BERLIN: Bayern Munich will welcome Robert Lewandowski’s Barcelona to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, hoping to jolt themselves out of a poor run of Bundesliga form.
Despite Wednesday’s impressive 2-0 win at Inter Milan, Bayern have drawn three games in a row and sit in the unfamiliar position of third place after six matches.
While Bayern have not struggled to find the back of the net this season with 31 goals in nine games, they have missed Lewandowski’s penetration at crucial moments in recent weeks.
Lewandowski has had a dominant start to life in Spain, scoring six times in five La Liga matches for Barcelona to sit in his usual spot atop the goalscoring charts.
With four wins and a draw, Barcelona are unbeaten in the league and sit second behind Real Madrid.
In the Champions League, Lewandowski opened his account with a hat-trick in Barcelona’s 5-1 home win against Viktoria Plzen.
Speaking directly after their 2-2 home draw with Stuttgart on Saturday, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said his team knew better than most the kind of damage Lewandowski could inflict.
“We have been warned,“ Salihamidzic said about his former striker’s form for his new club.
– ‘He uses every opportunity’ –
Bayern have a strong recent Champions League record against Barcelona, with two 3-0 wins last season along with an 8-2 quarter-final thumping on the way to winning the 2020 title.
The six-time European champions are however fully aware that this Barcelona side is stronger than some of the recent incarnations.
“Worried? I don’t know (about that),“ Salihamidzic said on Saturday when asked if his side were fearful ahead of Barca’s visit.
“We have to shift up two gears, even three against Barcelona.
“Barcelona have top players, play good football (and) ‘Lewa’ is up front, he uses every opportunity.”
Manager Julian Nagelsmann said his side’s Bundesliga form will not change the preparation for Tuesday’s game.
“I approach the week the way I would have done it if we had won,“ Nagelsmann said on Saturday.
“We’re trying to come up with a good idea for Barcelona, which will be difficult.
“I would have done the same thing if we had won 4-0 today.”
After his side’s 2-0 win over Inter, Nagelsmann said his side were “looking forward” to taking on the man who scored 344 goals in 375 Bayern appearances.
“I am looking forward to it (the reunion with Lewandowski). Not so much as an opponent because he’s very dangerous, but as a person I will be pleased to see him.”
Nagelsmann said he hoped fans would welcome Lewandowski back warmly, despite the acrimonious nature of his departure.
“I hope the fans will honour that too, regardless of how things were with his departure.”
Bayern forward Thomas Mueller, who said he was “mad at ourselves for the first time this season” after the draw with Stuttgart, said he was happy for the focus to shift away from his side’s domestic problems.
“We’re really looking forward to the duel – not just because of Robert,“ Mueller said.
“It’s a meeting at the summit in the group.” – AFP