Wed, 23 Jun 2021

Lewandowski equals Muller's 40-goal record

Xinhua
16 May 2021, 11:49 GMT+10

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, May 15 (Xinhua) -- A touching gesture followed the 40th goal this season of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in their 2-2 Bundesliga draw against SC Freiburg.

After having equaled the 49-year-old Bundesliga record of German striker Gerd Muller, the 32-year-old Pole lifted his playing shirt showing an undershirt with a print of Muller's face and the written message: "4ever Gerd."

Bayern's entire squad lined up along the sideline to cheer Lewandowski after his opening goal after 26 minutes. With a bright smile on his face, the Bayern striker went through the guard of honor, receiving his teammates' congratulations.

"I achieved a goal that once seemed impossible to imagine. I'm so unbelievably proud to make history for FC Bayern and to play a part in creating the stories that fans will tell their children - following in the footsteps of legends like Gerd Muller," Lewandowski wrote on social media.

"It's a great honor for me. What Gerd Muller did was incredible," he added in a TV interview.

Muller's record of 40 goals in 34 matches was set in the 1971/72 season by the Bavarian-born striker, who is the German league's all-time leading goalscorer.

The former German international's feat for decades appeared untouchable. 68 goals in 62 internationals also make him the German national team's second-highest scorer behind Miroslav Klose (71 in 137 games).

Muller won the Bundesliga's top scorer award seven times during his Bayern career, which lasted from 1964 to 1979. With 365 goals in 427 games, he is the most prolific striker in Bundesliga history.

Fans named Muller "Der Bomber" for his goalscoring exploits.

With 278 goals in 349 games, Lewandowski is second on the all-time list, so breaking another long-standing Muller record could be the next challenge for the Poland captain.

When Bayern Munich host Augsburg in this season's final Bundesliga match, the 32-year-old will have one more opportunity to improve his season record.

The Polish team captain scored 40 of Bayern's 94 league goals in 28 games, netting every 59 minutes on average, while German legend Mueller scored every 76 minutes.

Lewandowski's tally also contains eight penalties, after he missed only one of his nine attempts.

Muller scored his 40 goals without the help of a penalty after missing his three attempts from the spot.

Lewandowski scored 47 goals in all competitions this season, also winning the 2020 FIFA Best Men's Player award as Bayern won the treble.

"I never thought I one day would have a record with him. It's an incredible feeling; I just can't believe it," Lewandowski said of 1974 FIFA World Cup winner Muller, who lives in a nursing home near Munich suffering with dementia.

With 40 strikes, Lewandowski has scored more goals than six Bundesliga teams have managed in their entirety this season.

Bayern coach Hansi Flick called Lewandowski the world's best striker while the club's designated chairman Oliver Kahn said: "He set up a monument for himself and the entire team."

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