A host of European football's heavyweights were in action on another day of high drama at Euro 2020 on Saturday.

The stand-out result was Germany's thumping 4-2 win over holders Portugal at the Allianz Arena in Munich, which featured yet another landmark strike from Cristiano Ronaldo. 

In the same group, tournament favourites France were held to a surprise draw by Hungary, while, in Group E, Spain's stuttering start continued with a 1-1 draw against Poland.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at some of the best facts from across the day's action.

Portugal 2-4 Germany: Holders give Die Mannschaft a helping hand

Portugal made some unwanted history as they slipped to a resounding defeat against Germany at the Allianz Arena.

It had started so well for Fernando Santos' men, Ronaldo putting the holders ahead early on with a strike that took him level with Miroslav Klose as the European player to have scored the most combined goals (19) across the World Cup and European Championship. 

However, Portugal became the first European nation ever to concede two own goals – through Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro – in a single match at a major tournament to give Germany a half-time lead. 

Kai Havertz added a third to become Germany's youngest goalscorer in a European Championship game, aged 22 years and eight days, before Robin Gosens got in on the act. 

That meant Portugal, who pulled one back through Diogo Jota, became the first reigning champions in European Championship history to concede four goals in a single match in the competition.

Hungary 1-1 France: Fiola finds a way through stubborn defence

Few gave Hungary a chance of getting anything from their clash with the world champions, but Marco Rossi's side claimed a memorable point.

Attila Fiola opened the scoring shortly before half-time, ending a run of 527 minutes of play for France without shipping a goal.

Fiola has now scored two goals in his last four appearances for Hungary after failing to find the back of the net in his first 33 games for his country. 

Aged 31 years and 122 days, right-back Fiola is the oldest player to score against France in a European Championship match since Rui Jordao scored a brace against them for Portugal in 1984 (31y 319d).

However, France stretched their unbeaten run at major tournaments to nine matches when Antoine Griezmann levelled midway through the second half. 

The Barcelona forward has now scored 11 goals at major international tournaments, with only Michel Platini (14), Just Fontaine (13) and Thierry Henry (12) having scored more. 

France could have sealed victory had Kylian Mbappe shown more accuracy in front of goal. The Paris Saint-Germain forward attempted six shots – the most he has ever had in a single match for his country. 

Spain 1-1 Poland: La Roja's sluggish start continues

This draw meant Spain have failed to win either of their first two games in a European Championship tournament for the first time since 1996. 

It had started so well for them, however, with Alvaro Morata firing home from close range in the 25th minute. The on-loan Juventus striker has scored four of Spain's last five goals at European Championship finals – only Fernando Torres (five) has ever scored more goals in the competition for the nation.

Poland pulled level shortly after half-time, though, Robert Lewandowski becoming only the third player to score in three major tournaments for Poland, after Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach.

Spain did have the opportunity to claim all three points, but Gerard Moreno struck the post from the penalty spot, meaning they have failed to score five of their last eight penalties (excluding shootouts) at the tournament.

There was also a landmark moment for Poland's Kacper Kozlowski (17 years and 246 days), who became the youngest ever player to make an appearance at the European Championship, overtaking Jude Bellingham's record (17y 349d) set for England six days ago.

It all seemed too perfect. Just moments after Robert Lewandowski had dragged Poland back into it at the other end, Alvaro Morata had the chance to once again prove his critics wrong.

But with the goal gaping, Morata was unable to convert, as Spain followed up a 0-0 stalemate with Sweden with a 1-1 draw against Poland, La Roja failing to win their first two group games of a European Championship since Euro 1996.

Yet it had all been going well for Morata, who opened the scoring in the 25th minute when he prodded in from Gerard Moreno's cross-shot, with VAR awarding the goal after the linesman's incorrect offside flag.

Morata had charged off to celebrate with Luis Enrique, who came to the defence of Spain's forward after Monday's frustrating draw with Sweden in their Group E opener. 

He wasted Spain's best chance when he failed to beat Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen one-on-one – his attempt one of three the Juventus forward, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid, sent off target in that match.

But it was a Saturday night which ultimately, for both Morata and his Spain team-mates, ended in frustration once more in Seville.

