Robert Lewandowski move to Bayern Munich from Borussia Dortmund designed for new coach Pep Guardiola
Dortmund's pride has been severely wounded by recent transfer sagas
“The whole atmosphere was brilliant. Only the result was shit,” said Jürgen Klopp after the Champions League Final. It was a neat summary of affairs for Borussia Dortmund.
They may have gone home empty handed, but both Klopp's side and their supporters covered themselves in glory at Wembley. The flash mob organised to greet them at Stansted Airport was indicative of just how much pride the defeated Dortmund players could allow themselves.
The aftermath, though, may prove to bring the most painful defeat of all. Bayern, not content with simply beating Dortmund in all competitions, are now set to relieve their rivals of their two most prized possessions. Mario Götze is already on his way to Munich, and Robert Lewandowski is set to follow.
It was Jupp Heynckes who set the ball rolling. In the post match press conference, Heynckes gushed about the squad he would be leaving Pep Guardiola, concluding that "we won't have to wait very long for Lewandowski either."
Lewandowski himself told the press after the game that "When the right moment comes, it will all become clear." For his ubiquitous agent, the right moment was barely more than twenty four hours later. Cezary Kucharski reportedly told the Polish press that "We already know where Robert will be playing next year. The Final wasn't the right moment for negotiations. Though there's been no formal offer, for us, it's clear."
Dortmund, meanwhile, are resolutely clinging to the irritated party line. They insist that there has been no offer, no negotiations, and certainly no deal. You can forgive them their stubbornness. The loss of Lewandowski is one which looks set to be more harmful to Klopp's side than that of Götze. The latter would be replaced either by Christian Eriksen or Kevin de Bruyne – or indeed both – but there is no obvious successor to Lewandowski. Dortmund are determined to keep him at the club until the end of his contract next summer – even if that means losing out on a considerable transfer fee.
Recent history indicates that they may have a chance of success. When Bayern want a player, they usually get him, but in recent years there have been several examples of Bundesliga clubs holding their own. Bayer Leverkusen refused to sell Arturo Vidal despite Bayern's most vigorous advances, and the player eventually left for Juventus. Dortmund themselves, meanwhile, managed to persuade Marco Reus away from a move to the Allianz Arena when he left Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The Bundesliga is bracing itself for another battle of insults between its two most prominent clubs. Hans Joachim Watzke, BVB's bullish chief executive, coldly instructed Heynckes to concentrate on picking his team for next week's German Cup Final. Dortmund's pride has been severely wounded in these two transfer sagas, and they will waste no time in showing their disapproval of Bayern's transfer policy.
As for Bayern, the move for Lewandowski, like the one for Götze, is one clearly designed for Pep Guardiola. Where Jupp Heynckes has relied on a strong, more isolated centre forward in the mould of Mario Mandžukić, the new man's philosophy will, it seems, favour the more flexible Lewandowski. Mandžukić, who was only a few goals away from the golden boot in the Bundesliga this year, would be forgiven for feeling a little aggrieved, were he to lose his place in the starting eleven so swiftly.
Of course, nothing is certain yet. As BVB are repeatedly saying, there has been no official request. But whatever happens in this transfer saga – and it looks as if the will of Bayern and the Lewandowski camp may just prevail – any mutual respect which was maintained in the build up to last weekend's Final is fast disintegrating. The niceties are over, and it is back to verbally vicious business as usual for Bayern and Dortmund.
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