Bayern Munich icon Franz Beckenbauer believes the absence of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery has helped Robert Lewandowski flourish.
Ribery has yet to feature for Bayern this season, while Robben picked up a knock early on in the campaign and has featured just five times.
The wingers’ absence has by no means hurt Bayern’s ambitions, though, as Lewandowski has stepped up instead.
The striker has already netted 12 goals in seven Bundesliga appearances in 2015-16, nine of which came in his last three outings, and Beckenbauer feels he has used the absence of Robben and Ribery to his own advantage.
“Lewandowski is getting much more involved than before. Robben and Ribery always dribbled and then went for a shot,” Beckenbauer told Sky Deutschland.
“They only went looking for Lewandowski when they did not know where to go.
“He is much more integrated into the team now.”
Robben is expected to make his comeback after the international break, while Ribery is also on his way back to fitness, yet Beckenbauer thinks they could face a tough task to win back their starting berths.
“Robben and Ribery will have to push pretty hard,” he added.
“Ribery will have to get back to his former best if he is to displace Douglas Costa. But he is already in his thirties and has been injured for a long time. He will need time.”