It could easily have been very different. Lewandowski, who had squandered Poland's best chance of the first half when he struck straight at Unai Simon from point-blank range after Karol Swiderski had hit the post, making no mistake with what was just his second, and final, touch in the box within the width of the goal.

Lewandowski's towering header from Kamil Jozwiak's cross brought up his third major tournament goal – he is just the third Polish player to net in three separate major competitions, after Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach.

His goal keeps Poland's last-16 hopes alive in a group that remains wide open, though Spain should have been back ahead four minutes later.

Moreno was fouled by Jakub Moder, the offence spotted on a VAR check and referee Daniele Orsato pointing to the spot.

Unlike the composure he showed in the penalty shootout win over Manchester United in Villarreal's Europa League final triumph last month, Moreno missed the target, his low shot hitting the base of the left-hand upright.

 

Yet there was Morata, charging in to meet the rebound, the goal wide open in front of him. The net should have been rippling. Instead, Morata was looking at the sky in anguish, his shot having sliced off his in-step and well wide.

Two more big opportunities followed for Morata, who finished with a game-high four attempts – three of them on target – but on neither occasion could he beat the final Poland block.

Only Fernando Torres (five) has scored more Euro goals than Morata (four) for their country, but when he trudged off in the 87th minute it was his miss which lingered in the Andalusian air as Poland held on for a hard-earned draw, and Spain must beat Slovakia next week to ensure they are not a group-stage casualty. 

Robert Lewandowski rescued Poland with a second-half equaliser and Gerard Moreno missed a penalty as Spain were held to a 1-1 Euro 2020 draw at La Cartuja Stadium.

Álvaro Morata silenced his critics by opening the scoring in the Group E encounter in Seville on Saturday after coming under fire for his performance in a stalemate against Sweden.

A defeat would have ended Poland's hopes of qualifying for the round of 16, but their record goalscorer and captain Lewandowski equalised with a header nine minutes into the second half.

Moreno failed to put Luis Enrique's side back in front from the spot just after Lewandowski's leveller, leaving Spain and Poland third and fourth in the group respectively with one game to play.

La Roja were in front 25 minutes in, Morata turning in Moreno's tame shot from close range with his right foot and belatedly running away to embrace coach Luis Enrique after the VAR ruled he was onside.

Moreno, starting at the expense of Ferran Torres, curled a free-kick narrowly wide before Karol Swiderski volleyed a glorious chance to equalise off target from point-blank range.

Swiderski rattled the post with a thunderous left-foot drive and Lewandowski was denied by Unai Simon following up, with Moreno firing into the side-netting late in an entertaining first half.

Poland were level nine minutes into the second half, the prolific Lewandowski rising above Aymeric Laporte to brilliantly head home Kamil Jozwiak's inviting cross.

Lewandowski had barely finished celebrating when referee Daniele Orsato pointed to the spot after taking another look at Jakub Moder's tackle on Morata.

Moreno was unable to restore Spain's advantage, striking the post, and Morata failed to spare his blushes when he put the rebound wide with the goal gaping.

History was made when Poland substitute Kacper Kozlowski became the youngest player to feature in a European Championship aged 17 and 246 days in a tense encounter which remained in the balance.

Wojciech Szczesny spread himself magnificently seven minutes from time to thwart Morata as Spain endured a frustrating evening and Poland stayed alive.

Robert Lewandowski will call upon struggles from the early part of his career as he aims to end a barren run on the biggest stages for Poland in Saturday's Euro 2020 match with Spain.

Poland went down 2-1 in their Group E opener against Slovakia, with Bayern Munich superstar Lewandowski unable to haul his side out of trouble after Grzegorz Krychowiak was sent off and Milan Skriniar hit a 69th-minute winner.

Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland at major tournaments, failing to find the net with his past 17 attempts in such games.

However, an overall career return of 66 goals in 120 caps – both national records – mean he is able to look at the bigger picture.

"I never really believed I could reach these figures," he told UEFA.com when discussing his overall numbers for Poland.

"I remember at the start of my Poland career when I wasn't scoring many goals – I had problems getting chances, controlling the ball.

"The feeling that if I don't get a chance, another one will come along and I will still score – well, I remember when it was hard to get that!"

