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Bayern slump again without Lewandowski
Bayern Munich’s reliance on striker Robert Lewandowski was laid bare for the second consecutive match on Saturday night against Bayer Leverkusen. Bayern departed the BayArena with a 0-0 draw. It was a result that left the Bundesliga pacesetters eight points clear of second placed RB Leipzig with five games of the season remaining.
Such an advantage should ensure an unprecedented fifth straight Bundesliga title well before the end of the campaign in May.
However, it is the no small matter of the Uefa Champions League that is furrowing brows among the Bayern hierarchy.
Lewandowski missed the first leg of the quarter-final against Real Madrid on 12 April and though Bayern took the lead at the Allianz Arena, Real came back through Cristiano Ronaldo to win 2-1.
With the return leg in Madrid on 18 April, Lewandowski’s availability is still in doubt.
The 28-year-old injured his shoulder during Bayern’s Bundesliga victory against Borussia Dortmund on 8 April.
In the prelude to the first leg against Madrid, Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti said: "We are strong with him and we are also strong without him.”
Results though have not borne out Ancelotti’s assertion. His replacements have not fired the German giants to victory. Thomas Mueller was lead striker against Madrid and Leverkusen and he failed to hit the target in both games. Bayern’s goal against the Spanish league leaders came via Arturo Vidal.
“He only thinks about eating the right things, taking the proper rest and training well,” said former coach Pep Guardiola of the Poland international. “He is rarely injured because he concentrates on these kind of things. He knows exactly what to do to be in the best possible shape.”
Bayern also have injury concerns in defence. Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng missed the Leverkusen game with ankle and groin injuries respectively. "Of the three, Lewandowski has the better chance of being fit to play," said Ancelotti. "For the other two, we will have to wait and see."
The 57-year-old Italian added: "It will be very difficult in Madrid but we still have confidence. We still have an opportunity and we'll do our best."