Barcelona knew Robert Lewandowski was good. However not this good | The league

youUrns out the man who had scored 618 profession objectives, and run at greater than 25 a yr yearly for greater than a decade, was fairly good. There have been loads of gamers lacking when La Liga returned from the worldwide break this weekend, however not him. He, it appears, is inevitable. And so after they had completed, there he was, quietly standing above all of them. Robert Lewandowski, the Polish Ian Rush and the Spanish Pichichi. And, who is aware of, maybe one thing extra: he, in any case, has simply taken his crew to a spot they hadn’t been in two and a half years.

This was the weekend the Williams brothers stored rolling, Nico and Inaki returning residence from debuts with totally different international locations to set one another up as Athletic scored 4 for the third time to go high of the everybody else league. The weekend by which Girona and Actual Sociedad went wild, scoring eight between them, together with one which was ridiculous from Rodrigo Riquelme and one thing a bit particular from Alex Sorloth in a 5-3 away win. The weekend when so, unexpectedly, did Getafe and Valladolid: not usually Spain’s nice entertainers, they served up the perfect present the Coliseum’s seen since 325AD.

This weekend had what was briefly the season’s silliest mistake from Espanyol goalkeeper Álvaro Fernández – till he went one worse three minutes later, letting in a 96th-minute equalizer towards Valencia. It did not have a lot Iago Apas, sitting on the bench with a dodgy tummy, however it did have Gabri Veiga hitting an outrageous 30-yard winner for Celta towards Betis, overwhelmed on the street for the second time working and solely the third all yr. In all probability, it had Julen Lopetegui’s final stand, Sevilla a single level and a single place from the relegation spots, and the supervisor a single name from the sack after a 2-0 defeat by Atlético Madrid. And it had Osasuna on the Bernabéu, the place Sergio Herrera’s unusual grip over Karim Benzema tightened.

In a recreation nowhere close to pretty much as good as any of these, it additionally had a purpose from Robert Lewandowski, which is not actually information any extra however which es the purpose. You need to return to the opening day of the season for the final time he did not rating. “A killer,” Mallorca coach Javi Aguirre had referred to as him within the hours earlier than they met, and he knew. “There isn’t any dignity in defeat: all of them harm,” he stated 24 hours later. It was late on Saturday at Son Moix, and his crew had taken extra pictures than Barcelona, ​​however had been overwhelmed. As a result of if that they had 13, Lewandowski had one – and that was sufficient.

Slicing inside, he bent a end as completely positioned because it was unfussy, excellence made to look simple. And that was just about that, the one purpose. If he had led them in and benefited from a the crew having an excellent evening earlier than – Barcelona had scored 4, 4, three, 4, three of their earlier 5 league video games and put 5 previous Viktoria Plzen – now he had seen them by a foul one. Lewandowski, the Dowser,” AS referred to as him. A water diviner, principally. Some kind of mystic, he had discovered an oasis within the desert, Santi Giménez wrote, “and whenever you’re dying of thirst and discover water, you may consider in something”. Even in Barcelona. This, one headline had it, was “Lewy’s Regulation”. No surprise Sport and Mundo Deportivo thought they might go one higher than Thomas Müller.

They have been mistaken. So very, very mistaken.

Ooooh…Robert Lewandowski! 😱

He makes it look really easy as he offers Barcelona the lead 🙌 pic.twitter.com/vaOFQ5qwUW

— Premier Sports activities (@PremierSportsTV) October 1, 2022

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It’s possible you’ll bear in mind the delighted look on the Bayern midfielder’s face, all happy with himself when he advised the press: “We name him Lewangoalski … geddit, LewanGOALski” – a line stuffed with fondness and so unhealthy it was good. This Sunday, Sport splashed their entrance cowl with Goalandowski, while Mundo Deportivo went for Lethaldowski – a pair of traces so unhealthy they have been simply unhealthy. And but in the event that they lacked the appeal, heat, or creativeness of the unique – and did they ever – it was comprehensible. This was Lewandowski’s ninth in seven league video games – he’s three forward of Borja Iglesias, having not taken any penalties to Iglesias’s three – and his twelfth of him in 9 video games over all. Solely László Kubala, Alfredo Di Stefano and Christian Vieri had scored as many seven video games into spells in Spain. He has scored in six league matches working. He’s, Xavi says, a “assure of objectives”.