Spain's goalless draw with Sweden was a game to forget for their own centre-forward, Alvaro Morata.

The Juventus striker missed a glorious chance before half-time and failed to work goalkeeper Robin Olsen with any of his three attempts.

"The big thing is not to think too much about the past. It's gone," he told UEFA.com, suggesting the opposite approach to Lewandowski.

"The Sweden game didn't go as I wanted and I have to accept that. The next day you just work harder to ensure that next time you'll put it away and win."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Spain – Alvaro Morata

There is already clamour for Villarreal's prolific Gerard Moreno to be granted an opportunity ahead of Morata after a comparatively lively cameo against Sweden, although the man in possession of the starting spot could crown a good week personally with a strong display, having extended his loan at Juve from Atletico Madrid for another year. The 28-year-old has scored three of Spain's past four Euros goals and is his country's leading scorer since the 2016 tournament, with 16 in 32 appearances.

Poland – Mateusz Klich

There will also be emphasis on the supply line to Lewandowski firing to great effect for Poland. Piotr Zielinski led the way with four key passes against Slovakia but Klich only created one chance. There is certainly room for improvement for the Leeds United man, whose four goals and five assists in last season's Premier League were records in both categories for a Polish player.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first meeting between Spain and Poland at a major tournament. Spain have won eight of their 10 matches against Poland, with the sole Polish victory taking place over 40 years ago. Since 2000, Spain have hosted their opponents twice and racked up an aggregate advantage of 9-0.
- After drawing against Sweden, Spain could open a Euros tournament with no wins from their opening two matches for the first time since 1996. They haven't failed to score in consecutive matches since the 2013 Confederations Cup.
- Poland have won just two of their 12 matches at the European Championship (D6 L4), failing to score more than one goal in any of those 12 encounters.
- Against Sweden, Spain completed 830 passes and recorded a possession figure of 85.1 per cent - both were tournament highs since Opta have full passing data for the Euros.
- Manchester City's Ferran Torres (seven) was one of only three players born in or after the year 2000 to score at least seven goals in the Premier League in 2020-21.

Poland will look to talisman Robert Lewandowski to improve their paltry European Championship goalscoring returns when they face Slovakia in Euro 2020 Group E.

In their 11 previous matches at the finals, Poland have never scored more than one goal, while they also have a habit of making sluggish starts.

A 1-0 win over Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 was their only win in the past nine tournament openers, with four draws and four defeats elsewhere.

Arkadiusz Milik scored the winner in Nice five year ago, but the 27-year-old forward's subsequent wretched luck with knee injuries struck again this week as he was ruled out of Poland's forthcoming campaign.

Head coach Paulo Sousa has elected not to call up a replacement, placing even more emphasis on Bayern Munich superstar Lewandowski.

The 32-year-old broke Gerd Muller's 49-year-old Bundesliga record by scoring 41 goals in just 29 league games this season, with an overall return of 48 in 40 for Bayern in 2020-21.

"It's a big challenge, not just for me, but for the whole team," Lech Poznan centre-back Lubomir Satka, who will be tasked with trying to shackle Lewandowski, told UEFA.com

"I hope the other guys will help me."

Once upon a time, that task would have been one for Martin Skrtel and the former Slovakia and Liverpool defender is cautiously optimistic over his compatriots' hopes in a tough group that also features Spain and Sweden.

"Everything is possible," he told SPORT. "I don't want to guess, but if we were second to the Spanish, it would be great."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Poland – Robert Lewandowski

His exploits this season took him on to a staggering 277 Bundesliga goals, meaning Lewandowski is only behind Muller (365) in the all-time standings. However, eight previous Euro appearances have yielded only two goals. Surely that record is about to improve for the leading centre-forward in world football?

