Lewandowski Beats Ronaldo, Messi To Win FIFA Best Player Award

FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, presents The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award to Bayern Munich forward, Robert Lewandowski, on December 17, 2020.

 

Bayern Munich forward, Robert Lewandowski, has won the award for The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year for 2020.

The Polish national team captain was named ahead of Barcelona and Juventus stars – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – to win the coveted prize.

He emerged the winner of the prize after he helped Bayern to win a treble – the Bundesliga league, Champions League, and the DFB-Pokal trophies.

Lewandowski, who finished as the top scorer in all three competitions, scored his 250th goal in the Bundesliga to help Bayern seal an important win over Wolfsburg in a match that ended 2-1 on Wednesday.

“He deserved it more than anyone else. He played the season of his life,” said Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge after Lewandowski’s 55 goals in 2019/20 were a key factor in Bayern winning the treble.

Nicknamed ‘The Body’ and dubbed a ‘machine’ by his wife, the Poland forward has already scored 18 goals in 17 games this season.

The fact Lewandowski has had to wait until he is 32 to be crowned at FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards is down to the way he proved himself in the knock-out stages of the Champions League last season.

Despite having been the Bundesliga’s top-scorer for five of the last seven seasons, Lewandowski was getting a reputation for struggling to find the net in key Champions League games.

Up until February, he had failed to score in his previous seven matches in the knock-out stages.

 

– Chelsea slayer –

His four goals for ex-club Dortmund in the 2013 semi-final, first-leg, against Real Madrid seemed a faded memory.

All that changed in February’s last-16 win over Chelsea, when Lewandowski scored at Stamford Bridge, then set up Serge Gnarby’s two goals in a 3-0 away win.

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the Bundesliga football match against Hertha Berlin on October 4, 2020, in Munich, southern Germany. CHRISTOF STACHE.

 

When the return leg was played nearly six months later, Lewandowski had a hand in all four goals — scoring twice and creating two more — in the 4-1 win at the Allianz Arena.

Lewandowski followed that up by scoring in the historic 8-2 quarter-final rout of Messi’s Barcelona and netted again in the 3-0 semi-final win over Lyon.

He finished as the Champions League’s top-scorer with 15 goals, two short of Ronaldo’s record for a single season and was dubbed ‘LewanGOALski’ by Bayern team-mate Thomas Mueller.

His three goals in this season’s group stages puts him level with Real Madrid legend Raul on 71 Champions League goals, short of Messi’s 118 and Ronaldo, who has scored 134 times.

In October, Lewandowski was named UEFA’s Player of the Year after Bayern added the UEFA Super Cup to their Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League titles.

He could complete the set in February if Bayern win the Club World Cup in Qatar.

Lewandowski was spotted as a raw 21-year-old playing Polish league club for Lech Poznan, where he scored 41 goals in 82 games and joined Dortmund in 2010.

 

– ‘The Body’ –

He made his breakthrough under Jurgen Klopp, helping Dortmund win back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

He hit a hat-trick in the 5-2 drubbing of Bayern in the 2012 German Cup final, joining the Munich giants two years later having scored 103 goals in 187 games for Dortmund.

His goals on Wednesday mean Lewandowski has now scored 264 times in 306 games for the European champions.

Nicknamed ‘The Body’ by his team-mates, Lewandowski is known for his disciplined approach to nutrition and training, resulting in his honed physique.

“My husband is a machine,” admits wife Anna, a former Polish karate international who serves as his personal trainer.

Lewandowski is rarely injured and former Bayern captain Oliver Kahn sees the striker as “an absolute model of professionalism, a condition for staying at the highest level for a very long time.”

Lewandowski Nets 250th Bundesliga Goal As Bayern Keep Pace With Leverkusen

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores during the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayern Munich and Vfl Wolfsburg on December 16, 2020 in Munich. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

 

Robert Lewandowski passed the milestone of 250 Bundesliga goals on Wednesday with both goals in Bayern Munich’s 2-1 home win over Wolfsburg to keep the European champions in touch with German league leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

Lewandowski, who finds out Thursday whether he has been voted FIFA’s player of the year having been shortlisted alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, has scored 18 goals in 17 games for Bayern this season in all competitions.

