Bayern Munich have announced the signing of Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski after months of not so secretly trying to lure him in. The Polish international will join Bayern on a free transfer at the end of this season, when his contract with their 2013 Champions League final opponents runs out. This is an excellent signing for Bayern and one that could finally bring some peace to the club's long suffering fans, who have been forced to endure indignities and heartbreak in recent years.
For starters, Bayern only won five trophies in 2013. Sure, the Bundesliga title, Champions League title, DFB Pokal, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup title are all lovely additions to the trophy cabinet — especially all in one year — but without the DFL-Supercup, it's all just a bit embarrassing. It goes without saying that most people visiting Bayern's museum look at those five trophies and say to themselves, "Well they got all the big ones. Plus the Club World Cup. But they couldn't win the most insignificant of the bunch. They're obviously not that good. Let's watch golf instead."
The club that did take the DFL-Supercup? Borussia Dortmund. And this was after Bayern thought they crushed Dortmund's will to exist by announcing a deal for another one of their best players, Mario Gotze, before going on to beat them in the Champions League final. But instead of disbanding their club, Dortmund beat Bayern 4-2 in the DFL-Supercup to start this season.
Adding to that initial disappointment under new manager Pep Guardiola, who won six trophies with Barcelona in 2009 and another five in 2011 (proving how insignificant Bayern's 2013 achievement was), is the fact that Bayern have been far from perfect in the Bundesliga this season. Though they have not lost a match, they have conceded eight goals (half as many as Bayer Leverkusen, who have conceded the second fewest) and only managed a draw twice.
How horrible for the Bayern fans who made the trips for those two away matches, expecting a now customary win as the reward for their journey but coming away with a draw instead. This is the type of suffering that supporters of most other clubs will never be forced to tolerate. Clearly Bayern need Lewandowski to provide the goals that can turn those painful draws into bearable wins next season.
More goals are something that Bayern need. As a team, they lead the Bundesliga with 42 this season (just four more than Dortmund), but their leading scorer and current first-choice striker, Mario Mandzukic, has only scored 10 times thus far. Lewandowski, meanwhile, is the league's joint leader with 11 goals this season. In an age when stats and mathematics are increasingly used to prove the true value of individual performances, I think we can all agree that 11 goals in indisputably better than 10 and that Mario Mandzukic should be ashamed of himself.
So, Bayern's need for Lewandowski is obvious: They need him to win six trophies instead of five, win every league match instead of all but two, and score slightly more than their current top scorer. Plus, there's always the chance that everyone on the team right now could suffer career ending injuries in a freak Jenga accident, leaving Lewandowski as their only healthy player next season. These are things the most successful clubs must consider.
Of course, Bayern are tempting fate with this addition. As Real Madrid's various waves of Galacticos have repeatedly demonstrated, sometimes the assembly of a dizzying collection of names doesn't translate to the complete and total domination expected of them. Maybe Lewandowski will be that one star too many for Bayern and upset the balance they have achieved. Or maybe they will continue to win just about everything for the next few years until another European powerhouse inevitably emerges.
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