No Robert Lewandowski, no problem – Jamal Musiala stands tall as a future Bayern Munich superstar
Even without Robert Lewandowski, FC Bayern Munich have started the season in electric form, and at the heart of that fast start has been Jamal Musiala. Thilo Komma-Pollath of Eurosport Germany took a look at the brilliant performances of 'Magic Musiala'. That article has been translated and adapted by Pete Sharland of Eurosport UK ahead of the weekend’s action, where Bayern will face VFL Bochum.
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Dear footballing world. For the past eight years you have never doubted the superstar of Bayern Munich. Robert Lewandowski was always the answer, the Polish striker was not just the best in the Bundesliga, he was one of the best in the world.
But after Lewandowski and his 253 goals left the building, it all felt a little different. After some choice words, Lewandowski was gone and immediately the questions started. Who is going to score the goals now? How will Bayern be able to survive without Lewandowski? That was the general mood despite the arrival of Sadio Mane.
Well it turns out that was all drivel. After two Bundesliga games (and a victory over RB Leipzig in the Super Cup) nobody is talking about Lewandowski anymore, at least not anyone in Germany.
In Spain, it may well be different, but even then Lewandowski isn’t quite at full pace with his new club. It’s all been strangely forgotten, but that shows just how fast football can be.
So why has he been forgotten? It’s simple.
Jamal Musiala, the new Bayern muse.
Not many can do what Musiala can do
Once again last weekend 'Magic Musiala', which is the newest alliteration to catch on, had a special moment. In the 33rd minute against Wolfsburg the teenager got the ball just outside the box.
With a quick turn he sent Patrick Wimmer and Maxence Lacroix chasing shadows, he stumbled but he didn’t fall – like most others would – he got back up, looks up, takes a moment and then seconds later the ball is in the bottom left of the Wolfsburg goal.
Watching the goal makes you feel as if you’re watching a masterpiece in its creation, it makes you wonder how many 19-year-olds could do that. The answer? Not many if any at all. At the moment Musiala has scored in every game and is the most prominent player on the pitch. That was the case against Leipzig in the Super Cup, Frankfurt in the season opener and now Wolfsburg in the first home match of the season.
So far he has four goals and an assist - and a new record: the youngest German to hit 14 Bundesliga goals. He also has endless praise from legends of the game ranging from Michael Ballack to Lothar Matthaus, Giulia Gwinn to Oliver Kahn.
So what is it specifically that separates Musiala from his peers? Perhaps the secret lies in the fact that he can do so many things at once: his touch, his technical elegance, his speed, his 1v1 play, his goalscoring ability, his instinctive space play and his humility. A pretty good set. The latter trait in particular is in demand in Munich, there are far too many cases of players who have lost their grip on reality at the first sign of success.
It's interesting to hear what Bayern’s CEO Kahn said about Musiala - pointing out that he is “calm in the head.” In other words, where other players may get nervous or scared, Musiala stays completely calm.
The goal against Wolfsburg is a case in point. He keeps his head up despite being under pressure with his ability to see every angle. Although he’s keeping focused on the ball, he’s so good that he can catch defenders and goalkeeper off guard with quick-fire shooting. Musiala, unlike the notoriously bored and anything but humble Leroy Sane is a difference-maker. That means: when things get tight, he can be the spark Bayern needs.
MUNICH, GERMANY - AUGUST 14: Jamal Musiala of Bayern Muenchen and Alphonso Davies of Bayern Muenchen look on during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern München and VfL Wolfsburg at Allianz Arena on August 14, 2022 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Roland K
Image credit: Getty Images
Lewandowski’s departure creates space for something new
Everyone was wondering about what would happen with the diversity of Bayern’s attack. And it’s possible that people were so obsessed with the departure of Lewandowski that they missed quite how many opportunities would be available that previously weren’t.
The Bayern gameplan is no longer aimed at just one person, which often made it static and reliant on Lewandowski scoring (not the worst bet!).
If Musiala is a building block for Bayern’s future then you don’t need to know whether he’s a playmaker, space opener, passer or goalscorer – he can do all of these things.
While Lewandowski, often left to his own devices, waited for his chance with his back to the opposing goal, the new Bayern attacking force with Musiala, Sadio Mane and Thomas Muller has turned its head around, they are looking ahead, and that is going to be a problem for Bayern’s opponents.