Slovakia – Juraj Kucka

If Slovakia are to upset the odds, expect Parma's Kucka to be involved. In fact, irrespective of the result, the 34-year-old midfielder is likely to be reasonably visible. He was involved in nine of his club's 39 Serie A goals this season, with seven goals and two assists, while his 15 tackles per-game were the highest average of any midfielder in Italy's top flight.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Slovakia have won just one of their four previous matches at the European Championship, beating Russia 2-1 in their second match back in 2016.
- Slovakia are making their third appearance at a major tournament, after World Cup 2010 and Euro 2016. They were eliminated in the round of 16 in both of those tournaments.
- Poland were the only team never to trail at any point of a game at Euro 2016 in normal or extra time. They were knocked out on penalties by Portugal in the quarter-finals.
- In March 2021, Kacper Kozlowski became the youngest player to play for the Poland at 17 years and 163 days. He is also the second youngest player to play in the Polish Ekstraklasa (15y 215d).
- Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (101) this season became the third Slovakian to surpass 100 Premier League appearances after Skrtel (242) and Szilard Nemeth (117).

Having been scrapped last year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, the Ballon d'Or returns in 2021.

With Euro 2020 and the Copa America rescheduled for this year, the stars of Europe and South America have the chance to use those tournaments as a springboard towards claiming the game's top individual prize.

Following club seasons either laden with trophies or padded with statistical achievements – or, in some cases, a bit of both – a few elite-level performances could make the difference in the race to win France Football's famous award.

Stats Perform has chosen a shortlist of 14 players who could make themselves Ballon d'Or favourites should they sparkle over the next month...

 

Karim Benzema

Remarkably, Karim Benzema failed to win a trophy with Real Madrid despite registering 30 goals and nine assists in 46 games in all competitions.

That form did bring his international exile to an end, though, and if he keeps it up for France over the coming month, a Ballon d'Or challenge is not out of the question.

Kevin De Bruyne

A second successive PFA Players' Player of the Year award for Kevin De Bruyne came after another standout season for Manchester City in which he won the Premier League and EFL Cup.

Had Pep Guardiola's men finally got their hands on the Champions League trophy, the Ballon d'Or might be De Bruyne's already. Leading Belgium to Euros glory would probably do the job.

Ruben Dias

The other prime candidate for City's player of the season, Ruben Dias was a colossal performer at the heart of their defence after joining from Benfica, winning the Premier League's Player of the Season award.

Defenders' difficulties winning big individual prizes are well documented, and the last to lift the Ballon d'Or – Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 – did so after leading Italy to the World Cup.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes was heartbroken to lose the Europa League final on penalties as his wait for a trophy with Manchester United goes on.

However, a combined 46 direct goal involvements – the most of any Premier League player – means individual glory could be on the cards should Fernandes and Portugal shine.

Phil Foden

The PFA Young Player of the Year winner, Phil Foden blossomed in 2020-21 from prodigious talent to integral player for both City and England.

His Ballon d'Or chances are probably slimmer than those of a couple of his City team-mates, but long-awaited success for the Three Lions could put him right in the mix.

Harry Kane

Another star performer in 2020-21 to end the season empty-handed, Harry Kane finished top for goals (23) and assists (14) in the Premier League despite Tottenham finishing seventh.

Winner of the Golden Boot at the last World Cup, Kane is England's undisputed star going into Euro 2020 and has every chance of topping the scoring charts again.

N'Golo Kante

Arguably the popular choice for the award, N'Golo Kante won the Champions League with Chelsea after being named man of the match in both legs of the semi-final and the final against City.

France are most observers' favourites to win the Euros and, if they do, Kante will surely be facing short odds to win the ultimate individual trophy – even if it's one in which he has little interest.

Robert Lewandowski

It's widely accepted that, had the award been handed out last year, it would have gone to Robert Lewandowksi, the man whose 55 goals in 47 games delivered Bayern the treble.

How do you follow that? Well, he scored 41 times in the Bundesliga alone in 2020-21, breaking Gerd Muller's 49-year-old single-season record. Winning the Euros with Poland might be a stretch, but finishing as top goalscorer is certainly achievable.

Romelu Lukaku

The best player in Serie A as Inter ended an 11-year wait to win the title, Romelu Lukaku enjoyed the best season of his career, with 41 direct goal involvements in 44 appearances.

With eight goals in his past nine games for Belgium, the 28-year-old could well be the man to fire Roberto Martinez's side to glory, which would make him very hard to overlook.

Kylian Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain lost their Ligue 1 title to Lille and could not reach back-to-back Champions League finals, which seems incredible given Kylian Mbappe managed 42 goals and 11 assists in just 47 appearances.

