Lewandowski is now a leader at Bayern - Kovac

Robert Lewandowski is showing the right qualities to be a leader at Bayern Munich, according to coach Niko Kovac.

The Poland striker appeared to be agitating for a move away from the Allianz Arena last year but stayed at the club and scored 40 goals in all competitions to help them to the domestic double.

The 30-year-old said in March he could finish his career at the club and has now confirmed he is in talks over an extension to his contract, which expires in 2021.

Kovac now has little hesitation in trusting the former Borussia Dortmund forward as one of the vice-captains of his side.

"Last season, I wanted to give him the recognition he deserves as a player, due to his performances he has shown not only in Germany but also as the captain of the Polish national team," he said.

"You can see it means a lot to him to be the vice-captain. I'm really happy with his development and he shows what's expected of a leader."

Bayern looked at times last season as though their stranglehold on the Bundesliga was to be broken by Dortmund, but they ended the season in strong fashion to claim a seventh league title in a row and win the DFB-Pokal final against RB Leipzig.

Kovac expects Dortmund to challenge once more given their strong close season in which they have signed Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt and Mats Hummels, but he is not discounting one or two other surprise contenders.

"All we know is that it was a close race last season between Dortmund and us," he said. "There will be other teams chasing us, but of course we will be the team everyone in the Bundesliga wants to catch.

"I think Dortmund have made some good signings. As I mentioned before, it was a really close race between us two for the title. We'll have to see; you never know.

"I think maybe [Bayer] Leverkusen will play an important role with their new coach [Peter] Bosz, who plays very good football, very attacking football. We have to count them as well as a competitor for the German title.

"Leipzig were very strong last season. Now they have signed a new coach [Julian Nagelsmann], so we'll have to see. We have to give them some time, see how they develop with the new coach, but I think they'll be a serious opponent as well. And then maybe another surprising team, you never know in the Bundesliga, so we will have to see what happens."

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