Robert Lewandowski

Bayern Munich will come face to face with Barcelona and their former talisman Robert Lewandowski when the teams face off in Champions League Group C on Tuesday.

Lewandowski publicly demanded his eventual €50 million transfer to Barcelona this summer after eight seasons at Bayern during which he scored 344 goals and lifted the Champions League in 2020.

Bayern scrambled to try and replace to Polish sharp-shooter, and signed Sadio Mane from Liverpool in a €41m deal. The Senegalese has scored five goals in eight games in all competitions since, but Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann concedes he is not the same player.

“There were only a few No.9s on the market who had the quality to improve us,” he reflected at his press conference ahead of Bayern’s meeting with VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

“The market’s very thin and classic penalty-box predators are no longer trainer as such. If we’d found a top, top, No.9 for an affordable price, we’d have done it.”

Other strikers found other solutions

Bayern were linked with Ajax’s Sebastien Haller and Stuttgart’s Sasa Kalajdzic before they sealed moves to Borussia Dortmund and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively, and the German champions have since been lining up with no recognised striker.

Lewandowski, meanwhile, has hit the ground running at Camp Nou, scoring eight goals in five games in all competitions and helping them up to second in La Liga behind champions Real Madrid.

Bayern are third domestically, behind Dortmund and surprise league leaders Freiburg.

“It’s a challenge because we’re not where we want to be in the table,” Nagelsmann continued. ” We have to move into the fast lane and hit the gas as soon as possible. If someone has the handbrake on against Stuttgart, they can just park their car against Barcelona.

“It would be stupid to ignore the Barcelona game. If they play s**t on Saturday, then of course they won’t play on Tuesday.”

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