“I haven’t thought about it (the awards), I was just focused on this game – I’m pretty relaxed about it, let’s see what happens,” he told Sky after his two goals.

Leverkusen, who host Bayern in Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash, remain first in the table – a point ahead of Munich – after a 4-0 romp away to Cologne in the Rhineland derby.

Wolfsburg took a shock lead within five minutes at the Allianz Arena when Leroy Sane’s error on the edge of the area led to Maximilian Philipp smashing home the loose ball.

Wolfsburg’s Dutch striker Wout Weghorst then had a goal ruled offside on 17 minutes.

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (L) and Wolfsburg’s Brazilian defender Paulo Otavio vie for the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayern Munich and Vfl Wolfsburg on December 16, 2020 in Munich. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP) 

However, Lewandowski reached the 250-goal milestone when he headed Bayern’s equaliser just before the break.

He became only the third to achieve the feat alongside Bayern legend Gerd Mueller and Schalke striker Klaus Fischer.

Lewandowski then fired the winner into the bottom corner of the net on 50 minutes.

He has now claimed 23 goals in 20 league matches against Wolfsburg.

Wolfsburg suffered their first league defeat this season as Bayern got back to winning ways after drawing their two previous league games.

In Cologne, Leverkusen remain the league’s only unbeaten team after racing into a 2-0 lead on ten minutes thanks to goals by Mitchell Weiser and Moussa Diaby.

Czech striker Patrik Schick added Leverkusen’s third early in the second half when he buried Diaby’s cross before former Cologne player Florian Wirtz grabbed the visitor’s fourth.

Things remain tight at the top of the table as third-placed RB Leipzig stayed level on 28 points with Bayern with a 1-0 win at Hoffenheim thanks to Yussuf Poulsen’s second-half winner.

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski shoots on goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayern Munich and Vfl Wolfsburg on December 16, 2020 in Munich. (Photo by Lukas BARTH-TUTTAS / POOL / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

 

Schalke 04 are three short of matching an unwanted Bundesliga record after their 2-0 home defeat against Freiburg left the league’s bottom side without a win in their last 28 games.

“We lose hope too quickly. We must have more belief,” Schalke defender Benjamin Stambouli told Sky.

Schalke are closing in fast on the record, held by Tasmania Berlin who in their one Bundesliga season, went 31 matches without winning in 1965/66.

Schalke coach Manuel Baum, who took charge in September after predecessor David Wagner was fired, already has the unwanted club record of being winless in his first 10 games.

Freiburg winger Roland Sallai headed the visitors ahead after 50 minutes behind closed doors in Gelsenkirchen, then added a second 18 minutes later when he chipped home a perfectly-timed pass.

Having only ended their own nine-match winless streak on Saturday with a 2-0 home victory against Arminia Bielefeld, Freiburg are up to 10th in the table.

Schalke have now not won a game since January.

With a third of the season gone, they are six points from safety and on course for relegation after 30 unbroken seasons in Germany’s top tier.

This Saturday, Schalke have their next chance to end their miserable run at home to Bielefeld, who remain in the bottom three after Wednesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Augbsurg.

Lewandowski Hopes To Break Messi, Ronaldo Monopoly As World’s ‘Best’

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL
File photo: Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL

 

Robert Lewandowski is confident of being named FIFA’s best male footballer on Thursday on the strength of his 55-goal haul to help Bayern Munich win the treble last season.

The Poland striker, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are shortlisted in the men’s category for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards.

“We were the best, there’s no doubt about that,” Lewandowski said on Wednesday ahead of the online ceremony at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

After a season “when you’ve scored a lot of goals and won everything, I don’t think there’s anyone I can compare myself to,” the 32-year-old added confidently.

His goals helped Bayern lift the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League trophies in 2019/20 as top-scorer in all three competitions.

Lewandowski has already been named the footballer of the year for Germany and Europe.

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Croatia’s Luka Modric, voted ‘The Best’ FIFA men’s footballer in 2018, is the only player to have broken Ronaldo and Messi’s domination since 2008.

