The prolific striker Robert Lewandowski has enjoyed a stunning start to his Barcelona career, registering a hat-trick on the Champions League debut for the Catalan club and scoring eight goals in his first five matches overall.
In fact, fans of crypto betting with FortuneJack may already be getting on the Polish forward to finish as UCL top scorer, while you could forgive Bayern for pining after one of their greatest ever forwards after his summer departure.
However, it has been argued that Bayern may actually be better and more fluid in attack without the prolific number nine. But is this really the case?
How Bayern Have Changed Since the Departure of Lewandowski?
During his eight seasons in Munich, Lewandowski plundered an incredible 344 goals in 375 appearances across all competitions, including some 153 his final 133 games.
In total, the Polish striker has scored 550 goals in 753 club appearances, while his 76 strikes in 132 international matches have taken his overall career tally to 626.
A traditional striker who plays centrally and provides a physical presence in attack, Lewandowski’s departure has also forced Bayern and their manager Julien Nagelsmann to adapt their style of play since the summer.
This was first observed during the 5-3 Super Cup win over RB Leipzig in July, where Bayern dominated and played with tremendous fluency in attack.
Here, Bayern deployed an attack-minded 3-1-4-2 formation, in which Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies provided the width and Thomas Muller and new signing Sadio Mane pressed high in attack.
Since then, the team has largely shifted seamlessly between a 4-2-2-2 and 4-2-3-1 formation, both of which have created a narrow team shape and prioritised quick, vertical passes between the midfield and attack (creating tight triangles all over the park and allowing for rapid and progressive ball distribution).
Flexibility and unpredictability have been key to Bayern’s performances so far this season, with the lack of a defined and dedicated centre forward crucial to this.
As a result, Bayern have started to play with the same type of fast and fluid football that defined Nagelsmann’s previous sides, while creating the opposition a different array of challenges to the previous season.
Are Bayern Faring Better Without Lewandowski?
Nagelsmann’s bold tactical changes to cope with the loss of Lewandowski yielded initial results, with the Super Cup win followed by a 6-1 thrashing of Eintracht Frankfurt on the opening day of the Bundesliga season.
A 2-0 home win followed against Wolfsburg, before Munich travelled to the Vonovia Ruhrstadion stadium to thrash VfL Bochum 7-0. These matches saw Bayern’s rivals overwhelmed by waves of rapid attacks, constant movement and relentless pressure, with technically outstanding players like Mane, Muller and youngster Jamal Musiala central to the results.
However, fans have seen a different side to life without the predatory Lewandowski since, with Bayern having been held to consecutive 1-1 draws by Borussia Monchengladbach and Union Berlin.
The side dominated both matches in terms of possession and attempts on goal, but Bayern were profligate in front of goal and seemed to miss Lewandowski’s cool and talismanic presence in between the posts.
Ultimately, it’s too soon to judge whether Bayern can prosper and maintain their domestic success without the consistent goal threat provided by Lewandowski, even allowing for their ability to operate more fluently following his departure.
In fact, the crunch will undoubtedly come during close matches at the business end of the season, where games can be decided by a team’s ability to be clinical and ruthless in front of goal.