Departing Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick this year said there was no question Mbappe would win the Ballon d'Or one day. The Euros could be his ticket to glory in 2021.

Lionel Messi

The winner of the previous award in 2019 – the sixth of his astonishing career – Lionel Messi amazingly plundered 28 goals and had nine assists for Barcelona from January 1 onwards.

It wasn't enough to win Barca the LaLiga title, but it does put him right in the mix. If he can finally win the Copa America with Argentina, Ballon d'Or number seven may well follow.

Neymar

Even Neymar would admit he has only an outside chance of winning this year's Ballon d'Or, his 17 goals and eight assists in 2020-21 a modest return for the world's most expensive footballer.

He typically produces in a Brazil shirt, though, and winning the Copa America would propel him right back into the mix for the individual prize he supposedly craves above all others.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Juventus may have lost their grip on Serie A, but Cristiano Ronaldo still finished as top goalscorer (with 29), and they won the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia.

Ronaldo won his fourth of five Ballons d'Or after Portugal triumphed at Euro 2016, and there's little doubt he would be vying for a sixth if they defend that trophy.

Luis Suarez

Discarded by Barcelona for being past his usefulness, Luis Suarez responded with 21 goals in 32 games to propel Atletico Madrid to a first league title since 2013-14.

Should Uruguay upset the odds at the Copa America, you can bet Suarez will be in the running for the Ballon d'Or. Quite what Barca fans would make of that is hard to say.

It may be a year late, but Euro 2020 is almost upon us and the opportunity for glory is just around the corner.

The usual suspects will be undoubtedly favoured by many, with France's squad seemingly stronger than ever, Portugal possessing a seriously talented group and England looking good as they bid to end their long wait for international success.

Similarly, Italy and the Netherlands are back on the scene after missing out on tournament qualification in recent times, while Germany will be hoping to bounce back from their World Cup humiliation.

Die Mannschaft were eliminated from the group stage of a World Cup for the first time ever by South Korea three years ago, and Joachim Low will be eager to restore some dignity in what will be his final tournament in charge.

But could the trophy actually end up being lifted by one of the unfancied teams? We all remember Greece's remarkable triumph in 2004, for example.

With that in mind, Stats Perform has identified some potential dark horses ahead of the tournament.

Turkey – Group A

Key man: Burak Yilmaz
One to watch: Abdulkadir Omur

It's fair to say Turkey are a curious team in international football. They have reached the semi-finals in two – and come third on both occasions – of their past three major tournaments, which is impressive, but the caveat is that trio of qualifications spanned 2002-2018.

Euro 2020 will be only their fourth major tournament appearance out of a possible 11 this century across the European Championship and World Cup, and they disappointed at Euro 2016 as they were eliminated at the group stage.

But there are reasons for optimism this time, particularly given the encouraging amount of talent in a youthful squad – their average age of 25 years exactly is the lowest at the tournament, and it would be even lower were it not for the presence of 35-year-old Burak Yilmaz, who certainly isn't there as some kind of token 'Golden Oldie'.

 

The burly centre-forward proved plenty of doubters wrong in his debut Ligue 1 season with Lille, his 16 goals and five assists helping them to an unlikely title triumph. Those 21 direct goal involvements put him six ahead of any other Lille player, and his experience helped a Les Dogues team that was also on the young side.

Yilmaz became the first player to score at least 15 goals in his first season with Lille in Ligue 1 since Moussa Sow in 2010-11 (25), while his penalty at Angers on the final day saw him beat the record for the most goals netted by a Turkish player in a single campaign in the competition, set by Mevlut Erdinc in 2009-10.

 

Yilmaz's Lille team-mates Zeki Celik and Yusuf Yazici – the latter scored 14 club goals across all 2020-21 competitions from midfield – are also present, while Hakan Calhanoglu offers guaranteed creativity. The Milan playmaker created the most chances in Serie A (98) in 2020-21, while his nine assists came from an xA (expected assists) value of 8.5, suggesting that haul came from a place of consistency rather than luck.

But then Turkey also looked solid at the back in qualifying, their three goals conceded in 10 games was the joint-best record alongside Belgium, and Kaan Ayhan's three headed goals en route to the Euros wasn't bettered by anyone, meaning Calhanoglu's set-piece deliveries could be a real asset.

