Saudi Arabia Fall To Poland As Lewandowski Breaks World Cup Duck

Lewandowski celebrates goal against Saudi Arabia. Twitter/FIFA World Cup.

 

Robert Lewandowski scored the first World Cup goal of his prolific career on Saturday when he netted in Poland’s 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia, bursting their bubble following the team’s giant-killing act against Argentina.

Barcelona forward Lewandowski made sure Poland took a big step towards the last 16 in Qatar when he rolled home in the 82nd minute after being gifted the ball by Abdulelah Al-Malki.

However it was a battle for Czeslaw Michniewicz’s side, who were leading at that point thanks to Piotr Zielinski’s roofed finish and an incredible double save from Wojciech Szczesny after Salem Al-Dawsari’s penalty late in the first half.

Poland leapfrogged the Saudis into first place in Group C, with Lionel Messi’s Argentina facing Mexico later on Saturday.

Egged on by a vocal crowd, Herve Renard’s Saudi team came out with the bit between their teeth and the Poles frequently struggled to handle their aggressive press.

Poland were shown three early yellow cards.

Mohamed Kanno had the game’s first decent effort on goal, tipped over by Szczesny in the 13th minute.

Lewandowski initially found it hard to get into the game as he was immediately surrounded by a gang of defenders led by Ali Al-Bulayhi, who at one point looked to be heading out of the game after being accidentally studded by the Barca star.

AFP

Lewandowski Saves Drowning Barca In Thrilling Inter Draw

Barcelona’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores his team’s third goal during the UEFA Champions League 1st round, group C, football match between FC Barcelona and Inter Milan at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 12, 2022. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

 

Robert Lewandowski scored two late goals to save Barcelona from elimination in the Champions League in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Inter Milan on Wednesday at Camp Nou.

The Polish forward dragged Xavi Hernandez’s side level at 2-2 in the 82nd minute and then again at 3-3 in stoppage time with a towering header, after Robin Gosens put the Italians ahead with one minute remaining.

Barcelona’s Champions League fate is no longer in their own hands though and they still face a second consecutive group stage elimination if Inter Milan win at home against eliminated Viktoria Plzen on October 26.

Being on the verge of another early knock-out is a bitter blow for the Catalans, who hoped a summer signing spree including Lewandowski from Bayern Munich could restore their position among Europe’s elite.

“We had an enormous opportunity and we didn’t take it,” said Barcelona defender Eric Garcia.

“We made errors that at this level, you cannot make. We fought back and managed to get the draw. We’re not out but it’s complicated. We have to keep going, while there’s still some hope.”

The hosts made the early running but Lautaro Martinez flashed a warning shot into the side-netting on the counter attack, with Inter sitting deep but ready to spring forward.

Lewandowski, in search of his first goal in three games, had a header cleared off the line by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Raphinha’s shot was deflected inches over the crossbar.

At the other end Edin Dzeko hit the crossbar, with the ball bouncing down but not crossing the goal-line, with Barcelona gratefully scrambling the ball to safety.

Andre Onana denied Ousmane Dembele and Pedri, while his Barcelona counterpart Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced a solid stop to keep out Denzel Dumfries on the break.

Raphinha was frustrated after skewing a volley wide but his work-rate proved crucial when Barcelona broke the deadlock. The Brazilian winger chased a ball down in the corner and fed Sergi Roberto, who cut the ball across for Dembele to blast home from close range.

It was his first goal in the Champions League for nearly two years, and another milestone in his renaissance under Xavi, arguably Barcelona’s best player since the coach arrived at Camp Nou in November 2021. Dembele embraced his coach on the side of pitch after an emphatic celebration.

– Barca errors prove costly –

 

Inter stewed on the goal at half-time and quickly produced one of their own, netting in the 50th minute after Gerard Pique played Nicolo Barella onside and the Italian rifled home.

The Inter midfielder snuck behind Pique, who waved a cross past him, towards Ter Stegen, not reading Barella’s movement.