Ronaldo has been voted player of the year five times, one less than Messi.

Can the Poland striker – who team-mate Thomas Mueller has dubbed ‘LewanGOALski’ – break the mould?

“There’s no one who deserves it as much as Robert,” said Bayern boss Hansi Flick, who is shortlisted for coach of the year alongside Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa.

A file photo combination of Lewandowski, Messi and Ronaldo.

 

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer – who along with Jan Oblak and Alisson Becker is up for the best male goalkeeper award – says Lewandowski is “unique”.

“I’m really happy to have him in my team – and not to have to play against him,” Neuer quipped.

The various category winners will be decided by the votes of the captains and head coaches of all the national teams, plus more than 200 media representatives, while fans can also vote.

England’s Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder of Chelsea and French defender Wendie Renard are in the running for the women’s award.

However, Bayern players are only too aware of the dangers of getting their hopes up.

Former Munich winger Franck Ribery was crestfallen in 2013 – when Bayern also won the treble – to have been voted third behind Ronaldo and Messi.

A year later, Neuer had to settle for third behind the superstars despite outstanding displays to help Germany win the 2014 World Cup.

Lewandowski scored in Bayern’s 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in August with Messi on the losing team.

A footballer from a Bundesliga club has never been voted as the world’s best player.

Lothar Matthaeus, the only German voted FIFA world player of the year, was at Inter Milan when he achieved the feat in 1991.

Lewandowski would not be surprised if Messi wins it again on Thursday, adding: “we’ll have to wait 100 years until someone like him is born again”.

AFP

FIFA Shortlists Lewandowski For Best Player Award

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Hertha Berlin on October 4, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany.

 

The three finalists for FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards were named on Friday with Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo topping the men’s list.

The award winners will be revealed on 17 December with England’s Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder of Chelsea and the tall French defender Wendie Renard in the running for the women’s award.

Voting is equally weighted between on-line fan votes, some 200 journalists, national team coaches and captains.

After taking Leeds United back to the English top-flight for the first time in 16 years Marcelo Bielsa goes up against two Germans in Hansi Flick of Bayern Munich and Jurgen Klopp of Liverpool.

Jean-Luc Vasseur took Lyon to the women’s Champions League title and leads the chase for best women’s coach with Chelsea’s Emma Hayes and Netherlands national coach Sarina Wiegman.

 

AFP

FIFA Awards 2020: Lewandowski Joins Messi, Ronaldo On Ten Man Shortlist

 

European player of the year Robert Lewandowski is one of 10 players on the shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award unveiled Wednesday, alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.

Besides Polish striker Lewandowski, one other winner of the Champions League with Bayern Munich made the list, Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who joined Liverpool in September.

The English champions also count Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Dutchman Virgil van Dijk on the shortlist.

Paris Saint-Germain, beaten Champions League finalists, are represented by Mbappe and Neymar.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos complete the list.

Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, who led Leeds into the English Premier League, headlines a list for the men’s coach award, which also features Bayern’s Hans-Dieter Flick, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.

 

READ ALSO: Ibrahimovic Hints At Possible Sweden National Team Return

 

Three finalists from categories also including men and women’s goalkeepers, and women’s players and coaches will be announced on December 11, with the award handed out on December 17.

Shortlists for Best FIFA awards

Men: Thiago Alcantara (ESP/Bayern Munchen/Liverpool), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus), Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City), Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich), Sadio Mane (SEN/Liverpool), Kylian Mbappe (FRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona), Neymar (BRA/Paris Saint-Germain), Sergio Ramos (ESP/Real Madrid), Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (NED/Liverpool)

Women: Lucy Bronze (ENG/Lyon/Manchester City), Delphine Cascarino (FRA/Lyon), Caroline Graham Hansen (NOR/Barcelona), Pernille Harder (DEN/Wolfsburg/Chelsea), Jennifer Hermoso (ESP/Barcelona), Ji So-yun (KOR/Chelsea), Sam Kerr (AUS/Chelsea), Saki Kumagai (JPN/Lyon), Dzsenifer Marozsan (GER/Lyon), Vivianne Miedema (NED/Arsenal), Wendie Renard (FRA/Lyon)

-AFP

Lewandowski, Mueller Doubles Send Bayern Second With Bielefeld Win

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring the 0:3 goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match between DSC Arminia Bielefeld and FC Bayern Munich at the SchuecoArena in Bielefeld, western Germany, on October 17, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP) 

 

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller both scored twice as Bayern Munich banished their early-season blues with a thumping 4-1 win over Bundesliga minnows Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday after a “crazy” first half.

