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Robert Lewandowski to join Bayern Munich in 2014

Jul 9, 2013, 9:08 AM EDT

FBL-EUR-C1-BORUSSIA-DORTMUND-MALAGA Getty Images

The race for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has finished.

Looks like he’s heading to Bayern Munich. But not for another season.

In a dramatic twist in one of the summer’s lengthiest transfer saga’s, Lewandowski will remain at Dortmund before joining Bayern next summer… for free.

Dortmund’s head coach Jurgen Klopp announced Lewandowski’s intentions. “I think it is a known fact that Robert is going to play for Bayern after the upcoming season,” he told Welt am Sonntag. “Now the only question is how to shape the time until then.”

While today, Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says his club have “tried to negotiate with Dortmund” this summer but that BVB weren’t interested in selling Lewandowski. Now, as Rummenigge also confirmed, the Polish international striker will leave for absolutely nothing next summer when he is out of contract.

Bad business? Stubborn? Or just sick and tired of selling their best young talent to Bayern?

These are questions that will be thrown Dortmund’s way as fans aim to make sense of the situation concerning Lewandowski.

The 24-year-old striker has wanted to leave for quite some time, he has been a star for Dortmund not just last season but the season before that. Lewandoski has scored 46 goals in 65 Bundesliga games over the past two seasons and his overall tally for Dortmund stands at 75 in 139 games.

(MORE: Highlights as Lewandowski  explodes, scores four against Madrid as Dortmund win 4-1)

He burst onto everyone’s radar with his performances during the 2012-13 Champions League campaign, with his four goals against Real Madrid in the semifinal first leg propelling his side to the Wembley showdown with Munich.

Now that clubs in England and Spain have stopped chasing Lewandowski and he is on the move to Bayern, can we blame him for wanting out? Not really.

Dortmund have a young, exciting squad of players who are hungry to prove themselves. They reached the Champions League final as huge underdogs last season and hugely overachieved, some might say.

(MORE: Dortmund in a pinch as Lewandowski rejects Real Madrid offer)

But was last season as good as it gets for Dortmund? With midfield sensation Mario Götze already joining Bayern and Lewandowski on the way, Dortmund have to drastically change their business model if they want to keep hold of their best players. Lewandowski’s wages of $2.25 million per year are miserly compared to the salaries on offer at Bayern, that is one of the biggest reasons why Bayern will continue to cherry-pick the top talent from their Bundesliga rivals.

Where Lewandowski will fit into the Bayern squad is an intriguing question, but Mario Gomez left for Fiorentina yesterday and Croatian forward Mario Mandžukić will be Lewandowski’s only main rival for the central striker’s role.

So, Dortmund didn’t sell their star man this time. They have missed out on a transfer fee but were unwilling to deal with Bayern as relations between the clubs continue to be strained following the handling of Götze’s transfer.

Will BVB’s stubborn nature stop them from keeping up with the giants of European soccer? Unless they make smart business decisions and increase their wage bill then inevitably they’ll be left behind.

  1. dfstell - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    I guess it depends on how you define success. I’m not a huge observer of the Bundesliga but it seems like Dortmund can just continue as they are and qualify for Champion’s League every year and contend for the title anytime Bayern struggles. It doesn’t seem like the rest of the Bundesliga pushes them very hard.

    Arsenal is probably the EPL equivalent of Dortmund and they’re now struggling to qualify for Champion’s League because they haven’t kept pace financially with United, City and Chelsea. So, it’s really hard to see how Arsenal can ever win a league title and they have to fight with Spurs, Liverpool, Everton and some random team that pops up every year just to get into Europe.

  2. systemblower - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    It eventually gets really old to hear: A) Poor Dortmund and, B) EPL comparisons.

    Nothing “poor” about Dortmund, thanks in large part to the assistance of Bayern. Also cute to completely ignore that Mats is the heralded CB of Dortmund, a former Bayern player. The dealings of the transfer of Gotze are somewhat unpleasant but enough is enough. Dortmund brought in a very large payday making it all the way to the CL final, in addition to having absolutely fantastic fan support which packs their stadium with paid attendance week after week, year after year, and bringing in a very large sum for Gotze.

    Also, Arsenal sneaks into Champions League after a bumbling campaign, much more akin to Schalke. The view that most people are taking is understandable though, because no one watched the Bundesliga over the last few years unless you were already a fan. That just means that the true absurdity of just how good Bayern were this year is basically lost on all fans who would classify themselves as EPL supporters primarily. Nothing wrong with liking one league more than another, but it can make it more difficult to appreciate accomplishments from time to time.

    • martin492013 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      Great post, except for the Schalke part of it………Schalke over achieve in the Champions League almost every year.

    • dreadpirate82 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:29 PM

      Most of the EPL comparisons are due to access. EPL matches are on ESPN, Fox Soccer (formerly) and now NBCSN constantly, while it’s harder to find Bundesliga on TV. GolTV isn’t available to me in HD, so I don’t watch it. Hopefully that will improve with time, as American appetites demand more soccer.

  3. bellerophon30 - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Sometimes the cards are just stacked against you, and you have to fold. That’s what Dortmund should do here, squeeze as much out of Munich as they can, and let him go. Give RL credit, he’s sticking to his guns.

    So a lame duck year for Robert, should be interesting to see how it plays out. This is why soccer is so interesting, in American sports leagues this kind of situation doesn’t happen.

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Jul 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      “This is why soccer is so interesting, in American sports leagues this kind of situation doesn’t happen.”

      How exactly does this not happen? It’s the same as a player deciding to leave as a free agent and sign with another team that he had been angling for a trade to. If you wanted to bring up the idea of loaning a player to another team so he can get playing time but his rights still belong to the original team then I wholeheartedly agree.

      • bellerophon30 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        It’s different because in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLS, there are salary cap considerations that make it different. LeBron can say he wants to play for Team X all he wants, but there are tons of other factors involved. Here, you can only do that in baseball, and even then it’s rare that it happens……….like with Ken Griffey Jr., who pretty much pulled a Lewandowski.

        This was over 10 years ago.

        I still say sell him now, the price is only going to go down once training camps get into full swing.

  4. nussdorferac - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    BVB is slowly building it’s revenue before trying to compete financially with Bayern and other big-spending clubs in Europe. It will take them time, but they seem to be making wise moves and are now financially sound. They didn’t look too bad last year.

  5. thememyselfandiguy - Jul 9, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    i told you all 2 month ago. he had 2 contracts with munich, depending hen he can leaves dortmund.

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