The defender, 35, was starting his first Champions League game of the season, with Barcelona paying the price for Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo and Andreas Christensen’s injuries.

And it was another of the team’s veterans who gave the ball away for Inter’s second goal, with Sergio Busquets conceding possession with a stray pass. Hakan Calhanoglu found Martinez, and the Argentine striker left Garcia for dead and slammed home via the post.

Lewandowski drilled past Onana at the other end but was clearly offside, as Barcelona desperation grew, with the Polish forward sending a diving header wide.

Eventually Lewandowski got his goal with a deflected strike at the second attempt after substitute Alejandro Balde found him in the area.

Gosens thought he had handed Inter qualification and eliminated Barca when he struck late on from Martinez’s cross, on yet another counter-attack, but Lewandowski had other ideas.

The striker’s towering header saved Barcelona from certain elimination, but their future in the competition still hangs by a fraying thread.

There is little time for Barcelona to pick themselves up and dust themselves down. On Sunday, Real Madrid beckon at the Santiago Bernabeu in La Liga.

AFP

Lewandowski Promises To Help Barcelona ‘Return To The Top’

In this file photo, Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Dynamo Kyiv in Munich, southern Germany, on September 29, 2021.
CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP

 

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski said Monday he was raring to go at new club Barcelona and determined to help them “return to the top and win as many titles as possible”.

“I’m finally here. I’m delighted to be at Barça,” the former Bayern Munich star told Barca TV after joining his new teammates in Miami where Barcelona are starting a four-match US tour this week.

“The last few days have been long, but finally an agreement has been reached. I’m ready to take on this new challenge,” continued the 33-year-old.

“I’ve always wanted to play in La Liga and in the big teams, so Barca is a great opportunity for me.

“I’m here to help Barca get back to the top and win as many titles as possible.”

Barcelona’s last domestic title was in 2019 and their last Champions League trophy was in 2015.

On Saturday, Bayern Munich announced that they had reached an agreement with Barcelona for Lewandowski after two months of endless negotiations between the clubs.

The two-time FIFA men’s player of the year has reportedly agreed on a four-year deal worth 50 million euros ($50.4m), including five million in potential add-ons.

He is the club’s fourth summer transfer after Ivory Coast midfielder Franck Kessie from AC Milan and Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen on a free transfer, and Brazil winger Raphinha, recruited for 70 million euros from Leeds.

The club has also extended the contract of French winger Ousmane Dembele, who is committed until 2024.

A very generous transfer window for a club which suffered from an abysmal debt, exceeding one billion euros in the long term, a few months ago.

-AFP

Bayern Munich Confirm Lewandowski Wants To Leave

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Dynamo Kyiv in Munich, southern Germany, on September 29, 2021. CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP

 

Robert Lewandowski banged in his 35th league goal on the final day of the Bundesliga season Saturday as Bayern Munich confirmed their top-scoring striker wants to leave, amid reports he could join Barcelona this summer.

Lewandowki scored for the Bundesliga champions in a 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg.

Bayern sports director Hasan Salihamidzic insists Lewandowski will play for them next season, pointing out: “‘Lewy’ has a contract until June 2023.”

But German media outlets claim the 33-year-old has refused to sign an extension and wants to join Barcelona for next season.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo, Mane Missing As EPL Unveils Player of The Season Nominees

Salihamidzic confirmed that Lewandowksi wants to leave. “During conversations, he informed me that he did not want to accept our offer to extend the contract and would like to leave,” he said.

A crisp Lewandowski header from a Thomas Mueller cross put Bayern 2-0 up after defender Josip Stanisic netted his first Bundesliga goal for the visitors.

Wolfsburg clawed their way back as Danish forward Jonas Wind scored, then veteran striker Max Kruse levelled for the hosts.

Erling Haaland signed off his final appearance for second-placed Borussia Dortmund in a 2-1 home win over Hertha Berlin.

The Norwegian star is set to complete a long-awaited move to Manchester City for next season.

