Bundesliga Breakdown: How Lewandowski, Bayern sliced through Fortuna

Munich players, as Robert Lewandowski, centre, celebrates scoring his first goal against Fortuna Düsseldorf. (Christof Stache/Pool via AP)

Every week for the remainder of the season, Sportsnet will choose a top play from the Bundesliga and break it down in depth to highlight its magnificence.

There were several goal-of-the-week candidates in the Bundesliga during Matchday 29. From Leonardo Bittencourt’s rocket to Borussia Dortmund’s third versus Paderborn, it was difficult to choose one.

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As fantastic as those goals were, one in particular stood out over the rest. Robert Lewandowski’s 43rd-minute strike against Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday was as fluid as they come.

Here’s a complete breakdown of the Lewandowski goal.

Picking the lock

Already trailing 2-0, Fortuna Düsseldorf could see it needed to overload its left flank considering that’s where both Bayern goals were created. When David Alaba has possession of the ball to begin the buildup, Fortuna’s shape has shifted to its left, so there’s very little space to maneuver for Bayern.

Seeing this, Alaba pushes into the attacking half without any pressure. He shifts the ball to right-back Benjamin Pavard, who lays it off to Thomas Müller along the right touchline.

However, Fortuna’s players have ensured there’s no space to exploit, which leads to the ball returning to Alaba.

It’s clear that off-the-ball movement is needed to pull Fortuna’s players out of position. Alaba doesn’t have anyone closing him down, sees Lewandowski is open and passes to him.

Once the ball arrives to Lewandowski, it unlocks Fortuna’s penalty area for Bayern.

The space interpreters

With Lewandowski in possession, there are a number of possible routes to goal for Bayern.

When the Polish striker received the ball, Mathias Jørgensen followed Lewandowski and marked him touch-tight. André Hoffmann also attempted to intercept the pass but realized Jørgensen is already there.

Both centre-backs are now out of position, leaving a wide-open lane into the box for Joshua Kimmich.

Lewandowski senses he’s being marked tightly, so he flicked the ball behind him and right to Kimmich’s feet.

Once Kimmich was through, Müller executed an inside run from the touchline. Lewandowski also followed.

A couple seconds later, Müller – without a Fortuna player tracking him – is now behind Kimmich.

Müller is fittingly known as the Raumdeuter or “space interpreter,” as seen above, but credit Kimmich for sensing that open lane in the first place.

Lurking Lewandowski

There still wasn’t a threat because as Kimmich completed a back-heeled pass to Müller, Fortuna players frantically rushed back to cover the box.

Luckily for Bayern, Lewandowski followed his pass to Kimmich and continued running towards the box, unbeknownst to Fortuna’s defenders.

Müller latches onto Kimmich’s back-heel but he has to square the ball across the box, between goalkeeper Florian Kastenmeier and Hoffmann, into Lewandowski’s path.

Being the astute goal-scorer that he is, Lewandowski arrives in time and finishes calmly.

That was Lewandowski’s first of two goals on the day, but this sequence highlighted Bayern’s fluidity, chemistry and quality. Those are three of the reasons why the Bavarians are closing in on an eighth straight Bundesliga title.

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