Philippe Coutinho thanks Robert Lewandowski after the Pole gave him the chance to score his first Bayern goal on Saturday. - © Getty Images
Philippe Coutinho thanks Robert Lewandowski after the Pole gave him the chance to score his first Bayern goal on Saturday. - © Getty Images

Robert Lewandowski: Matchday 5's Man of the Matchday and Bayern Munich's ultimate team player


His incredible goalscoring feats are evidence enough of Robert Lewandowski's desire to be the best, but on Matchday 5 the Bayern Munich No.9 showed himself to be the ultimate team player.

Lewandowski had netted twice against Cologne when Bayern were awarded a second-half penalty, and, so single-minded is he when it comes to scoring goals, the 31-year-old would usually place the ball on the spot himself. Or so we thought.

Instead of giving himself the chance to net a second hat-trick of 2018/19, the Poland international gave the ball to new arrival Philippe Coutinho. Up stepped the Brazilian to continue the process of settling in to his new surroundings by getting a first goal under his belt in an eventual 4-0 win.

Watch: Coutinho: "I already thanked Lewandowski"

It still sounds surprising to read: Lewandowski had scored nine in five matches, was on a hat-trick and could have registered a Bundesliga record-breaking tenth goal in the season’s opening five games. It was almost poetic symmetry that those figures came one day short of four years since Lewy's most famous record.

On 22 September 2018, Lewandowski came off the bench at half-time against Wolfsburg with Bayern a goal down. Nine minutes later, the score read 5-1 to the record champions with all five goals going to the überprolific Poland international. It was a game that few will ever forget and one that earned Lewandowski four Guinness World Records.

Watch: Lewandowski's five goals in nine minutes, in FULL!

And yet he sacrificed another personal milestone (he has reached a fair few already, mind) for the good of the team and another teammate.

Coutinho certainly appreciated "a really great gesture", as he told at full-time on Saturday. "'Lewy' let me take the penalty. He could have scored his third goal and got his hat-trick, but he let me score my first goal, and I already said thank you to him!"

The former Dortmund striker's act of kindness could prove to be a significant moment in the club’s season. Coutinho is still being integrated into the team since arriving on loan from Barcelona in the summer, and Saturday's game was the first in which he has completed 90 minutes.

Off and running: Coutinho celebrates his first goal for his new club. - 2019 Getty Images

The 27-year-old will be expected to impact matches by scoring and making goals, and thanks to Lewandowski he has begun to do just that. This is, of course, excellent news for coach Niko Kovac, who will relish having two top-class attackers so willing to support one another.

When he arrived in Bavaria, it did not take long for Coutinho to be convinced of Lewandowski's quality – "He's even better up close that he is on TV!" was his assessment after the Pole’s hat-trick at Schalke on Matchday 2 – while Lewandowski has said the Brazilian can be a key man for Bayern this term, especially in the Champions League. Such mutual admiration, combined with what is undoubtedly a strong friendship, will surely translate to a fantastic relationship between the two on the pitch.

Coutinho recently asserted that Bayern is more like a family club than his previous employers Barcelona and Liverpool. Lewandowski is living proof that that statement is entirely accurate.