Treble winners Bayern started the day in mid-table following a shock defeat to Hoffenheim last month, but victory in Bielefeld was enough to propel them back up to second place.

The champions burst out of the blocks and had an early penalty appeal turned down before Mueller bundled in the opener on eight minutes.

Lewandowski doubled the lead shortly afterwards, smashing the ball in from the edge of the area after a sharp cross from Leon Goretzka.

The Poland striker linked up with Mueller to make it 3-0 just before half-time, and returned the favour after the break with a pinpoint cross to set up Mueller’s second.

“The first 45 minutes were crazy, we played really well. We knew that the first game after the international break would be really important,” Lewandowski told Sky.

Japan winger Ritsu Doan then pulled one back for Bielefeld on the break, the PSV Eindhoven loanee netting his first Bundesliga goal since moving to Germany in the summer.

Yet despite a late red card for Corentin Tolisso, Bayern were untroubled in the final stages and can now turn their attention to Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Atletico Madrid.

Hansi Flick’s side now sit level on points with third-placed Borussia Dortmund, who snatched a late 1-0 win at Hoffenheim earlier on Saturday.

– ‘Hectic schedule’ -Dortmund, who like Bayern had already lost one game this season, looked set to drop further points before Erling Haaland and Marco Reus came off the bench in the second half to breathe new life into a blunt performance.

Haaland, 20, surged forward on the break to set up Reus with a tap-in and snatch Dortmund’s first away victory over Hoffenheim in eight years.

“They’ve always made it difficult for us here in recent years. We didn’t have many good chances in the first half and we knew we needed to create more in the second half,” the goalscorer told Sky.

Haaland was initially rested after he played three times for Norway in the previous two weeks, prompting criticism of the busy international schedule.

“At Dortmund, we are used to having a lot of midweek games at this stage of the season. The schedule is a bit more hectic this year, so we have to look after ourselves,” said Reus, after slotting Haaland’s square pass into the open net to score his first goal since February.

Dortmund and Bayern now sit one point behind league leaders RB Leipzig, who held onto top spot with a 2-0 win against surprise high-fliers Augsburg.

Angelino headed Leipzig in front on the stroke of half-time to score his second goal in two games, before Yussuf Poulsen doubled the lead with a sumptuous volley on 66 minutes.

“These are the games you need to win if you want to land in the top four,” Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann told Sky.

Elsewhere, Lucas Alario’s first half header sealed a 1-0 win for Bayer Leverkusen and extended second-from-bottom Mainz’s miserable run to four defeats in four games.

Promoted side Stuttgart continued their good start to the season, as Marc-Oliver Kempf and Gonzalo Castro fired them to a 2-0 win away to Hertha Berlin, while Werder Bremen held Freiburg to a 1-1 draw in the south west.

Freiburg took the lead early on through Philipp Lienhart and had a second goal ruled out for offside before Bremen’s Niclas Fuellkrug levelled the scores from the penalty spot.

 

-AFP

Lewandowski Hits Four As Bayern Munich Win Seven-Goal Thriller

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs Hertha Berlin on October 4, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP).

 

Robert Lewandowski netted four goals – including the decisive added-time penalty – as defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich survived a fight-back by Hertha Berlin to seal a nervy 4-3 win on Sunday.

Lewandowki, voted European footballer of the year on Friday, scored twice to put Bayern 2-0 up early in the second half only for Hertha to score three times to make it 3-3 with time almost up.

However, the Poland hot-shot then converted a 93rd-minute spot kick to seal the win which lifts Bayern to fourth in the table.

