Former Bayern Munich forward Giovane Elber says Robert Lewandowski needs to put his focus back on Bayern Munich rather than thinking about a potential exit from the German club.
Lewandowski scored 29 goals last season in Bundesliga play, one shy of his record 30 tallied in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. His five goals in the Champions League, however, didn't reach the highs of previous campaigns, and Elber attributes the slide to the distraction of constant links with Real Madrid and other clubs outside Germany.
"This isn’t good, like what happened last season with his agent always talking about how he could leave, he could go to Madrid, he could go I don’t know where. That’s not good," Elber told Goal. "A player has to have his mind on the club he’s at right now, and that’s Bayern.
"We saw that the last season, the time when the club needed Lewandowski most, we didn’t see him at the end. That’s not good for him or for Bayern Munich. I don’t know if all these things about leaving Bayern were in his head or going to the World Cup were in his head. I hope now that when he returns to Bayern Munich and gets back in training that he does so with his mind set on working and nothing else. The things that are going to happen, he should leave to his agent, to the other people. He doesn’t need to have issues with Bayern Munich."
Regardless of how well the star forward performs, Elber feels Bayern is set for a good season. The Brazilian played with both new Bayern manager Niko Kovac and assistant coach Robert Kovac during his time with the Bavarians and has been impressed by the work they've done in previous jobs.
"We still don’t know how everything is going to go, but I think Bayern has done really well to give him this job," Elber said. "He’s a young manager, and he can change a lot of things here. He played for Bayern, Niko Kovac, I played with him and his brother. He’s done great work with the Croatian national team in 2014 in Brazil, he’s done special work with Frankfurt, being champion of the cup against Bayern Munich last season, and I think he’s going to bring good things to Bayern Munich."
The job won't be easy, though. Expectations at Bayern are always high, with fans beginning to get antsy five years after Die Roten last lifted the Champions League trophy. That's why Elber believes a fast start will be key, though it may be difficult with more than a half-dozen likely starters like James Rodriguez, Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer beginning training this week after missing out on the International Champions Cup to rest up after the World Cup.
"To work and have a bit of luck because if he starts well, with good matches at the start of the season, it’ll go well. If they can get the points they need early, it’ll all go well. The problem is if they start poorly," he said. "That’s a problem Bayern and all big teams have after the World Cup because the players who played in the World Cup still aren’t training so when you start, you start a bit weak. It’s a chance for the other teams to get points off Bayern, so he has to pay attention right now to how he’s starting the Bundesliga."
First, however, Kovac must contend with the DFL Supercup against Frankfurt, the team he left to manage Bayern, before starting league play on August 24 against Hoffenheim.