By Peter Auf der Heyde
The Bundesliga title race could be decided on Saturday as RB Leipzig face a Bayern Munich side without star man Robert Lewandowski in a blockbuster clash on TopStar.
Bayern Munich without Robert Lewandowski is like Picasso without paint, like a Ferrari without fuel.
The above lines, adapted from a short-story written by the famous American literary journalist Gay Talese, describe the situation the team from the Bavarian capital find themselves in, ahead of their top-of-the table clash at RB Leipzig.
And Lewandowski’s absence – is expected to be out for four weeks after injuring himself on international duty – comes at the worst possible time for Hansi Flick’s team.
There is, of course, no good time to lose a player who is the current World Footballer of the Year, convincingly leads the European Golden Boot award and is just five goals shy of equaling Gerd Müller’s Bundesliga record from the 1971-72 season of 40 goals.
With eight games to go in the league, Bayern have a four-point lead over Leipzig, who this season are looking like a team that can actually win their first Bundesliga title.
Flick, however, will be under some pressure to find a replacement for the Polish super star. The only other real centre forward is Erix Maxim Choupo Moting, who joined in summer from PSG.
In 16 league matches he has scored just once though.
Flick could also push Thomas Müller upfront, or give Serge Gnabry a chance as the danger man.
And Lewandowski is not the only Bayern player Flick will have to replace for Saturday’s game. Canadian defender Alphonso Davies and World Cup winner Jerome Boateng will both miss the match due to a suspension, while Niklas Süle left the Germany squad early with a muscle injury without featuring in any of the three international games and is doubtful.
Leipzig’s French defender Nordi Mukiele believes that, despite Lewandowski’s absence, they will go into the game as the underdogs. “Bayern are the clear favourites.
“A look at the table and at all the trophies in their club museum is enough. Bayern have won a lot of titles. We are still missing that. If we were to present ourselves as favourites, people would think: ‘They must be joking.”
Mukiele, who will be facing players like Leroy Sane, Gnabry or Kingsley Coman, said it is impossible to defend against such stars individually.
“That is only possible as a team. We don’t just have to defend against the three, we have to defend against all of them. Bayern only have top players.”
All the Bundesliga action will be shown live and in HD on TopStar’s sports channels as the league is amongst the elite and majestic competitions in Europe