The victory got Bayern back to winning ways after their record 23-match winning streak was ended by a 4-1 defeat at Hoffenheim last Sunday.

Yet the European champions again looked jaded at the Allianz Arena while Hertha finished the stronger.

Fresh from their 3-2 victory over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday in the German Super Cup, Bayern gave a first start to US junior international Chris Richards, 20, at right-back.

In the build-up, Bayern announced the signing of defensive midfielder Marc Roca from Espanyol to replace Thiago Alcantara who has joined Liverpool.
– Hertha fight back –

Bayern made a nervy start as Hertha’s Colombia striker Jhon Cordoba beat Manuel Neuer on 15 minutes with a fierce strike, but he was offside.

Thomas Mueller headed the ball in the Hertha net on 36 minutes, but the VAR ruled he was offside.

Lewandowski first struck on 40 minutes when he fired home the rebound after Hertha goalkeeper Alexander Schwolow had saved his initial header.

It was Lewandowski’s 100th Bundesliga goal for Bayern at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

It was 1-0 at the break, but the Poland star doubled his tally six minutes into the second half when he turned through 180 degrees to fire home after Richard’s pass.

Hertha pulled a goal back when Cordoba struck with a header on 59 minutes from a free-kick by Matheus Cunha, who has been called up by Brazi.

The 21-year-old Cunha then made it 2-2 after dribbling past Jerome Boateng, then beat David Alaba and Benjamin Pavard before firing past Neuer on 71 minutes.

Bayern again pulled ahead when Mueller met Alaba’s free-kick and served up a tap-in for Lewandowski on 85 minutes.

There was still time for Hertha replacement Jessic Ngankam to header an equaliser past Neuer on 88 minutes.

However, Lewandowski netted the decisive spot kick just before the whistle after being pulled down by Berlin defender Maximilian Mittelstaedt.
– Augsburg miss top spot –

Earlier, second-placed Augsburg missed the chance to top the table as they were held to a goalless draw at Wolfsburg, who had a first-half goal disallowed.

Having beaten Union Berlin and shocked Borussia Dortmund in their opening German league games, a third straight win would have sent Augsburg top ahead of RB Leipzig, who routed bottom side Schalke 4-0 on Saturday.

With coach Heiko Herrlich missing on the sidelines due to a lung problem, Augsburg’s attack failed to find the net at Wolfsburg, who have drawn their opening three league games.

The hosts had a first-half goal by midfielder Josip Brekalo ruled out as the VAR spotted striker Wout Weghorst offside in the build up.

AFP

‘Better Than Beating Brazil’: Mueller Steals Show From Lewandowski And Even Messi

Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (R) celebrates with Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Serge Gnabry after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 14, 2020. (Photo by Rafael Marchante / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Record-breaking Thomas Mueller said Bayern Munich’s 8-2 thrashing of Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final on Friday topped the 7-1 hammering Germany handed Brazil at the 2014 World Cup as he stole the limelight from Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi.

Man-of-the-match Mueller netted twice in Lisbon as Barcelona conceded four goals in the first-half of a Champions League game for the first time as Bayern led 4-1 at half-time.

Substitute Philippe Coutinho, on loan from Barcelona, also scored twice after the break, alongside goals from Joshua Kimmich and Lewandowski, as Barcelona suffered their heaviest defeat in Europe.

“When we (Germany) played against Brazil we were not as in control as we were tonight,” insisted Mueller who also scored in the historic World Cup semi-final.

“You can never completely turn Barcelona off, but we gave their midfield practically no room, we did what we wanted to do.”

 

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 14, 2020. (Photo by Manu Fernandez / POOL / AFP)

 

The 30-year-old Mueller capped an outstanding display by passing Philipp Lahm’s record to become the German with the most Champions League appearances with 113 games.

“We need to stop talking about the record, it’s just a statistic,” Mueller insisted.

“There were a lot of nicer things to say about the game.

“Our team spirit is extremely good and the main thing is we are doing what we want to do on the pitch, everyone is torturing themselves to put the work in.”

After Bayern threw down a marker to their remaining Champions League rivals, Mueller warned that nothing has been achieved yet.

