It will be good for Bundesliga if Leipzig beats Bayern - Jens Lehmann

After playing 26 matches each, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig are separated by just four points with Munich at 61 and Leipzig at 57.

Key player: Robert Lewandowski's (left) scoring prowess will surely be missed by Bayern on Saturday. - AP

If one lends an ear in the vicinity of Bundesliga clubs before the weekend, there will be a high chance of hearing vociferous discussions about the implications of Robert Lewandowski’s month-long injury.

The situation at hand is no less than the climax of a thriller - Bayern Munich, an almost impregnable force, undaunted by the challenges thrown at it, losing its talismanic striker for four weeks at a crucial juncture in the league and Europe. 

One might argue that Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick’s unit is a well-oiled one, not depending on the individual brilliance of one player, but even the biggest optimists cannot negate what Lewandowski brings to the team. This very factor is sure to ignite hope in RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann and his team.

 

Quizzed about the possibility of Leipzig beating Bayern Munich, former German international Jens Lehmann, in a media interaction ahead of Saturday’s game, said, “In terms of the Bundesliga it would be great to actually see Leipzig beating Bayern because we need to have competition…we need to have excitement. It is an even better chance for Leipzig to catch up to Bayern, which they could do with only the difference if one point.”

How are the two teams placed?

Both Bayern and Leipzig have played 26 matches each with only four points separating them. Bayern is at 61 points while Leipzig is at 57. A win for the Bundesliga champion on Saturday would command an even steadier lead while a Leipzig win will spice up the Bundesliga at the latter part of the season. 

However, Leipzig finds itself where Borussia Dortmund has found itself on so many occasions. Despite keeping pace with the German Champion many times, the Ruhr side derailed when it actually mattered, a thought which Lehmann agreed to, given the current context.

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“They (Leipzig) have a remarkable defensive record...unfortunately not in the big games. In the big games, they make mistakes…I hope they will not show them on Saturday because it will be great for the Bundesliga if Leipzig remains within one point of Bayern,” said Lehmann. 

Also, given the fact that Leipzig is the one team Flick has not won against Leipzig since taking charge (0-0 draw in Munich in February 2020 and a 3-3 draw in November), is surely going to be a psychological factor, relaying in the minds of both managers. 

If not Lewandowski, then who?

The natural alternative to Lewandowski is Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. However, given the Polish striker’s blistering form, Choupa Moting has hardly found game-time this season. It is to be seen whether he can shake the rust off and dazzle against Leipzig if he gets the nod.

Former German international and Arsenal goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann. - GETTY IMAGES

 

“I think they will still go with Choupa Moting. The reason why is that Leipzig is good at set-pieces and have tall players. If you take out a guy like Lewandowski and replace him with a smaller guy then sooner or later, they (Bayern) will lack a little bit of defensive power,” said Lehmann when quizzed on Flick’s choosing an alternative to his star-striker. 

Injury concerns

Bayern Munich, as of now, has no injury concerns apart from Lewandowksi. As far as Leipzig is concerned, it is still unclear whether it would have to do without defender Marcel Halstenberg after he was ordered into quarantine while with the German team after playing backgammon with a team-mate who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

Leipzig defender Dayot Upemecano, who is moving to Bayern Munich after this season is another doubt as he too is recovering from an injury.

Playing like a champion

Hansi Flick has hardly put a foot wrong since taking charge of Bayern instilling a winning mentality and confidence in the team. But now, he faces an adverse situation, through which he has to navigate using his experience and expertise.

Lehmann, who was part of another historic dominating unit, the ‘Invincibles’ under Wenger’s tutelage at Arsenal, said he finds the same never-say-die attitude in Flick’s Bayern.

Only time will tell whether Flick can guide his team to yet another win on Saturday while Nageslmann will look to be close on Bayern’s heels and tighten the noose around the Bundesliga champion, which might break its dominance.

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