Bayern Munich vs. Dortmund 2013 is shaping up to be a terrific Champions League Finals. And while Dortmund is fortunate enough to have a star in Robert Lewandowski, he will not be a factor in this match.
There is no denying Lewandowski's skill. Only 24, Lewandowski possesses a tremendous amount of athleticism, size, speed and technical skill. He's scored 35 goals this season. Karl-Heinz Riedle, who played for Dortmund in the 90s, told The Guardian that:
His superior technique and strength means you can play him up front all on his own. He shields the ball perfectly and then brings team-mates into play. And then he is a real poacher as well. It is also noteworthy how he has dealt mentally with all the transfer rumours. He has just kept on playing and that attitude has all the hallmarks of a great player.
That skill allows him to take advantage of any space the defense gives him. However, there will be less space against Bayern Munich. Twenty-year-old Mario Gotze, who is a tremendous midfielder with a knack for dangerous passes, often takes defensive pressure off of Lewandowski. Gotze is a goal scorer in his own right, with 24 this year. When the two are on the pitch together, defenses have to make a choice on whom to defend.
It'll be an easy choice for Bayern, as Gotze will miss the final with a hamstring injury. Instead of having to deal with two dynamic offensive players at once, Bayern can shift all of its defensive attention to stopping Lewandowski. By doing so, the Polish striker will have very little room with which to operate.
Even if Lewandowski can get a clear shot, he'll have to deal with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Neuer is on fire right now, with four clear sheets in the quarterfinals and semifinals:
Neuer is stopping everything he sees and is playing the best soccer of his career. With a great defense in front of him, Neuer probably won't see too many shots, and any shots he sees from Lewandowski will probably not be of the best quality.
Lewandowski is going to have a tough time. His skill is undeniable, but the circumstances in this matchup make it difficult for Lewandowski to make a huge impact.
Without Lewndowski, Dortmund will have a tough time beating the better Bayern team. This game could get ugly.