Haaland equalised from the penalty spot in the second half to cancel out Ishak Belfodil’s early goal for Hertha at Signal Iduna Park.

Dortmund’s 17-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko came off the bench and grabbed the winner, just seconds after replacing Axel Witsel.

Haaland applauded home fans after the final whistle while Dortmund also said goodbye to sports director Michael Zorc.

The defeat pushed Hertha into 16th, which means a two-legged relegation play-off against the team which finishes third in the second division, currently Hamburg.

“The boys are totally exhausted and worked up,” said Hertha sports director Fredi Bobic.

“They must now have the belief to pull it together in these two games.”

Endo rescues Stuttgart

There were dramatic scenes in Stuttgart where Japan midfielder Wataru Endo scored a stoppage-time winner to seal a 2-1 win over Cologne.

The win saw Stuttgart claw their way to 15th and guaranteed survival next season.

Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic made amends for having a first-half penalty saved by heading in the resulting corner 26 seconds later.

Cologne equalised when veteran French striker Anthony Modeste headed in his 20th goal of the season until Endo struck.

Stuttgart fans stormed the pitch at the final whistle to kick off the celebrations.

“It feels good, but I have a sore head from all the shouting and celebrating,” said head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo.

“It was a great moment. I’m so happy for the boys. You never forget a moment like today.”

Cologne finish seventh to qualify for the Europa Conference League.

Union Berlin will play in the Europa League next season after finishing fifth after Nigeria striker Taiwo Awoniyi netted twice to seal a 3-2 win.

Union raced into a 2-0 lead as Grischa Proemel gave the hosts an early lead before Awoniyi converted a penalty.

Bochum roared back as Simon Zoller headed in a goal, then Eduard Loewen levelled before Awoniyi grabbed a late winner.

Freiburg finished sixth and punched their Europa League ticket despite losing 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen, whose Argentinian defender Exequiel Palacios scored the winner seven minutes into stoppage time.

Arminia Bielefeld joined Greuther Fuerth in being relegated from Germany’s top flight despite a 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig, who finished fourth and qualified for the Champions League.

Germany midfielder Jonas Hofmann scored twice as Borussia Moenchengladbach thrashed Hoffenheim 5-1.

Brazil defender Tutu and Colombia striker Rafael Borre hit the net as Eintracht Frankfurt tuned up for Wednesday’s Europa League final against Rangers with a 2-2 draw at Mainz.

 

AFP

Lewandowski Fires Bayern Into Champions League Last Eight With 7-1 Win Over Salzburg

Bayern Munich's Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League last-16, second-leg football match FC Bayern Munich vs RB Salzburg in Munich, southern Germany on March 8, 2022. CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP
Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League last-16, second-leg football match FC Bayern Munich vs RB Salzburg in Munich, southern Germany on March 8, 2022. CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP

 

Robert Lewandowski scored a record-breaking 11-minute hat-trick to send Bayern Munich sailing into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 7-1 win at home to Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday.

The Polish striker had three goals to his name by the 23rd minute — the earliest anyone has ever completed a hat-trick in a Champions League game — as Bayern shook off their early nerves to crush Salzburg.

The Austrian champions had held Bayern to a 1-1 draw in the first leg, but their hopes of an upset in Munich were left in tatters when Lewandowski scored a tap-in and two penalties to send Bayern on their way to a famous victory.

With just ten minutes and 27 seconds between Lewandowski’s first and third goals, it was the fastest of the six hat-tricks the Pole has now scored in the Champions League.

Bayern started with an attack-heavy 3-5-2, but they looked nervy at the back and there were chances at both ends in the opening minutes.

Lewandowski forced a sharp save from Philipp Koehn with the first attack of the game, while Nicolas Capaldo was denied at the other end by a brilliant block from Kingsley Coman.

Lewandowski gratefully tucked away a penalty to give Bayern the lead on 12 minutes after he was brought down by Maximilian Woeber in the box.

Initially, the lead didn’t seem to calm Bayern’s nerves, and Salzburg almost equalised as Nicolas Seiwald fizzed a fierce shot over the bar at the other end.

