NYON: Champions League winners Bayern Munich dominated the shortlists announced Wednesday for UEFA’s 2019-20 season awards in European football.
Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski, who scored a career-best 55 goals for his club last season, and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer were nominated for men’s player of the year in Europe after a dominant season with the treble-winning German team.
The third nominee was Kevin de Bruyne, who won the players’ vote in England and starred as Manchester City reached the Champions League quarter-finals and finished second in the Premier League to Liverpool.
Bayern coach Hansi Flick, who only took charge in November, heads an all-German list of men’s coach nominations. It includes Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann of RB Leipzig.
The shortlists were voted on by coaches of the 80 teams that played in the Champions League and Europa League group stages, and media from each of UEFA’s 55 member countries.
Lewandowski and Neuer starred as Bayern won their sixth Champions League title, beating Paris St-Germain 1-0 in the final in Lisbon in August.
Lewandowski finished as the competition’s top scorer with 15 goals while Neuer kept six clean sheets in the Champions League and missed just one game the entire season.
Belgian playmaker De Bruyne provided a record-equalling 20 assists in the Premier League last season, the highest in Europe, and was nominated despite City going out of the Champions League in the quarter-finals to Olympique Lyonnais.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi just missed out on being shortlisted, coming fourth in the vote.
England star Lucy Bronze is a contender to win the women’s prize for the second year running after helping Lyon win the Champions League for the fifth season in a row before recently signing for Manchester City.
Her Lyon colleague, the France defender Wendie Renard, is also shortlisted alongside the Danish striker Pernille Harder, who recently joined Chelsea after helping VfL Wolfsburg get to the Champions League final.
All three candidates for the women’s coaching award are men, with Barcelona’s Lluis Cortes, Wolfsburg’s Stephan Lerch and Lyon’s Jean-Luc Vasseur making the shortlist.
The awards will be presented at the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League group stage draw ceremony on October 1 at UEFA headquarters in Nyon.
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020