Lewandowski, Muller and Bayern break new ground in Leverkusen win

By Sports Desk June 06, 2020

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller reached personal milestones as Bayern Munich broke Bundesliga records in a 4-2 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen.

This was the most difficult remaining game on paper this term for the league leaders, who went into the contest with a seven-point lead over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table.

It proved as much in the first half when Lucas Alario's clever finish past Manuel Neuer secured a 1-0 lead for Leverkusen, who were without star man Kai Havertz due to injury.

The advantage was short-lived, though, as Hansi Flick's record-breaking side struck three times before the break through Kingsley Coman, Leon Goretzka and Serge Gnabry.

Coman's precise finish was Bayern's 62nd goal in just 20 Bundesliga matches under Flick, a number beyond that of any previous coach in the history of the competition.

Muller teed up Goretzka to make it 2-1 and reach 19 league assists for the season, which became 20 in the second half when he crossed for Lewandowski to head in the fourth.

Muller is the first player to reach that number of assists in Europe's top-five leagues since Kevin De Bruyne for Wolfsburg in 2014-15. One more for the Bayern's number 25 will see him move beyond De Bruyne's division record.

As for Lewandowski, his emphatic header brought up 30 league goals for 2019-20 and took him to a remarkable 44 in 39 games in all competitions. It is the most the Poland striker has ever scored in a single season.

Lewandowski's goal took Bayern's tally for this Bundesliga campaign to 90, a league record for a team after 30 matches, as they stretched their winning run to nine consecutive games.

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    Manchester United boss Solskjaer coached Haaland when he was a teenager at Molde in their homeland. 

    Since moving first to Salzburg and then Borussia Dortmund, Haaland has exploded onto European football's biggest stage. 

    Dortmund entertain Lazio on Wednesday, with Haaland already on 16 Champions League goals. 

    Solskjaer, who famously netted a stoppage-time winner for United in the 1999 final against Bayern Munich, will take charge of the Red Devils against Paris Saint-Germain this week and remains full of admiration for his young compatriot. 

    "He'll beat it and very quickly that’s for sure," he told reporters, referring to his own tally of 19 goals in the competition. 

    "The boy has had a great start to his career. It was really good to work with him and to see the potential in him and some parts of me feel proud to have a little bit of an input in such a rise. 

    "I'm sure Erling will score loads of goals in the Champions League."

    Haaland is the third-highest scoring player from Norway in the Champions League, with ex-Valencia and Lyon striker John Carew next in his sights on 18. 

    However, the time in which the 20-year-old has amassed his tally is remarkable, as he dwarfs his countrymen when it comes to goals per minute. 

    Solskjaer, who famously made a habit out of goalscoring cameos from the bench, got his 19 Champions League goal at a rate of one every 189 minutes, while Carew's ratio was one per 218 minutes. 

    Haaland launched his Champions League career with a hat-trick when Salzburg thrashed Genk 6-2 last September. His scoring frequency has barely let up since, with his 16 tallying at one every 56 minutes. 

    Since that incredible maiden outing, only Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has scored more in the competition - a haul of 18 during that period playing a big part in the Bundesliga giants' march to glory last season. 

    Lewandowski and Haaland are very much out on their own, with the former's Bayern colleague Serge Gnabry next on nine goals - four of which arrived during a 7-2 thumping of Tottenham. 

    First with Atletico Madrid and now with Juventus, Alvaro Morata has managed eight Champions League goals since Haaland's debut, while Timo Werner and Karim Benzema join Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling on seven. 

    Lionel Messi is one of seven players on six goals during the period in question, while Cristiano Ronaldo has five. 

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    Voting for the award considers achievements from July 20, 2019 to October 7, 2020, during which the Poland international also won the UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup with Bayern.

    Lewandowski scored 15 goals and assisted five more as Bayern won all of their 2019-20 Champions League games and lifted the trophy, an achievement that will be central to his claim for the honour.

    The 32-year-old's output far outstripped perennial contenders Cristiano Ronaldo (four goals, no assists) and Lionel Messi (three goals, three assists).

    Bayern overcame Paris Saint-Germain in the final and their star duo of Neymar (three goals, four assists) and Kylian Mbappe (five goals, five assists) could not get anywhere near Lewandowski in the Champions League.

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    "As the name suggests, there can only be one who is the best. That is Robert Lewandowski," Matthaus wrote in his Sky Sports column.

    "He's no longer just the best number nine in the world. Robert is the most complete and best player there is in world football.

    "With FC Bayern he has won the five big titles that can be won. Champions League, Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup and UEFA Super Cup. In addition, he was also the top scorer in the first three competitions mentioned.

    "His rivals Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar and Mbappe are all fantastic players – just like Lewy. The difference is he has won every title there was to be won.

    "Messi had a season without a trophy, Ronaldo became Italian champion, is still great, but not as strong as a few years ago."

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