 

Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 14, 2020. (Photo by Manu Fernandez / POOL / AFP)

 

Up next is a semi-final against either Manchester City or Lyon.

“I am just happy we could put in a performance like that under such pressure,” he said.

“My experience is that it gets more difficult now, it starts again at 0-0 and, in a semi-final, the teams tend not to get worse, but better.

“We can go to bed with a smile and enjoy the atmosphere, but we want to stay in the tournament.”

In the build up, there had been fierce debate as to whether Lewandowski or Messi is the better player.

Barca’s nemesis

However, Mueller stole the show by underlining his status as Barcelona’s nemesis with six goals in five games against the Spanish giants.

Mueller scored against Barcelona when Bayern bowed out in the Champions League semi-finals in 2014/15.

He also netted three goals over two legs against Barcelona seven years ago when Bayern romped to a 4-0 win in Munich and 3-0 away in the semi-finals on the way to winning the 2013 Champions League title.

After creating a record 21 assists in the Bundesliga last season – many of them finished by Lewandowski – Mueller outshone the Champions League’s top-scorer in Lisbon with two superb first-half goals.

He took a return pass from Lewandowski with just four minutes gone to fire past Barca’s Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

After Bayern defender David Alaba turned the ball into his own net on seven minutes, Bayern emphatically re-established their lead by bossing the Barca midfield with goals by Ivan Perisic and Serge Gnabry.

Mueller made it 4-1 on 31 minutes when he fired in Joshua Kimmich’s low cross at the far post to leave Barcelona shell-shocked at the break.

“It was a special evening,” Mueller added, “from the result alone and the way it felt on the pitch.”

 

Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final football match between Barcelona and Bayern Munich at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on August 14, 2020. (Photo by Rafael Marchante / POOL / AFP)

 

His form in 2019/20 had already proved that Germany head coach Joachim Loew arguably wrote Mueller out of his plans far too soon.

Following Germany’s disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign, when the holders went out in the group stages, Mueller was unceremoniously dumped by Loew in March 2019 alongside defenders Mat Hummels and Jerome Boateng.

However, Mueller has responded and proven emphatically why former Bayern coach Niko Kovac was also wrong to start him on the bench this season.

When Kovac was sacked in November, his replacement Hansi Flick reinstated Mueller, who has been a key factor with 14 goals this season.

He has been the central cog in attack as Bayern romped to an eighth straight Bundesliga title, lifted the German Cup and remain on course to add the Champions League title.

 

-AFP

Bundesliga: Lewandowski Scores 30th Goal Of Season

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) heads to score his team’s fourth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayer 04 Leverkusen v FC Bayern Munich on June 6, 2020 in Leverkusen, western Germany. Matthias Hangst / POOL / AFP

 

Robert Lewandowski scored his 30th league goal of the season on Saturday as Bayern Munich came from behind to claim a 4-2 victory at Bayer Leverkusen and move a step closer to the Bundesliga title.

After Lucas Alario secured an early lead for the home side, Bayern struck twice in quick succession just before half-time to turn the game in their favour after Kingsley Coman’s equaliser.

Lewandowski netted in the second half as Bayern established a 10-point lead over title rivals Borussia Dortmund, who host Hertha Berlin later on Saturday.

The game also saw Bayern lend their support to protests over the death of black American man George Floyd, with all players wearing armbands bearing the slogan “Black Lives Matter”.

AFP

Lewandowski Scores Twice As Bayern Go 10 Points Clear

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL
Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates the 3-0 during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Fortuna Duesseldorf on May 30, 2020 in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP / POOL

 

Bayern Munich opened a 10-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga on Saturday with a 5-0 drubbing of relegation-threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf behind closed doors with the league’s top-scorer Robert Lewandowski scoring twice.

Duesseldorf defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own goal before Benjamin Pavard, Lewandowski (2) and Alphonso Davies hit the target.

With five games left, Bayern, who have won their last eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title.

However, second-placed Borussia Dortmund could trim their lead on Sunday at bottom side Paderborn.

