Robert Lewandowski Says Bayern Munich 'Played Too Defensive' in Liverpool Defeat

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2019

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski reacts during the UEFA Champions League, last 16, second leg football match Bayern Munich v Liverpool in Munich, southern Germany, on March 13, 2019. (Photo by GUENTER SCHIFFMANN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski believes the Bundesliga giants lost to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday because they approached the game too defensively. 

Liverpool beat Bayern 3-1 at the Allianz Arena in the second leg of their last-16 tie, with the two sides having played out a goalless draw at Anfield in the first leg.

Lewandowski spoke to former Norway international Jan Aage Fjortoft for Viasport Fotball:

Viasport Fotball @ViasportFotball

.@lewy_official: – I think we were too defensive. 🎤 @JanAageFjortoft https://t.co/0WABXEwz4A

He said (h/t MailOnline's Sam McEvoy):

"Of course, we knew it would be a tough game. But in both games I think we played too defensive. We didn't try to push forward to create situations—in the first game and today. 

"We didn't risk much, we were playing at home it was our game, but that's why I think Liverpool beat us. We were playing too deep, we didn't take risks, I don't know why. 

"We tried to push Liverpool, but offensively sometimes it was two against four players and that's why we didn't do much."

The Reds went ahead thanks to Sadio Mane, before an own goal from Joel Matip—who was attempting to intercept a cross from Serge Gnabry to Lewandowski—gave Bayern hope.

Headers from Virgil van Dijk and Mane swung the tie back in Liverpool's favour, though, ensuring Bayern failed to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011.

Here's a look at Wednesday's highlights (U.S. and UK only, respectively):

Bleacher Report Live @brlive

HIGHLIGHTS: Liverpool went into Munich and left with a #UCL quarterfinal spot 🔴 https://t.co/DsocY5bbcX

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

Liverpool turned up in Munich and saw off Bayern in their own back yard 🙌 Another famous European night for the Reds ❤️ #NoFilterUCL caught it all... https://t.co/rczQqNBuch

It was a match in which Bayern created few opportunities, save for Gnabry's cross for Matip's own goal and another excellent ball that Lewandowski failed to connect with.

Football writer Karl Matchett put the German side's attacking struggles against Liverpool into further damning context:

Karl Matchett @karlmatchett

Bayern Munich had two shots on target across 180 minutes.

Bayern have scored 62 goals in 25 Bundesliga matches this season. For a team of their quality in the final third, it will be a significant source of disappointment not to have particularly threatened the Reds.

David Lynch of the Evening Standard felt Lewandowski was anonymous:

David Lynch @LynchStandard

Can't help but think Bayern would have stood a better chance had they played Robert Lewandowski in either leg, though. On a related note, how good was Joel Matip in both games? Own goal or not.

The 30-year-old has been one of Europe's most prolific goalscorers in recent years—he's scored more than 40 goals in all competitions in each of the past three seasons—but his recent record in Champions League knockout matches has been disappointing:

DW Sports @dw_sports

Robert Lewandowski's scoring record in his last 7 #UCL knockout games: Liverpool (h): Liverpool (a): Real Madrid (a): Real Madrid (h): Sevilla (h): Sevilla (a): Besiktas (a): Besiktas (h): ⚽️⚽️🅰️ Lewandowski's last 6 group stage games: 8 goals #FCBLFC https://t.co/BW2OTO7xXM

He felt support was lacking from his team-mates on Wednesday. "I have a lot of duels today," he said. "It was very difficult because I was alone. If you are alone against two or three good players, it's very difficult to play."

Bayern were without the suspended Thomas Muller, while Franck Ribery—though he bagged a hat-trick of assists in 35 minutes against Wolfsburg on Saturday—will be 36 in April and is no longer the player he was.

They have a good chance of winning the Bundesliga title now they have reeled in Borussia Dortmund, whom they are ahead of on goal difference, having been nine points behind, but questions will be asked of manager Niko Kovac following their early exit in Europe.

Whatever happens with Kovac, one of Bayern's priorities this summer should be to find another attacking option or two who can support or provide an alternative to Lewandowski.


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