Round-Up: Player of the Month – September
It was the seventh minute of the match against Paderborn that caused all of football Germany to utter a sigh of relief. This guy Robert Lewandowski, who had been scoring at will all season, proved that he was human after all. He improbably failed to convert a pass by Serge Gnabry across the penalty area that had completely taken out the goalkeeper into the empty net from hardly ten meters out. The goal celebrations by tens of thousands of people about to erupt were brutally cut short and Paderborn’s defense looked almost as amazed as the striker himself.
He scores and scores and scores
It could not have come as a surprise that Lewandowski managed to score in the same game yet. The records Lewandowski has set or broken will be familiar to all. Most goals scored after six matchdays, longest consecutive goal scoring streak since the beginning of the season.
The Supercup match against Dortmund before the beginning of the season was the only competitive match so far this season in which the striker did not score a goal.
Internationally too he has stormed to the top of the charts. In the Premier League, Sergio Aguero leads the top scorer ranking with eight goals after seven matches. In Spain, Portugal, and France, six goals are enough to make the first place, and in Italy it only takes five.
Lewandowski then and now – a different kind of striker?
Looking at the stats, Lewandowski seems to have become a different striker. While he is more involved in his team’s game then at most times during his career, his number of key passes played per 90 minutes is as low as it has ever been. He played a pass that initiated a shot at a rate of only .18 this season. Last season he managed an average of 1.43 per game.
He has also much fewer finishes from within the six yard box than in the past. Only every tenth of his shots on goal has come from within this area this season, with no one resulting in a goal. Last season, he still finished every fifth attack and netted 40% of his goals from there. Of course, attempts on goal will be most effective from within the six yard area. Lewandowski’s career record is at 34%. So can he still do better?
A look at his expected goals (xG) value seems to refute this proposition. He has a sum total xG of 6.87 per 90 minutes so far this season, more than two aggregate xG per 90 ahead of second place in the Bundesliga. Having already scored 10 goals, he has hence exceeded his xG by more than three goals thus far. This is in stark contrast to last season, where he managed to score only 22 league goals, 11 below his aggregate xG value. During all of his career, Lewandowski has not managed to exceed his aggregate xG value by more than 1.5 goals per 90 minutes in a single season.
Which Lewandowski are we going to see this season? Presumably, he will not be able to keep up his outsized return for much longer and his actual goal yield will move closer to his xG value. But he certainly has already planted the seeds for another 30+ goal campaign.
And although his stats do not reveal him to be one, Lewandowski is a real team player. It was not least the penalty kick in the game against Cologne that he graciously gave to Coutinho that showed that the 2019 edition of Robert Lewandowski is no longer the selfish Lewandowski of previous years.
With the 4:1 against SC Preußen Münster the Bayern Reserves managed the long awaited escape from the relegation zone of the 3rd division. In the upcoming home game against Eintracht Braunschweig, this will enable the team to play liberated again. It is quite possible that Michael Cuisance will be used again. Recently the team appeared somewhat safer in the defensive movement than just a few weeks ago. In the long run, stability in the defense will be the decisive factor in the fight for survival in the third division.
U19: The team of the coaching tandem Demichelis/Schwarz celebrated two big victories. The team won against league rivals VfB Stuttgart and Tottenham in London with 4:1. An exclamation mark for the national and international competition. The small phase of weakness in the league seems to be over. Now it is a matter of taking the next step next Sunday against Energie Cottbus in the third competition, the DFB Cup. In the last two years the second round was always as far as it went.
U17: Also the home game against the KSC (2:0) was again a tough affair. The team of Miroslav Klose doesn’t really get off the ground yet, can only seldom call up its outstanding potential offensively. Due to the draw in the duel between the direct rivals Hoffenheim and Augsburg, the team was able to make up ground to the top of the table and is only two points behind the new leader Mainz 05..
The Bavarian women beat MSV Duisburg 4:0 at home. Coach Jens Scheuer rotated for the game after the match against Gothenburg. Carina Schlüter was allowed to prove herself in the goal. U20 national player Kristin Kögel rotated from the second team into midfield and also Anja Pfluger, also from the FCB II was substituted. Lina Magull tied a brace, Nicole Rolser and Jovana Damnjanović scored once each.
In the Champions League the Kazakh BIIK-Kazygurt was drawn as the next opponent. The round of sixteen matches will take place in the middle and end of October.
After the Munich team had won the G-League International Challenge in Uruguay in preseason, they opened their league season as reigning champions against the promoted team from Hamburg. An extremely one-sided game resulted in the second highest victory in the club’s history. At halftime, the completely overwhelmed guests had scored just 17 points. In the end there was a 111:55 victory. Five Munich players scored double digits. All active Bayern players scored.
The first real test was on Thursday with the match in the EuroLeague against Armani Milan. After the Munich team narrowly lost the first quarter, all remaining quarters of the match could be won to a 78:64 opening victory.
Links of the week
Tottenham Hotspur – Bayern Munich: Spurs Fade With Their Press As Bayern Redefine What It Means To Be Ruthless (2-7) | Om Arvind | BetweenThePosts.net
The State of the Bundesliga Title Race | Constantin Eckner | Spielverlagerung.com
Joshua Kimmich is the key to Bayern’s revitalized midfield | Sam Planting| Statsbomb
Alphonso Davies: The Bayern Munich winger born in a refugee camp | BBC
A Conversation With Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness | Grant Wahl | Planet Futbol
Stability: Manchester City and Liverpool focus on continuity | CIES Football Observatory
Robert Lewandowski And Philippe Coutinho: Bayern Munich’s Transfer Gamble Is Paying Off | Manuel Veth | Forbes
ESPN And Bundesliga Sign Six-Year U.S. Television Deal | Manuel Veth | Forbes