However then you definately knew that, and so did Xavi. There’s a cause Barcelona stored pushing even when Bayern pushed again, why they noticed by their dedication to him even when the value went to twice, thrice what that they had excepted to pay. Simply have a look at his membership totals during the last seven seasons: 42, 43, 41, 40, 55, 48, 50, for goodness’ sake. Regardless of the cause – they stated it was all right down to consuming pudding earlier than his major course, all the time placing sweets first, however that is garbage, this column has been attempting for years – he has all the time scored objectives. That is nothing new: it is 9 Years since he put 4 previous Actual Madrid, virtually as lengthy since Madrid made the primary of many makes an attempt to signal him, and that Polish Ian Rush factor goes again to Lech Poznan. His success of him doesn’t shock.

Besides it kind of does. “He goes into the realm, a pool of crocodiles, prefer it was his own residence,” Jorge Valdano writes. “Calling him a goalscorer is reductionist like all he is aware of the right way to do is the toughest factor of all. And anyway earlier than a goalscorer, he’s a participant. Somebody you may give the ball to and he by no means enables you to down.” That is a part of it: you by no means know if it should work out for any footballer, and even when the productiveness may not have stunned a few of the play has: the intelligence, the contact, the motion, the subtlety, the imaginative and prescient and selection. The timing, which isn’t nearly being there on the end. After he produced a stunning back-heeled help to Pedri, Eric García insisted, impressed: “I am unable to see that move from the bench and he can see it on the pitch.” Xavi says “I understands the sport”, is aware of what to do and when.

Robert Lewandowski (centre) celebrates with Jordi Alba after scoring the one purpose within the 1-0 win at Mallorca. {Photograph}: Soccrates Photos/Getty Photos

Then there’s the character, a pure ancestry over others carried calmly, not eroded through the years. “He feels comfy, he adapts, he is conscious of his duty for him coming right here,” Xavi says. “He has maturity, he talks to the younger gamers, he is humble and onerous working. He is calm, he has confidence in himself, and he is a pure chief for the crew.”

You’ll be able to know a footballer is nice however not how good; you may see him elsewhere, however it’s not the identical as when he turns up at your crew, your league. There’s all the time a discovery, even of the identified. There are additionally all the time doubts, the trace of danger, and when a participant arrives into an atmosphere the place there are sufficient doubts already, then all of the extra so. Lewandowski got here at 34 on a four-year deal, Bayern refusing to supply a couple of. And he admitted having seen firsthand a few of the points Barcelona had final season when he was on the opposite facet; he additionally, although, insisted that he centered on the place they have been going, not the place that they had come from, a relaxed authority about him. If an excellent participant can all the time be introduced down, a very good one can carry these round him up.

Which is why what occurred in Mallorca impressed lower than different nights however mattered extra, symbolizing one thing vital.

Actual Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona, Sevilla 0-2 Atlético Madrid, Getafe 2-3 Actual Valladolid, Cádiz 0-0 Villarreal, Actual Madrid 1-1 Osasuna, Girona 3-5 Actual Sociedad, Celta Vigo 1-0 Actual Betis, Espanyol 2-2 Valencia

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Actual Mallorca 0-1 Barcelona, ​​Sevilla 0-2 Atlético Madrid, Getafe 2-3 Actual Valladolid, Cádiz 0-0 Villarreal, Actual Madrid 1-1 Osasuna, Girona 3-5 Actual Sociedad, Celta Vigo 1-0 Actual Betis, Espanyol 2-2 Valencia

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On Sunday, a wild weekend ended with Osasuna, this season’s revelation up to now, holding Madrid to a 1-1 draw. Kike García headed in a purpose that Antonio Rüdiger referred to as “one in one million” after which Benzema hit the bar with a penalty 10 minutes from time – the fourth he has missed in six, three of them towards Herrera. It was the primary time Madrid had did not win all season, however sufficient to permit Lewandowski’s purpose to take his crew high.

It is vitally early nonetheless, the basic is coming quickly, accidents and the fixture checklist suggests they are going to be susceptible this month, and Barcelona have not overwhelmed essentially the most illustrious of opponents: Mallorca, Elche, Cádiz, Valladolid and Sevilla are all backside half. Their run of six wins and a draw hasn’t been all about Lewandowski both – Marc André ter Stegen prolonged his run with out conceding a purpose to a private finest 534 minutes and that is 18 away video games with out defeat below Xavi, stretching again to final season. However that is the primary time they’ve been high since June 2020 – when Quique Setién was in cost and stadiums have been nonetheless empty, 91 matches in the past. Valencia, Granada, Betis, Madrid, Getafe, Actual Sociedad and Atlético have all been there since however Barcelona have not. Lewandowski has, and now he is again once more able to compete for his ninth league title in a row, his eleventh in 13 years.

“Lewandowski is a blessing,” Xavi says.

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