sabitzer, in the 18th and 21st minutes he missed the best opportunities himself.
“I was surprised he didn’t make a goal out of it,” Hasan Salihamidzic said later, grinning slightly. “He usually makes them,” Oliver Kahn said. And Julian Nagelsmann added: “He didn’t score, I’m happy about that. Not for him personally, but from our point of view.”
The vociferous Lewandowski chants from the Barça block, which had been heard twice in half one, fell silent after the change of ends. Instead, the FC Bayern supporters shouted back, “Who the f**k is Barcelona? “
After two quick Munich goals, the Catalans had to catch themselves and could have hit back after an hour, but Pedri let Lewandowski’s advance free in front of Neuer go unused. It was to be the last exclamation mark – from Barcelona and from Lewandowski, who – presumably also out of frustration – clashed twice with the referee and in the closing stages was boiled down one last time by ex-colleague Hernandez.
Lewandowski only replies curtly: “Not so easy “
As referee Danny Makkelie blew the final whistle shortly before eleven o’clock, Lewandowski gave his former companions a brief hug, clapped tentatively in the direction of the visitors’ block and dived into the catacombs – only into the other dressing room. “I don’t think it was a very easy situation for Robert,” Kahn found. “You come to a stadium where you have had your greatest successes.” To then miss the big chances. “Let’s be glad he didn’t make them today.” Today, added captain Manuel Neuer, “luck was on our side. “
In the second leg, Lewandowski can write a new script. On Tuesday, however, he quickly disappeared from the Allianz Arena and walked past the journalists towards the exit. Someone shouted after him how the return had been. “Not so easy,” Lewandowski replied curtly – and disappeared.