Lewandowski is 'comfortable' playing again
Robert Lewandowski is enthusiastic about the return of the Bundesliga, even though he has missed his family this week with Bayern Munich enduring a week of quarantine in their team hotel to prepare for today’s fixture at Union Berlin.
Bayern are one point clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table with nine games to play. They are bidding for their eighth consecutive title win, with Lewandowski the top scorer in the league with 25 goals.
The Polish international reflects the consensus among players in German football in welcoming the chance to play, doubtless also reflecting the confidence German residents have in their government, with excess deaths for March and April up six per cent as opposed to 66 per cent in the UK.
Lewandowski said: ‘We’re very happy the Bundesliga is coming back, that we can play again on the pitch. I think this situation in Germany around coronavirus is stabilising. I’m not afraid. Because of what has happened in Germany in recent times, we’re very comfortable and we’re sure we can play again. That for us is very important. We’re not thinking about coronavirus. That was a very difficult time for all the world but in last few weeks in Germany the situation stabilised and that meant a lot.’
Lewandowski added that there has been no issues with full-contact training. ‘We have prepared for this game with full contact. We are very prepared. Maybe for first 20 minutes we won’t have same confidence, but I hope about five, 10 minutes the confidence will be coming back like before.
‘[Playing without fans] will be something new for us. Maybe we’ve played one two times before without fans in the stadium but we have to adapt very quickly in this situation and accept that it is something new. But we have to think that so many millions of fans are watching us on TV, so I hope the quality and skills stay on the same level.’
Newly-installed manager Hansi Flick insisted that the team’s focus will be on completing a domestic league and cup double. ‘Not much will change except for the face masks in the dugout,’ he said. ‘We will play without supporters for the moment, but when we do play football, we still want to be successful. We owe that to our fans who are not in the stadium with us.
‘It is our job at Bayern to play beautiful, exciting football. Showing our quality every time we take to the pitch, it’s normal to put all our focus on these nine games left.’
Bayern chairman and former player Karl-Heinz Rummenigge made a point of thanking German politicians, whose decisions on containing the pandemic had facilitated the swift return of the Bundesliga, the first of the major European leagues to restart.
‘No player was critical [about] restarting playing football in this not normal life,’ Rummenigge said. ‘Life may be better in Germany than many other countries but life here is still not normal. It was very important that we restart to show that football is back — not with the best atmosphere, with no spectators but there is no alternative.
‘Everybody wants decisions [about the league] to be made on the pitch not sat around a table. I have many colleagues in Spain, Italy and England and we have exchanged a lot about what we are doing to get a green light to finish the season.’Daily Mail