January 19, 2020

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Bayern have fun – and Hertha lost faith – sport

As far as you could tell, Robert Lewandowski looked really, really motivated while warming up. The invulnerable had only once laid on the operating table during the winter break, really only for a very short time, and what happens? The others are getting cheeky. Timo Werner scores two goals and overtakes him in the list of goalscorers, and brazenly they now even have a striker whom they adore in Dortmund, of all places in Dortmund, where at least the best striker of all time was Robert Lewandowski.

Lewandowski was "close to 100 percent" again four weeks after his groin operation, said Bayern coach Hansi Flick before the start of the second half of the season at Hertha BSC and breathed a sigh of relief. Bayern always need Lewandowski, but at the moment they may need him a little more, because they have a little too little of everything: They have too few points, at least compared to leaders RB Leipzig, and they have too few players, too compared to all other competitors.

While host Hertha regularly and properly filled his bench with eight field players, Flick inevitably left two squad positions free. And of the six players who were sitting outside were a Zirkzee, a Cuisance, a Dajaku and a Mai. And the man, who is called Serge Gnabry and is known from film, radio and television, had just returned from a short injury break.

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Timo Werner against Union Berlin

Faster than its shadow

Timo Werner can hardly be stopped: In the 3-1 victory over Union Berlin, the Leipzig striker hits spectacularly and unreachably – and overtakes Robert Lewandowski in the list of goalscorers.By Javier Cáceres

The reassuring thing about Bayern is that at the beginning of a game the first eleven always play and not the bank. And the first eleven in this league are usually enough to control the opponent – and to play so tired that in the end it is a deserved 4-0 victory. After the successful start of the second half of the season in Berlin, Bayern are now second again – and, dear Timo Werner, Lewandowski now also has 20 goals.

After a quarter of an hour, the Bavarians had already gained 80 percent possession of the ball, and they still had plenty of time to wonder during their ball passages. It was astonishing how under-tempered the team of coaching hotline Jürgen Klinsmann started this game. The Berliners had a deep expectation for Munich, and they were lucky that Lewandowski's shape was initially close to 100 percent. After a quarter of an hour, the Pole actually played Thomas Müller instead of taking on three Berliners himself. Müller's flank landed in nothing.

Mueller's unloved right-wing role showed what Bayern was missing in the first half. In the absence of wingers Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman, Müller and Ivan Perisic stormed over the sides, they did so to the best of their knowledge and belief, but dashing runs and saucy dribbling are not part of their repertoire, and so Bayern's wing play was representative of their lecture in the first half: The pace was lacking to seriously threaten a first division team that defends properly. In such phases, only one person can often help the favorite: a center forward with a quota of at least 100 percent. Lewandowski did not quite have it, after all, he was allowed to take the biggest Bayern chance of the first half into account: In the 25th minute he spiked the ball just centimeters past the post.

In this first half, the Munich team did not succeed in what they do so often: With their dominance, they did not gradually find their way into this game, they rather found their way out of the game. The completely invisible Berlin Hertha was now more visible, but that was not enough for more than a little confusion and two headballs by striker Davie Selke.

The Munich team managed to combine themselves into the game

When a game goes like this, the favorite's coach often has a nice, difficult task at half time. He then looks at his substitutes – and often cannot make a decision: Which of my demanding national team players do I bring first, who is the one who is most likely to change the game? But as I said: Flick saw Zirkzee, Dajaku, Cuisance, Mai.

After the restart, the Bavarians started immediately and tried to put pressure on the Berliners. And unlike in the first half, the Munich team now managed to combine themselves into the game. They gave the Berliners no more rest, and the active Perisic indicated with a double chance (57th, 58th) what would happen there: Lewandowski played with his back to the goal a close to 100 percent pass on Leon Goretzka, whose flank landed on the Perisic detour with a man who had finally left his right wing: Müller smashed the ball into the goal for the lead – at that very moment both teams knew how the game would end. The people of Munich now had fun and the Berliners completely lost faith.

A Lewandowski goal was still withdrawn by the video assistant because of a foul on the goalkeeper, but after Lewandowski penalty goal (73.) all dams broke at Hertha. Thiago with a wonderful goal (76th) and Perisic with a header (84th) made it completely forgotten in the end that this game had been tight for a while. Flick also brought Dajaku, Cuisance and Gnabry.

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. (tagsToTranslate) Bundesliga (t) FC Bayern Munich (t) Hertha BSC Berlin (t) Robert Lewandowski (t) Sport (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung