Robert who? Bayern Munich kicked off its post Robert Lewandowski era with a convincing 5-3 win over RB Leipzig in the DFL-Super Cup.
Former Liverpool striker Sadio Mane appears to be the man picked by Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann to replace Lewandowski in a more fluid front four.
Playing in a front line that included Muller, Gnabry, and Musiala, Mane floated around the attack wreaking havoc on the RB Leipzig defense. His opening goal is quite reminiscent of a Lewandowski goal as he latched on to Gnabry’s pass in stride and made things look easy.
Nagelsmann wanted a fluid attack as Mane can be used centrally or on the wing, he’s certainly getting that in this Bayern team as Mane unlocks a new dimensions for Bayern. A tactically astute manager, Nagelsmann now has different tools to line up as Bayern tries to secure a Champions League title. With the Bundesliga being an assumed title for the team each year, everything that they do to improve is to ensure that multiple trophies come back to Munich each season. Having Mane to keep things fresh will help ensure that happens this season.
As for the game itself, Bayern’s talented youngster Jamal Musiala opened the scoring in the 14th minute before Mane and Benjamin Pavard took the lead to three before halftime. Things ended up getting sloppy late on, as RB Leipzig got some goals to make this match look more competitive than it ever was.
Leipzig got a goal back via Marcel Halstenberg in the 59th minute but before Serge Gnabry got Bayern’s fourth on the board by following up Thomas Muller’s shot with an emphatic finish. Then a late mistake from Pavard fouling Dani Olmo gave Christopher Nkunku a chance from the penalty spot. Nkunku drove his penalty into the roof of the net inspiring Leipzig to eke back into the match. Olmo scored a goal to add to his bright cameo but Bayern were able to hold on in the final minutes to lift their first trophy of the season with Leroy Sane scoring quite a goal to put things out of reach.
It’s disappointing to see a comfortable 3-0 halftime lead turn into a close finish but once Matthijs de Ligt is up to full fitness, it should improve Bayern’s defense by leaps and bounds. More importantly, scoring five goals against one of their closest competitors in Germany is an early sign that as Bayern chase their 11th consecutive Bundesliga title, the team will have no problem transitioning after the loss of legendary striker Robert Lewandowski to Barcelona.