Miasanrot Awards: Player of the Season 2018/19

Justin Separator June 10, 2019

The Bayern attacker has been the subject of lively discussion in recent months and years. In important games, he rarely scores, his utilization of chances is generally developable and anyway he pretends to be on a level with Messi and Ronaldo. Especially his body language, when a teammate did not pass the ball to him, annoyed many fans.

However, this is only one of the things that are responsible for the fact that Lewandowski is often respected, but rarely really loved. Before the season began there were rumours once again that his advisors would push for a move to Madrid. To cut a long story short: Lewandowski exchanged his advisor Cezary Kucharski. His replacement: Pini Zahavi – one of the most important figures in the Neymar transfer to Paris.

What sounded unsettling at first only brought new wind into the rumours for a short time. Lewandowski stayed and showed again that he is one of the most important players of the squad. But it is not solely the sporting perspective that motivates us to now select the 30-year-old as player of the 2018/19 season following his Player of the Year Award 2016.

(Photos from left to right: Adam Pretty / Bongarts / Getty Images | Christof Stache / AFP / Getty Images | Patrik Stollarz / AFP / Getty Images)

Lewandowski’s special development

Robert Lewandowski has become known as a player who doesn’t care much about emotional relationships with his clubs. He is drawn to places where he has the best possible sporting and financial prospects. His farewell from Dortmund was much easier for most BVB fans than the farewell of Hummels or Götze.

A similar employment relationship developed in Munich over the years. The majority of fans respect him and value him for his goals. If you ask for one’ s favourite players, however, he is likely to have less chances for top rankings.

In the summer of 2018, Lewandowski did not flirt with a change for the first time. But Bayern remained firm and Niko Kovač also played a part in keeping the Pole in Munich with his personal conversations. His appreciation seemed to impress the attacker.

Stats show: Lewandowski was as strong as he hasn’t been for a long time!

Lewandowski scored 40 goals in 47 competitive games. One goal less than last year (one game less) and his lowest total since the 2014/15 season (25 goals in 49 matches). He has dished out 13 assists – a personal record together with the 2014/15, 2013/14 and 2012/13 seasons (but with significantly fewer of his own goals in all three years).

Only in the 2016/17 season was he able to collect 53 goals participations (then 43 goals and 10 assists). On average, Lewandowski was directly involved in a Bayern goal every 78.84 minutes this season. This is a top score, which he was only able to beat in the 2016/17 season (every 75.86 minutes). Also in the European comparison he is in a good position: Only Mbappé (PSG, every 62.5 minutes), Tadić (Ajax, every 77.3 minutes), Dabbur (RB Salzburg, every 69.13 minutes) were better among the humans and Messi (Barcelona, every 55.1 minutes) is from another planet anyway. But Lewandowski left players like Ronaldo, Agüero, Suárez, Salah, Benzema or Sterling well behind.

The striker scored 4 goals in 2 games against Borussia Dortmund, 2 in 2 games against Champions-League semi-finalist Ajax and also in the DFB Pokal he excelled with 7 goals (2 in the final against RB Leipzig, 2 in the semi-final against Bremen) and 3 assists (2 in the close duel with Hertha BSC). So he had his finger in the pie in the important moments. The fact that he only had 2 harmless finishes against Liverpool in 2 games can be reproached to him, but then one transfigures that the influence of a striker is particularly limited when the own team hardly comes forward.

From vain star to leading player

This is probably also the main reason why many fans are rather divided when they have to rate Lewandowski’s season. It is extremely difficult for a striker to operate in a system that has obvious problems in shaping the offensive. The Reds were often dependent on random or individually superior actions.

Lewandowski gave everything to adapt to this. His dropping and sideways movements led on the one hand to periods of control in the offensive midfield and on the other hand to spaces that Gnabry, Coman or Müller could use for themselves. That Bayerns number 9 can shine also as a somewhat dropping playmaker and/or even as false 9, is certainly not new.

What was new, however, was the consistency and body language with which Lewandowski went ahead. That he was the captain temporarily is no coincidence. He has developed as a human being and as a leader this year. Trivialities no longer played an important role. Lewandowski focused on how he could help the team the most without getting lost in vanity.

Robert Lewandowski must have felt alone in the past season because of the rather unsustainable offensive concept, but he did not get lost also.
(Photo: Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Lewandowski takes responsibility

Maybe Lewandowski is also the player on whom Niko Kovač had the most positive influence this season. His work rate on the pitch is enormous and he is not afraid to chase his opponent in any pressing situation. The fact that he sometimes gestures or is dissatisfied when a team-mate doesn’t bring the ball to him is simply part of the mentality of a top striker.

How Lewandowski also celebrated goals from his fellow players and became the key passer himself is remarkable. There were also several scenes in which the top goal scorer of the Bundesliga gave his colleagues applauding courage after unsuccessful actions.

You don’t have to make Robert Lewandowski a figure of identification, which he will never be to 100%. But as a person and as a player he has grown this year. He assumes responsibility on and off the pitch and has shown that he is one of the best strikers in the world.

The next step

At the age of 30, Lewandowski will now enter the final phase of his career. What he still needs is a big international title. Although FC Bayern does not give the impression that they will be among the top favourites again in the next 1-2 years, he seems to have opted for the Munich team.

Rumours are circulating that even a further contract extension could be on the horizon. Surely this also counts to the development of Robert Lewandowski. In the past season he was involved in more goals than he has been for a long time. He is also one of the most important players in the squad when it comes to the structure of the team on the pitch. Just how good is this man when Bayern’s offensive concept improves and he makes even more of his chances?

Because it’ s also a fact: The site understat calculates 33.14 expected goals for his Bundesliga season alone. With 22 goals he probably underperformed despite all variations of the model. With 53 goal participations in 47 competitive matches, this is probably a point of criticism that can only be made for the really great ones. And although he is far from perfect, he belongs in this category.

The editors congratulate Robert Lewandowski on the most important title of the year: The Miasanrot Award for the 2018/19 season player!



»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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