The return of the leader Lewandowski | Sports| The USA Print

The return of the leader Lewandowski |  Sports

Xavi is delighted with Lewandowski. “He has changed the mentality of the team, he is a natural leader, everyone grows around him. He has made a difference; a transcendental guy like Ronaldinho and Messi, ”said the Barça coach after celebrating the fluid communication he maintains with the Polish center forward, who will reappear this Sunday at San Mamés (9:00 p.m., Movistar). The coach talks to the striker of the game —”our idea doesn’t change”— about its evolution —“increasingly faster and more physical and with higher pressure”— and about the coaches —“they have changed a lot, you have to adapt” — and from Barcelona. Xavi’s words link to those spoken by Lewandowski this week. “The Barça game from 10 years ago might not work today,” the attacker told the FC Barcelona media.

The return of Pichichi (15 goals in the League, 25 in total), a player the team has missed according to his coach despite winning the seven games he has been absent, encourages the Barça team and tempers it in some way Araujo’s absence due to suspension. The 34-year-old attacker’s productivity, however, has subsided since the World Cup. Before the Cup, he scored 13 goals in 14 games and then added two in 6 league games. It happens that before his loss none of his substitutes has claimed responsibility, neither Ansu Fati nor Ferran Torres, whose prominence will surely diminish with the return of Lewandowski and the alignment of the four midfielders arranged by Xavi since he appeared precisely at Athletic de Valverde in the match played at the Camp Nou.

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The president Joan Laporta already spoke of the intention to sign a striker in the summer with the permission of the League. The departures of Aubameyang and Memphis Depay have diminished the scoring ability of a team that counts as top scorers, after Lewandowski, with Dembélé and Raphinha (5 goals in the League, 8 in total), Pedri (6 and 7), Ferran ( 2 and 5) and Ansu Fati (3 and 6). The 46 goals in the League are not exactly a good record when compared to previous seasons when an absorbing striker like Messi stood out. Xavi trusts Lewandowski to win the League and the Cup from today when he will meet the referee Gil Manzano, who sent him off at El Sadar. That game had serious consequences for the Pole because he was sanctioned for three games even though he played with the precautionary against Espanyol.

The figure of Lewandowski is presented as decisive to face Athletic. “He always wants to play and it is good for us that he arrives for the match against Athletic because they will push us very high and we will have to find ways out”, Xavi highlighted. The coach is preparing for a “sensational football war” as usual in San Mamés. In his opinion, “it is very important to maintain the difference of nine points with Madrid until the arrival of the classic”, which will be played on the 19th at the Camp Nou. “The meeting in Bilbao is as important or more than the one in Madrid.”

The azulgranas come with up to four footballers threatened with a penalty for accumulating cards: Kessié, Raphinha, Ferran Torres and Busquets. “We are not going to play with the brake,” Xavi warned, worrying in any case about the absence of the suspended Araujo. The numbers certify the importance of the Uruguayan: in six of the ten games that the center-back has not played, Barça did not win and, furthermore, more than half (16) of the goals conceded by the team (30) —eight in the Liga- have been counted when Araujo has not been.

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Dembélé and Pedri will also be missing, still injured, and Gavi will return instead. Xavi will surely recover the lineup with the four midfielders, who have noticed Lewandowski’s participation in the game in exchange for losing punch, probably due to the absence of wingers like Dembélé.

“I see that everything is already on the right track because we have a lot of young players,” Lewandowski said. “Shortly after being here I saw that there was a lot of potential, although it is not easy to change things in a month,” added the striker who came from Bayern Munich and who has become Xavi’s best interlocutor.

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