Lewandowski, who had never previously scored in six games against Duesseldorf, made amends with goals either side of half-time.

Fortuna, who were unbeaten in their three games since the league resumed after a two-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus, were humbled at the Allianz Arena where they last poached a 3-3 draw in November 2018.

They fell behind on 15 minutes when Joergensen turned the ball into his own net after Pavard mishit his shot.

Right-back Pavard then grabbed the second with a powerful header on 29 minutes before Lewandowski made it 3-0 just before the break after being presented with a tap-in by Thomas Mueller.

Duesseldorf were floored with two goals in as many minutes as Lewandowski profited again with another poacher’s goal after Serge Gnabry’s good work.

Davies then scored the game’s best goal.

After some high pressing, the Canadian teen won the ball in the Duesseldorf area, barged past a succession of defenders and fired home to make it 5-0 on 52 minutes.

US death protest

Werder Bremen boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Schalke, who are winless in 11 games and continue to plummet.

Midfielder Leonardo Bittencourt scored a first-half winner.

“This is a very, very important away win,” said Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt.

“We have taken seven points from the last three games, but if you look at the table, we are still behind.”

Bremen have spent more seasons in the Bundesliga than any other club, but currently sit second from bottom.

However, Saturday’s victory leaves them just three points from guaranteed safety with six games left.

They are two points behind Duesseldorf in 16th, which carries a relegation play-off at the end of the season.

Werder could climb out of the relegation places for the first time since December on Wednesday if they beat Eintracht Frankfurt at home.

Bittencourt hit a stunning strike from just outside the box which beat Schalke’s Bayern-bound goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel on 32 minutes.

Schalke succumbed to their fourth straight defeat, piling pressure on head coach David Wagner.

In the same game, Schalke’s American midfielder Weston McKennie wore a ‘Justice for George’ armband as part of the growing protests over the death of an unarmed black man during a police arrest in the United States.

“To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on too long feels good!!!,” tweeted 21-year-old McKennie.

“We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard.”

George Floyd died in Minneapolis in an arrest by a police officer who pinned him to the ground for several minutes by kneeling on his neck.

Hertha on the rise

Hertha remain unbeaten with three wins and a draw since Bruno Labbadia took charge during the lockdown after their 2-0 win at home to Augsburg thanks for goals by Javairo Dilrosun and Krzysztof Piatek.

Having routed Leverkusen 4-1 away on Tuesday, Wolfsburg crashed to a 2-1 defeat at home to 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt.

Japan midfielder Daichi Kamada scored the winner 10 minutes from time while Frankfurt had replacement midfielder Lucas Torro sent off in the dying stages for a second yellow card.

Frankfurt took the lead when striker Andre Silva converted a penalty on 27 minutes, but Wolfsburg equalised when right-back Kevin Mbabu headed home on 58 minutes.

Hoffenheim are seventh after their 1-0 win at Mainz thanks to Ihlas Bebou who darted into the area, swept past two defenders, and fired home on 43 minutes.

On Friday, Leverkusen went third when Germany midfielder Kai Havertz became the first player in Bundesliga history to score 35 goals before his 21st birthday to seal a 1-0 win at Freiburg.

Lewandowski Double Edges Bayern Past Bottom Side Paderborn

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the German first division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v SC Paderborn in Munich, southern Germany, on February 21, 2020.
Guenter SCHIFFMANN / AFP

 

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich squeezed past bottom side Paderborn 3-2 on Friday as Robert Lewandowski netted twice to spare goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s blushes in their final game before facing Chelsea in the Champions League.

Lewandowski now has a league-leading tally of 25 goals in the top flight, illustrating his importance to the team ahead of Tuesday’s last 16, first-leg tie in London.

Bayern twice surrendered the lead in Munich before securing the win which leaves them four points clear.

With Bayern leading 1-0 thanks to Serge Gnabry’s early goal, Neuer mistimed a clearance outside his area, allowing Paderborn midfielder Dennis Srbeny to fire into an empty net just before half-time.

“I was worried about knocking into him, because that would have been a red card,” Neuer explained.

