Bayern Munich bagged their first piece of silverware of the new season on Sunday, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 to win the DFL-Supercup in Niko Kovac’s first official match as manager. Robert Lewandowski stole the show with a hat-trick.
Kovac guided Eintracht to a shock win in the final of the DFB-Pokal against the Bavarians last season, setting up this year’s Supercup fixture. His old team had no chance this time around, however, as a quick Lewandowski double in the first half put his side in full control.
He added to his tally after the break, while Kingsley Coman and Thiago Alcantara also got on the board.
Here are the key takeaways from Sunday’s match.
Lewandowski Validates Bayern’s Tough Transfer Stance
As reported by Sport Bild (h/t Goal), Bayern didn’t hide the fact star forward Lewandowski was looking for a transfer move this summer, and there were more than a few who doubted their approach to the saga.
The Poland international didn’t finish the season well and carried his poor form into the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Coupled with some questions whether a failed transfer would negatively influence his performances, it was fair to doubt whether keeping hold of him was the right move.
He quickly proved the club right in the first half, however, with two goals in the span of less than 10 minutes. Onlookers liked what they saw from the Bundesliga champions:
Ronan Murphy @swearimnotpaul
Niko Kovac’s Bayern Munich looking very slick so far. No signs of World Cup hangovers from the many Germans (and Lewandowski). #SGEFCB #Supercup2018
He completed is hat-trick after the break, amid persistent booing from the home fans.
At the age of 29, Lewandowski remains one of the best pure finishers in the game, and it’s nearly impossible to replace such a special talent. Sometimes, the easiest solution―not allowing him to leave―is the right one.
Sule’s Solid Audition Adds to Boateng Uncertainty
Lewandowski is not the only Bavarian who has been linked with a transfer this summer, as Jerome Boateng’s name also keeps coming up. As explained by Sport Witness, Bayernappear eager to sell the centre-back, and French outlet Le Parisien (h/t Goal’s Ronan Murphy) believe he’s close to Paris Saint-Germain:
Ronan Murphy @swearimnotpaul
Jerome Boateng has agreed a move to PSG, according to Le Parisien. Bayern Munich will receive around €45m. #FCBayern #PSG
Niklas Sule started next to Mats Hummels in the heart of defence on Sunday and had a solid outing, showing Kovac he has options if Boateng does leave. His good showing will only make the speculation grow louder, with plenty of time left in the transfer window.
Eintracht Will Struggle in Post-Kovac, Hradecky Era
Eintracht were relegation candidates when Kovac first arrived in 2016, with the team surviving a play-off to stay in the Bundesliga. They’ve come a long way since then, but Sunday’s display indicates more struggles lie ahead without the Croatian tactician.
Kovac wasn’t the only major loss this summer for the club, as star goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky moved to Bayer Leverkusen.
His replacement in goal on Sunday was Frederik Ronnow, who made a mistake that led to the second goal, going underneath the ball and giving Lewandowski an almost empty goal to head into. He also didn’t look good on the cross to Coman, leading to the fourth goal.
The Bundesliga is a highly competitive league, and with only 18 clubs in the top division―as opposed to La Liga and Serie A―it’s that much harder to stave off relegation for the bottom teams. The 2018-19 campaign could be a long one for Eintracht.
Bayern will start their DFB-Pokal campaign on Saturday, before opening the Bundesliga season against Hoffenheim later this month. Eintracht will also be in action in the cup on Saturday, while their Bundesliga opener will be against Freiburg.