Lewandowski overshadows an Oktoberfest meeting with Wolfsburg

Posted by Susie Schaaf

While the Robert Lewandowski transfer saga continues to somehow hog the headlines, there is actually a Bundesliga season going on. Who knew? Bayern Munich welcome Wolfsburg, and two beloved former players in Ivica Olic and Luiz Gustavo, to the Allianz Arena Saturday in the midst of Munich's 180th Oktoberfest celebration. "Bier her! Bier her! Oder ich fall um!"

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I think both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund supporters have started to come together on their views of the Lewandowski saga. While in the beginning there was much bad blood between the sides' fans -- I can recall being called "ignorant" and "naive" at one point -- I think now most would come together to say that Lewandowski's handlers have done everything they can to make his last season at Dortmund as unpleasant as possible for the Ruhr club that would not let him go. Despite a hefty pay raise, the Polish striker looked churlish when he was substituted in Dortmund's eventual win over TSV 1860 Munich in DFB Pokal action.

Fellow ESPN FC correspondent Stephan Uersfeld quoted an editorial in Bild that said, "In 2014, Bayern Munich will get one of the best strikers in the world, for free! Congratulations! But the Bayern bosses should now carefully consider if they really want to invite this bunch of people to their club."

If the decision is announced on January 2 -- as has been speculated -- it will be up to the Bayern brass to put together an iron-clad contract; one with no wiggle room for Lewandowski and his agents. It's a good thing Bayern Munich adamantly refuses things like release clauses, but still gives cause for concern: Do they really need more "FC Hollywood" in their lives?

Back to Bayern, Bier, and Wolfsburg...

Call Pep Guardiola's 4-1-4-1 what you will, but it's been playing a lot like his Barcelona-esque 4-3-3 as of late with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos pulling back to help Philipp Lahm's single pivot defensively. And it's worked to superior effect taking down CSKA Moscow 3-0, Schalke 04 4-0, and Hannover 96 4-1 in recent action. Finally, Bayern supporters can breathe a sigh of relief as they can now see the team they all know and love start to play like the treble-winning side they are.

Inconsistency is the name of the game for Dieter Hecking's VfL Wolfsburg; beating Schalke 04, Hertha BSC and Hoffenheim while losing to Hannover 96, Mainz 05 and Bayer Leverkusen. With former Bayern midfielder Luiz Gustavo suspended for two red cards over half their season so far, the Wolves were dealt a harsh injury blow as Portuguese midfielder Vieirinha was carried off with knee ligament damage in the sides' Pokal victory against VfR Aalen.

But Brazilian Gustavo is back and raring to go against his former club, telling fcbayern.de: "It certainly is no ordinary away game. I spent two years at Bayern and now I'm coming back on the opposing side, but it's also a good feeling. We're playing against a top team which is exactly what every player wants to do. I'll also be able to see all the friends I made during my time at the club." One can only hope he won't be involved in any goal-scoring Samba celebrations; only looking wistfully on instead.

Another former Bayern man, striker Ivica Olic, has seen a return to stellar form, scoring four goals in three matches -- equal to former Wolves Mario Mandzukic's tally for the season, and one off the Bundesliga leaders' pace.

On the other side of the pitch, Bayern welcomes back Mario Goetze to the sidelines after the midfielder was held out of the team for the mid-week Cup match. It's doubtful he'll start, instead joining Xherdan Shaqiri and either Kroos or Thomas Mueller as substitute attacking options for Guardiola. He'll need the minutes after all the Eis his girlfriend has been spoon-feeding him during his stint in the stands at the Allianz.

I'm normally in Munich this time of year, and would be attending the match, but sadly had to sit this one out. It's always a great time to see everyone decked out in Tracht at the stadium during the Oktoberfest. And hopefully that party atmosphere -- and possibly some free Paulaner for the sold-out crowd -- translates to goals, and another jubilant celebration before next week's crunch Champions League match against an in-form Manchester City.


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