Pep tinkers in Trentino as Lewandowski is made to wait

Posted by Susie Schaaf

While Borussia Dortmund has been snapping up talent solely to befuddle journos and bloggers -- with both Bild and Kicker saying Shakhtar Donetsk's Henrikh Mkhitaryan signing is imminent, joining Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, names I hope my smartphone will recognize soon -- Jurgen Klopp gave an interview to Welt am Sonntag in which he dropped a "bomb" that most expected by stating that Robert Lewandowski "will move to Bayern next summer" rather than this.

"To a point, we were willing to discuss Robert's desire to move, but since nothing happened during that period, we eventually had to say: 'So now it no longer works for us.'"

- Guardiola 'to make Bayern even better'
- Klopp: Lewandowski will join Bayern


While some may be inclined to think that Lewandowski could be tempted with the right offer, most Germans agree that the Bayern switch next summer is the most likely case. Unsubstantiated rumors abound of big English clubs taking a peek at the Polish striker -- seeing whether they can turn his head. But so far ... all for naught.

Again, this may be a cat-and-mouse game by Dortmund to see whether Bayern blinks. But I think an unsuccessful one, at that. After all, if Lewandowski truly wants Bayern Munich, why would they ever pay 30-some-odd million euros for him now when he becomes free next summer?

Meanwhile, Schalke 04 has been quietly bolstering their ranks; starting with Julian Draxler recommitting to the club. After Draxler, Schalke signed two talented German youth products in Christian Clemens and Leon Goretzka, as well as getting Felipe Santana from Dortmund. The Royal Blues now have an excellent young base on which to build, and should be one of the more exciting teams in the upcoming Bundesliga season.

But while those two clubs are making transfer moves, FC Bayern -- already having signed Mario Gotze from Dortmund, and Jan Kirchhoff from Mainz -- seem content with their lot. New coach Pep Guardiola instead brought youth and reserve squad members to their annual training retreat in Trentino, Italy.

In three preseason matches to date (noted: against very amateur competition), Bayern has scored 37 times while only conceding two (those both against backup keeper Tom Starke), with a lot of the goals being scored by the Bayern youth.

The most recent friendly, the Paulaner Cup, saw Alessandro Schoepf score a hat trick while Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Emre Can, Oliver Markoutz and Vladimir Rankovic also got on the board.

Patrick Weihrauch, with six goals in two matches, and German-American Julian Green scoring a hat trick in his first outing (also earning a promotion to the Bayern reserves) are just two more examples of Bayern's up-and-coming talent.

"When you work out with this class of player, you're learning every day," the 19-year-old Green said of the senior team, adding they "are really welcoming and help us whenever they can."

The seniors are starting to trickle back, as Mario Mandzukic and back-for-another-year Claudio Pizarro are in camp; Arjen Robben completed his first day of training Sunday, as well.

In what will upset the large anti-Robben camp, Guardiola referred to the Dutch international as "a gift to me," to which Robben replied "It's a terrific compliment, and it does make me a little proud."

Still waiting on the return of Dante, Luiz Gustavo and Javi Martinez from Brazil's Confederations Cup competition, Guardiola still has want-away striker Mario Gomez in camp.

While Gomez may want Fiorentina, it looks unlikely they'll be able to afford his far-too-reasonable 20 million euro fee. So for now he'll stay put, as new rumors for a switch to Napoli -- or what could be an interesting move to Arsenal -- emerge.

And Dortmund's Klopp said: "We can't just buy two players for every position like Bayern, and that is not something we can address exclusively with money. We also want to continue to give very young players the chance to fill the gap." It would seem that for now, BvB is being beat at their own game, as Bayern is not (less Gotze's transfer) splashing the cash as yet.

However, this summer transfer window is far from finished. It'll be interesting to see how everyone's game plan works out.

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