But Lewandowski was in a predatory mood, and he soon added two more to complete his hat-trick and put the tie beyond the Austrian side.

Having smashed a second penalty into the bottom corner to double the lead, he added a third on the counter-attack, chasing a loose ball over the line after a one-on-one with Koehn.

Bayern were now purring, and Serge Gnabry drilled home a crushingly inevitable fourth after an elegant passing move on the half-hour mark.

Thomas Mueller curled a brilliant shot into the bottom corner to make it 5-0 shortly after half time, before Bayern switched on cruise control.

The guests grabbed a consolation goal with a clinical counter-attack 20 minutes from time, 18-year-old Dane Maurits Kjaergaard smashing a Geoff-Hurst-like finish into the top corner past Manuel Neuer.

But the hosts had the last word as Mueller stroked home his second and Lewandowski set up Sane for Bayern’s seventh a few minutes from time.

AFP

Robert Lewandowski Named FIFA’s Best Player Of 2021

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between FC Bayern Munich and FC Dynamo Kyiv in Munich, southern Germany, on September 29, 2021.
CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP

 

Bayern Munich’s record-setting striker Robert Lewandowski retained FIFA’s top men’s player title Monday at “The Best” of 2021 ceremony as Barcelona captain Alexia Putellas collected the award for best women’s player.

The 33-year-old Lewandowski, who set a Bundesliga goal record last season, won the trophy for the second time, edging Argentine Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain and Egyptian Mohamed Salah of Liverpool.

It was some consolation for the Polish striker who lost out to Messi for the Ballon d’Or in November.

READ ALSO: Aboubakar Scores Again As Cameroon Joined By Burkina Faso In Last 16

For Putellas, it marked an awards double as the Spaniard triumphed over Barcelona team-mate Jennifer Hermoso and Chelsea’s Australian striker Sam Kerr, just as she did for the Ballon d’Or.

The 27-year-old midfielder enjoyed an exceptional 2020-2021 season with Barcelona when she led the Catalans to the Spanish league and cup double as well as the Champions League.

Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and Christiane Endler of Lyon won the goalkeeping awards.

Chelsea picked up both coaching awards through Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes.

Erik Lamela, now of Sevilla, won the best goal award for his trick rabona shot for Spurs in the North London derby.

The medical staff and players of Denmark, who had to deal with Christian Eriksen’s collapse on the field at the Euro won the “fair-play” award.

Bayern Crush Leverkusen To Return To Top Of Bundesliga

Leverkusen players including Leverkusen’s German forward Florian Wirtz (C) react after the German first division Bundesliga football match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Bayern Munich in Leverkusen, western Germany, on October 17, 2021. (Photo by Ina Fassbender / AFP)

 

Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both scored twice as Bayern Munich rampaged to a thumping 5-1 win at Bayer Leverkusen to return to the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday.

After suffering a shock defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt two weeks ago and losing the top spot to Borussia Dortmund overnight, Bayern bounced back in style against fellow title hopefuls Leverkusen.

Level on points in first and second before the weekend, the gulf in class between the two teams became apparent as Bayern put their hosts to the sword with a brutal and brilliant first-half performance.

The 31-time German champions smashed in four goals in the space of seven minutes in the first half to humiliate a young Leverkusen side and go a point clear of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

“It was clear after 45 minutes that the three points were coming to Munich,” Lewandowski told broadcaster DAZN.

“We knew that we would have to play our football from the beginning today, and the result shows how well we played.”

It took Bayern less than four minutes to go ahead, Lewandowski converting a Dayot Upamecano cross with a brilliant backheel to net his eighth goal of the season.

Leroy Sane hit the post shortly afterward, as Leverkusen struggled to control a sparkling Bayern attack. On the half-hour mark, the visitors carved through their opponents on the counter-attack, with Alphonso Davies bursting into the box to set up a poacher’s finish from Lewandowski.

Thomas Mueller quickly made it 3-0, deflecting a Niklas Suele shot past a helpless Lukas Hradecky.

