Created on 2019-09-23 at 15:32 PM
It was perhaps THE incident of the game. When referee Patrick Ittrich awarded a penalty for a foul on Philippe Coutinho 59 minutes into the game between FC Bayern and FC Köln, Robert Lewandowski grabbed the ball. Who else? The striker has converted 19 out of 21 penalties for the record champions in the Bundesliga to date. However, the striker handed the ball to Coutinho to give him the chance to score his first goal in a Bayern shirt.
"It was a great gesture. He's a brilliant player and a really good guy," said a happy Coutinho afterwards about Lewandowski’s surprise gift in the convincing 4-0 win against the newcomers. "I'm really happy. I scored my first goal today. But the most important thing, and I always say that, is the team. We've won the game, it was difficult, we’re happy, we've got three points," said the 27-year-old in summing up this memorable day.
"It was a moment where you can let someone else take the penalty. Also for a new player, for his confidence. I was happy he scored," explained Lewandowski after the game. That penalty puts Coutinho on the list of goalscorers. "Now, he's a real part of FC Bayern." At that point, Lewandowski, who was making his 250 appearance for FCB against the team from Cologne, had already scored two goals (3'/48') to pave the way for the third win of the season. The final goal was scored by Ivan Perišić (73') with Coutinho providing the assist.
"We'll have a lot of good times with him"
"We produced a good performance today," said a happy Niko Kovač – satisfied both with the home win at the start of the 186th Oktoberfest in Munich as well as the performance of Coutinho who was again the linchpin in the attack, three days after his impressive display against Red Star Belgrade: Five shots on goal, setting up seven shots, 88% pass completion and, after Corentin Tolisso, the second-most touches for Bayern were the match stats for the new signing from Barcelona.
"He made the difference. When he gets the ball then he knows exactly what's happening around him. He has a sense of space that is incomparable in the Bundesliga," said Kovač praising his playmaker who also provided a fine back-heel to Joshua Kimmich in the build-up to the early opener. The 47-year-old coach is firmly convinced Coutinho "can and will produce more" in the coming weeks. Particularly, in tandem with Lewandowski.
"I'm happy they understand each other so well. That wasn't just evident with the goals but also with the passes. The paths are always there and Lewy is often fed by Philippe. We'll have a lot of good times with him," added Kovač. Coutinho takes a similar view and is looking to soon repay Lewandowski for his gift of a penalty: "I hope I can provide plenty of assists for him to score lots of goals."