The name “Lewandowski” is a familiar sight in the Bundesliga especially when success, charisma and sheer quality is concerned.
When one thinks of “Lewandowski” we immediately think of experience, strength, skill and youth, all the aspects which are defined in this almost baroque era of Bundesliga dominance and superiority.
We dream pictures of this iconic Borussia Dortmund striker whose tally of well over 100 league goals has not only placed the powerhouse of black and yellow on the map, but also in terms of being the father of modern day German football.
Well, how about if I was to tell you that there was another man who went by the name of “Lewandowski” who could well be on his way to destroying this dream of dominance at one of Germany’s biggest football clubs.
At approximately 9:00am this morning as the majority of Germany were waking up from their beds news filtered through that Bayer Leverkusen had parted company with manager Sami Hyypia.
Highly surprising given the fact that he had changed the BayArena outfit from a fairly average team who often struggled to achieve a top finish into a side which at one point this season were challenging Bayern Munich for the Bundesliga title.
Perhaps even more mind-boggling is that the club’s highly honoured sporting director Rudi Voller admitted that the only reason for departing with Hyypia was the fact that club “must try everything to rescue this season.”
And to some it is easy to see where the former German international is coming from with Friday’s embarrassing 2-1 loss to relegation threatened Hamburger SV meaning that Bayer slipped out of the top four for the first time this season.
The 2002 Champions League finalists have slumped in recent weeks, and it was seen my many especially within the board of directors at the club that this sixth defeat in only ten leagues game was largely unacceptable for a club with eyes bigger than their stomach.
At around the same time that Bayer Leverkusen announced to the world that they parted with arguably one of the best young coaches in the Bundesliga, the majority of the club’s squad were being put under their paces by one Sascha Lewandowski.
A common yet lonesome figure, until Saturday the 42-year-old was in charge of the under-18 squad, but under these unfortunate circumstances thrown into the head office with so much as an attempt to look for a manager with Bundesliga experience.
Journalists were quick to rush to the club’s well positioned Nordrhein-Westfalen training complex, just a stones throw away from the BayArena to snap pictures of the ill experienced Polish manager being introduced to the team.
A bewildered trio consisting of Stefan Kiessling, Lars Bender and Sidney Sam looked largely agitated and confused as Lewandowski looked up at them and told them to go for a run together.
It seems that this air of uncertainty which has been circling around the BayArena of late has also managed to blow its way onto the training pitch in the worst possible way.
As the trio of German international were warming up together they most likely thought as well as openly discussed what on earth went through the mind of the club’s hierarchy to make such a decision.
It is clear to say that the ex-Liverpool defender was well liked around the club, and he was often hailed as the messiah in terms of transforming Bayer Leverkusen into not only domestic title contenders, but remerging as a European force.
This slow but steady process was effectively half done last season when the Finnish national in his first season as manager guided his team to a third place finish and a Champions League berth.
However in the summer and with club hero Andre Schurrle on his way to Chelsea for a handsome £19.5 million, the club advised the Hyypia to splash the cash on recruits which would take Bayer Leverkusen to the next level.
In came the likes of midfielders Heung-Min Son from Hamburger SV and Emre Can from Bayern Munich, two players which were brought in to take the load of loan striker Kiessling and add flare to a flat looking Bayer side.
However, as much potential as these players have it just hasn’t worked out for them this season, with the two having only scored 11 times between themselves this season.
Bayer Leverkusen have found it increasingly hard to score enough goals needed to finish in the top two this season, with the north German club having the worst goal ratio in the top six.
Although what seems to be have been the underlying factor in Hyypia’s sudden and unexpected departure from the club is that he fell short of the club’s larger than life expectations.
The likes of Voller have seen that it’s not a given for Bayern Munich to win the Bundesliga each year, and he believes that the club are capable of emulating what Borussia Dortmund and VfL Wolfsburg did to win the league.
However, with Bayern Munich once again having wrapped up the title in a ridiculously short amount of time and with automatic Champions League qualification only seven points adrift, the decision to part ways with Hyypia is ludicrous.
Even to the unkempt eye of someone who has the least bit interest for the game, this cold-hearted decision stinks of defeat at the highest level.
Bayer Leverkusen have five games to save their blushes in the Bundesliga, with three coming against teams in the bottom half of the table, including the likes of goal-shy Werder Bremen, a naïve Eintracht Frankfurt side and relegation doomed FC Nuremberg.
It goes without saying that if Voller and the Bayer Leverkusen at least gave Hyypia until the end of the season to reach the clubs target of Champions League qualification he would not only have achieved this but also in terms of being able to keep his job.
However, football is a cruel and confusing mistress which never fails to conjure up surprises even in the most uncertain of circumstances.
And as far as unfortunate circumstances go, many a Bayer Leverkusen fan will ponder the question to why their club haven’t called upon an experienced and success driven manager to save their season.
This might all be a little unfair on Lewandowski especially as we haven’t had a single game to judge his managerial expertise in, but it seems that five games is far too few for the gutsy former U18 manager to mark his status at the club.
Every manager new to the job is given a length period to demonstrate their skills and worth to the board, players and most importantly the fans, but it seems that the clock will strike midnight well before he gives his first orders from the touchline.
I can already see the main scoop in the Bild Zeitung on 11th May with the words “Lewandowski sacked” amongst several pictures which depict pure anguish around the BayArena as he is unable to guide the club to a top four finish.
How, this all could have been different if Hyypia was given a chance to prove his worth until the end of the season.
For all we know if the board had kept to their guns instead of a column depicting Bayer Leverkusen’s fall from grace, we could have seen a colourful edition of the Bild am Sontag praising Sami Hyypia as the next best thing since the invention of sliced bread.
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