Any hope of a Leverkusen fightback was buried just seconds later, as Mueller set up Gnabry with a low cross to make it 4-0.

Gnabry added a fifth on 37 minutes after a sharp one-two with Leon Goretzka.

Leverkusen rallied in the second half, Kerem Demirbay forcing a save from Manuel Neuer before Patrik Schick pulled a goal back.

English defender Omar Richards came on as a second-half substitute to make only his second appearance for Bayern since signing from Reading earlier this year, and Lucas Hernandez started the game despite being expected in court in Spain on Tuesday.

French international Hernandez potentially faces six months in prison for breaking a restraining order imposed on him in 2017 following an altercation with his then-girlfriend, whom he has since married.

Bayern continue their Champions League group stage campaign with a trip to Benfica on Wednesday, while Leverkusen meet Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday.

Lewandowski Retains German Player Of The Year Award

File photo of Lewandowski. [email protected] Bayern Munich

 

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was voted Germany’s Footballer of the Year for the second year running on Sunday.  

The 32-year-old Pole was once again the runaway winner of the title awarded by the football magazine Kicker, following a vote by journalists.

Lewandowski, who equalled Gerd Mueller’s 49-year-old scoring record in May as he netted his 41st Bundesliga goal of the season, received 356 of the 563 votes on offer.

“I am aware of how big this honour is. It is a reason for great pride and joy for me, because it is rare to win the title of Footballer of the Year in Germany twice in a row,” Lewandowski said.

Second-placed Thomas Mueller of Bayern Munich was 315 votes behind, while third place went to Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund, who received 38 votes.

“Of course I am happy that I have scored 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga games. This number of goals fills me with great pride and is certainly a spectacular achievement in view of my injury,” said Lewandowski, who was out for three weeks from late March with a knee problem.

Lewandowski’s former manager Hansi Flick, who was named the second-best manager behind Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel, said he was an “absolute professional with enormous quality” and “the best there is as a centre-forward”.

READ ALSO: Fans Urged To Stay Away From Olympic Marathon Over COVID-19 Fears

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates with the trophy for the leading goal scorer of the Bundesliga season after the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs FC Augsburg in Munich, southern Germany, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP)

 

Since joining Bayern in 2014, Lewandowski has scored 203 goals in 219 games.

In 2020-21, he was the architect of Bayern’s 31st German league championship win, their ninth consecutive Bundesliga title.

Lewandowski has netted over 500 goals for his clubs and country since starting his career.

Voted FIFA’s best male player of 2020, the goal-scoring sensation also won the European Golden Shoe, beating out Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

AFP

Poland’s Euro 2020 Exit ‘Hard To Accept’ For Lewandowski

Poland’s forward Robert Lewandowski (C) reacts after losing the UEFA EURO 2020 Group E football match between Sweden and Poland at Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski said it was tough to accept his team’s group stage elimination at Euro 2020 on Wednesday following a dramatic 3-2 loss to Sweden.

Needing a victory to reach the last 16, Poland came from two goals down to equalise as Lewandowski scored twice in the Group E game in Saint Petersburg.

But Viktor Claesson’s 94th-minute winner extinguished Polish hopes and condemned Paulo Sousa’s side to a group stage exit, the same fate the country suffered at the 2018 World Cup.

 

Poland’s forward Robert Lewandowski reacts after losing the UEFA EURO 2020 Group E football match between Sweden and Poland at Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 23, 2021. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / POOL / AFP)

 

“Of course it hurts. To be out of this tournament is a big loss for us. It’s going to be hard to accept,” Lewandowski told Polish state broadcaster TVP.

“You can’t say we didn’t have fighting spirit, ambition or determination. But there was something missing, the ability to win this match to keep on playing.

“But congratulations to the lads for trying, for battling. It wasn’t enough.”

