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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Robert Lewandowski: A Ballon d’Or worthy season with records in sight

With 53 goals and 8 assists in just 44 appearances this season, Robert Lewandowski has propelled Bayern Munich to a domestic double and now has his eyes on the elusive UEFA Champions League.

Written by Debkalpa Banerjee |
Updated: August 10, 2020 12:35:04 pm
Robert Lewandowski equalled Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of scoring 13 goals in the UEFA Champions League before the quarter-final stage. (Source: Reuters)

In a season blighted with managerial changes and empty stands, Robert Lewandowski has remained the one constant, leading Bayern Munich to an eighth successive Bundesliga title and a DFB Pokal win.

When Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge sought a change of heart from France Football on the cancellation of the Ballon d’Or this year, it wasn’t an unjust demand.

“We are not very happy and I believe in the end, it’s not very fair,” Rummenigge had said to Associated Press in July, “certainly not for Robert Lewandowski, because maybe this year he deserved to win the golden ball.”

The Polish international does deserve the accolade considering his numbers are borderline outlandish — 53 goals and 8 assists in just 44 appearances in all competitions.

No other player in Europe’s top-five leagues has more goals contributions than Lewandowski (61) this season, with Lionel Messi (58), Kylian Mbappe (48), Ciro Immobile (47), Cristiano Ronaldo (44), and Jadon Sancho (40) all behind him.

After Lewandowski scored twice and set up two more goals in Bayern’s 4-1 win over Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie on Saturday, his tally for the campaign went up to 13 goals. He is now just four behind Ronaldo’s record haul in one season, 17 for Real Madrid in 2013/14.

If Bayern Munich reach the final in Lisbon, after defeating Barcelona in the quarters and either Manchester City or Lyon in the semis, that will be three more games for Lewandowski to surpass Ronaldo’s tally.

“It’s not a goal of mine,” Lewandowski told BBC when asked about the Portuguese’s record. “We have a few more games in the knockout round and I am just as happy creating goals as scoring them.”

But the 31-year-old striker has already equalled a UEFA Champions League record that has eluded even Ronaldo and Messi.

Lewandowski became the first player to register 3+ goals and assists against an opponent in a single UEFA Champions League season since Luis Figo in 2004/05 (vs Roma), scoring 3 goals and registering 4 assists against Chelsea over two legs.

Apart from his exploits in the UEFA Champions League, where he has scored in every match he has played this season, his domination in the domestic league has been unparalleled too.

The former Lech Poznan and Borussia Dortmund attacker had a personal-best season in the Bundesliga in 2019/20, scoring 34 goals in just 31 appearances — the fourth-best campaign by any player in the league’s history.

READ | How Bundesliga completed the season amid a pandemic

In the domestic cup, Lewandowski was at his usual best, scoring six goals in Bayern’s DFB Pokal-winning campaign, including two in the final against Bayer Leverkusen.

Lewandowski, whose highest-ever finish in the Ballon d’Or is fourth-place in 2015, has won eight Bundesliga titles, four DFB Pokals, and four DFL-Supercups in his ten-year stay in Germany.

Although the striker is the fourth-highest scoring player in UEFA Champions League history — with 66 goals — he is yet to win the competition once, having played the final in 2013 with Borussia Dortmund.


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