“I had the feeling he would get to the ball before me. That’s why it looks that way. It’s part of my game and it happens.”

READ ALSO: Euro Ban Will Make Man City Stronger, Says Rodgers

However, Lewandowski then struck in the 70th minute to make it 2-1, only for Paderborn to draw level again after poor defending allowed Sven Michel a simple tap in 15 minutes from time.

However, there was still time for Lewandowski to fire home the winner, thanks to Gnabry’s superb cross.

In the build-up, Bayern coach Hansi Flick warned his team had to focus on strugglers Paderborn, but the Bavarian giants seemed to have one eye on Chelsea.

“Paderborn absolutely challenged us to the very last,” admitted Flick.

Paderborn had the ball in Bayern’s net after four minutes when their striker Streli Mamba slid the ball under Neuer, but the effort was flagged offside.

As expected, Bayern took an early at the Allianz Arena when Gnabry celebrated his 100th Bundesliga appearance by turning and hitting into the bottom corner on 26 minutes.

Paderborn drew level after Neuer mistimed a clearance outside the box.

The Germany captain had twice previously cleared the danger by dealing with long-distance chances intended for Paderborn’s forwards.

However, the tactic backfired a third time when he failed to clear a ball over the defence meant for Srbeny, who kept his cool and slotted into the empty Bayern net on 44 minutes.

With the scores locked at 1-1 and time ticking down, Lewandowski restored the hosts’ lead when Gnabry set him up for a lethal shot on 70 minutes.

Paderborn, however, came back again and Michel gave them a second equaliser by tapping home a rebound after Neuer had saved a shot by replacement left-back Dennis Jastrzembski.

However, it was Gnabry again who provided the assist with an inch-perfect cross which Lewandowski swept home two minutes from time to settle the matter.

AFP

Lewandowski Strikes Again As Bayern Go Second In Bundesliga

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (L) celebrates scoring with Bayern Munich’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho during the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha Berlin v Bayern Munich in Berlin, on January 19, 2020. Ronny HARTMANN / AFP

 

Robert Lewandowski hit his 20th league goal this season as Bayern Munich climbed to second in the Bundesliga Sunday with a 4-0 romp at Hertha Berlin to trim RB Leipzig’s lead to four points.

Having seen RB Leipzig go five points clear with a 3-1 win over Union Berlin on Saturday, Bayern climbed a place in the Bundesliga with second-half goals in the capital by Thomas Mueller, Lewandowski, Thiago Alcantara and Ivan Perisic.

After Leipzig’s Germany striker Timo Werner had edged ahead of him as the league’s top scorer with two goals against Union, Lewandowski drew level with his main rival’s tally on 20 league goals by converting a penalty.

Lewandowski and Werner are now the first players in Bundesliga history to have scored 20 goals after 18 games in their challenge to Gerd Mueller’s record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season, set in 1971/72.

After a groin injury last month, Lewandowski proved his fitness with an lively display at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

He now has 31 goals in 26 games in all competitions, including 10 in just five Champions League games.

There was good news before kick-off for Hertha coach Jurgen Klinsmann as the German Football Association (DFB) confirmed his coaching licence is valid after doubts emerged last week over whether the certificate earned in 2000 had expired.

There was little else to cheer Hertha fans as Bayern established supremacy with nearly 70 percent possession as the defending champions struggling however to break Hertha’s defence.

The breach finally came on 60 minutes when Leon Goretzka put a cross to the far post, Perisic headed back and Mueller crashed home the shot.

Lewandowski had a header disallowed soon after when the video assistant referee spotted the striker made contact with Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein, who had claimed the cross a millisecond before.

However, when Bayern were awarded a penalty after Goretzka was upended, Lewandowski sent Jarstein the wrong way to put Bayern 2-0 up with 73 minutes gone.

Alcantara added a third with superb finishing after the Hertha defence had again been shredded and Perisic was finally rewarded for a good display when he headed home with six minutes left with an assist from Mueller.

The victory in Berlin sets Bayern up for Saturday’s crunch home clash against fifth-placed Schalke, who beat fellow title contenders Moenchengladbach 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen on Friday.