Lewandowski Breaks Mueller’s 49-Year Scoring Record

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates with the trophy for the leading goal scorer of the Bundesliga season after the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs FC Augsburg in Munich, southern Germany, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP)

 

 

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski said it felt like being in a “science fiction film” as he scored his 41st Bundesliga goal of the season on Saturday to break Gerd Mueller’s 49-year-old German league record for a single campaign.

Lewandowski scored in the 90th minute of Bayern’s 5-2 home win over Augsburg having equalled Mueller’s record of 40, which was set in 1971/72, last weekend.

Lewandowski broke Mueller’s mark with a classic poacher’s effort, rounding the Augsburg goalkeeper to fire home having snapped up the rebound after Leroy Sane’s shot was parried just before the whistle.

“You wait for 90 minutes and then it comes in the last few seconds,” Lewandowski told Sky.

“It was like being in a science fiction film. I’ve lost my voice.

“I saw Leroy shoot for goal, I had to keep believing and luckily it came off.”

Lewandowski claimed the record having had his six previous shots all saved as Bayern were presented with the Bundesliga trophy after the final whistle for the ninth straight season

They finished the season 13 points clear in the table.

“I was a little bit disappointed to have not scored sooner, but sometimes such records have to be fought for,” added Lewandowski.

“I was patient and believed until the end. I thank my team, who share the record with me.”

It was the last game for Bayern head coach Hansi Flick, who will be replaced by Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann next season having won seven titles over the last 18 months.

At the other end of the table, Werder Bremen were relegated on the last day of the season after 40 years in Germany’s top flight.

Cologne’s 1-0 home win over bottom side Schalke meant automatic relegation for Bremen, who were thumped 4-2 at home to Moenchengladbach.

This is Bremen’s first relegation since 1979/80 before coming back up the following season.

Union Berlin qualified for the new Europa Conference League play-offs finishing seventh in the table with a shock 2-1 win over second-placed RB Leipzig.

 

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring his team’s fifth goal during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs FC Augsburg in Munich, southern Germany, on May 22, 2021. – Lewandowski scored his 41st Bundesliga goal of the season, breaking Gerd Mueller’s record. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP)

 

Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Serge Gnabry (C) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with Bayern Munich’s Austrian defender David Alaba (L) and Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs FC Augsburg in Munich, southern Germany, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP)

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski shoots but fails to score during the German first division Bundesliga football match Bayern Munich vs FC Augsburg in Munich, southern Germany, on May 22, 2021. (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / POOL / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

Robert Lewandowski Equals Bundesliga Record With 40th Goal This Season

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski scores the opening goal from the penalty spot, his 40th goal of the season during the German first division Bundesliga football match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, southwestern Germany on May 15, 2021. (Photo by Thomas KIENZLE / POOL / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO

 

 

Robert Lewandowski equalled Gerd Mueller’s 49-year-old scoring record as the Bayern Munich striker netted his 40th Bundesliga goal of the season at Freiburg on Saturday.

Lewandowski, FIFA’s best male player of 2020, has equalled Mueller’s record, scored over 34 games in 1971/72, in just 28 league games this season due to last month’s knee injury and squad rotation.

Lewandowski converted a penalty after 26 minutes to equal the league’s record.

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (L) celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot with his teammates, his 40th goal of the season during the German first division Bundesliga football match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, southwestern Germany on May 15, 2021. (Photo by Thomas KIENZLE / POOL / AFP) 

 

The game was briefly halted after Lewandowski equalled Mueller’s milestone as his Bayern team-mates made a guard-of-honour on the side of the pitch which the smiling 32-year-old ran through.

Lewandowski can still break Mueller’s record as Bayern, who were last weekend crowned Bundesliga champions for the ninth straight season, have one match left, at home to Augsburg next Saturday.

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot with his teammate Bayern Munich’s German midfielder Serge Gnabry, his 40th goal of the season during the German first division Bundesliga football match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, southwestern Germany on May 15, 2021. (Photo by Thomas KIENZLE / POOL / AFP) 

 

The Poland striker is set to be crowned the Bundesliga’s top-scorer for the sixth time in eight seasons.

 

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (L) controls the ball during the German first division Bundesliga football match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, southwestern Germany on May 15, 2021. (Photo by Thomas KIENZLE / POOL / AFP)

 

Bayern Munich’s Polish forward Robert Lewandowski (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot with his teammates, his 40th goal of the season during the German first division Bundesliga football match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, southwestern Germany on May 15, 2021. (Photo by Thomas KIENZLE / POOL / AFP)

Bayern Wait On Record-Chasing Lewandowski As Top-Four Race Hots Up

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)

 

There are question marks over Robert Lewandowski’s fitness as newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich head to Freiburg on Saturday, when he could equal or beat Gerd Mueller’s 49-year-old record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season.

Lewandowski only trained for 40 minutes on Thursday.

Bayern insisted he trained “a little shorter than the rest of the team” to keep him fresh after missing three weeks last month with injury.

Lewandowski netted a hat-trick last Saturday, leaving him on 39 league goals this season, in a 6-0 thrashing of Borussia Moenchengladbach, which confirmed a ninth straight Bundesliga title for Bayern.

The Poland international has two matches to break Mueller’s record, set over 34 games in 1971/72. Bayern also host Augsburg on the final day of the season on May 22.

“It doesn’t help if you want it too much, you have to stay calm and play for the team,” said the 32-year-old Lewandowski.

“I have to be grateful that I get so many assists from my team-mates.”

Lewandowski’s tally is all the more remarkable as injury and squad rotation have seen him play only 27 of Bayern’s 32 games so far.

“You can see that he is in terrific form. He has two more opportunities and he wants it badly. He will give it his all,” said Bayern captain Manuel Neuer.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is “astounded” by Lewandowski’s performances, having believed Mueller’s record would last for “eternity”.

– Three-way fight for two Champions League places –
In the Bundesliga table behind Bayern and second-placed RB Leipzig, Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt are all battling for the two remaining Champions League places.

Dortmund, who are fourth but just a point ahead of Frankfurt, have a tricky match on Sunday evening at Mainz, who shocked Bayern at the start of May.

There is speculation star striker Erling Braut Haaland could leave if Dortmund fail to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The pressure on Dortmund could be ramped up if Frankfurt beat relegated Schalke on Saturday to climb back into the top four.

Leipzig can secure second by avoiding defeat at home against third-placed VfL Wolfsburg on Sunday.

At the other end of the table, second-from-bottom Cologne face a crucial game at fellow strugglers Hertha Berlin, who are only three points above the relegation play-off place.

One to watch: Leroy SaneBy his own admission, the Germany winger has struggled to settle at Bayern this season after his high-profile move from Manchester City, having spent most of 2019/20 sidelined with a knee injury.

The 25-year-old scored in the rout of Gladbach and is hungry for more trophies after being part of last Saturday’s Bundesliga title party.

“It’s always special to win a league title. It’s not easy. When you win it once you get a taste for it and it makes you hungry for more,” said Sane, who also won two Premier League titles with City.

Sane wants to finish the season strongly to secure a place in Joachim Loew’s Germany squad for Euro 2020, which will be announced on Wednesday.

Key stats92: Bundesliga goals Bayern Munich have scored this season. Lewandowski has netted 39 of them.

5: Number of Bundesliga hat-tricks Lewandowski has scored this season, one fewer than Gerd Mueller in 1971/72.

90: Goals Lewandowski trails Mueller by in the all-time Bundesliga goalscoring chart. The Pole has scored 275 times in the division, with Mueller netting a remarkable 365.

Fixtures (all times 1330 GMT unless stated)

Saturday

Borussia Moenchengladbach v VfB Stuttgart, Bayer Leverkusen v Union Berlin, Freiburg v Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin v Cologne, Schalke 04 v Eintracht Frankfurt, Augsburg v Werder Bremen, Arminia Bielefeld v Hoffenheim

Sunday

Mainz v Borussia Dortmund (1600), RB Leipzig v VfL Wolfsburg (1830)