 

Senol Gunes is back at the helm having guided them to third place at the 2002 World Cup, and he may just fancy another upset 19 years on.

Ukraine – Group C

Key man: Ruslan Malinovskiy
One to watch: Illya Zabarnyi

Ukraine are long-term underachievers at this level. They've failed to score in their last five games at the European Championship, the longest goalless run in the history of the tournament.

In fact, none of Ukraine's last 67 shots have ended in the back of the net. This, coupled with the fact their coach Andrey Shevchenko is the only player to find the net for them at the Euros (a brace against Sweden in 2012) highlights their biggest issue over the past nine years: scoring goals.

While the likes of Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka – the latter of whom isn't in the squad due to injury – have good records, Ukraine have lacked a reliable goal threat in the central striker berth practically ever since Shevchenko retired.

 

However, in Gent forward Roman Yaremchuk they may have finally founded a suitable answer, with the 25-year-old heading into the tournament on the back of his best-ever season for goals, having netted 20 times in the Belgian top flight.

Those 20 strikes came from an xG (expected goals) value of 18.2 as well, so although he may have been fortunate once or twice, he would still have expected to get a good haul, which speaks to his reliability in front of goal.

 

Ruslan Malinovskiy of Atalanta is another interesting player. Something of a late bloomer, the talented central midfielder has been an important part of a wonderful Nerazzurri side this season.

While his Serie A-high 12 assists was considerably higher than his 6.7 xA, suggesting his passes benefited from particularly impressive finishing, that xA figure was still only bettered by only six players.

Similarly, his 57 key passes in open play was second only to Luis Alberto (59), yet it's worth bearing in mind Malinovskiy only actually started 22 matches. 

 

Czech Republic – Group D

Key man: Tomas Soucek
One to watch: Adam Hlozek

At Euro 2016, the Czech Republic only managed one point as they failed to get past the group stage, and there will be plenty of people expecting them to crash out in a similar manner again.

Nevertheless, they're a country with a strong history in the competition given this is their seventh successive appearance at the Euros, a streak only Germany (13) and France (eight) can better.

Group D should provide them with opportunities as well. While England will be strongly fancied to finish top, Croatia aren't generally seen as quite the same force they were at the last World Cup, and Scotland, though possessing some talented players, are inexperienced at such competitions.

An area that could prove particularly useful for the Czech Republic in what could prove to be a tight group is their set-piece prowess. Seven of their 13 goals in qualifying were scored at set-plays – that's 54 per cent, the joint-highest ratio of any side to qualify.

That's not their only weapon, however. They do have talented individuals in the squad such as Jakub Jankto and Patrik Schick, the hard-working Tomas Soucek – who won more duels and aerials than any other Premier League player in 2020-21 – and a solid goalkeeper in Tomas Vaclik.

They also have something of a wildcard in their midst: Adam Hlozek.

Despite missing a chunk of the season through injury, Sparta Prague's Hlozek still managed to plunder 15 Liga goals in just 19 matches, and in April he became the competition's youngest hat-trick scorer with his treble against Opava.

He then finished the season with an astonishing four-goal haul against Zbrojovka Brno to finish as the league's joint-top scorer, though he also had six assists to his name. The 18-year-old is a complete striker if there ever was one, and he could be a potential breakout star for Czech Republic if he overcomes a pre-tournament injury.

Poland – Group E

Key man: Robert Lewandowski
One to watch: Kacper Kozlowski

Poland's situation in terms of grouping is quite similar to the Czech Republic. Spain will be expected to top Group E, otherwise it looks difficult to call between the Polish, Sweden and Slovakia.

Further to that, the runner-up spot will secure a second-round clash with the team that finishes second in Group D, which could potentially be the Czech Republic. It's entirely plausible that either of them could get as far as the quarter-finals thanks to a relatively kind draw.

Of course, there are lots of variables to consider before than and along the way, but Poland have the advantage of boasting arguably the world's best striker in their squad.

Sure, Robert Lewandowski has scored only one goal in his last 10 games in major competitions (World Cup and Euros), netting against Portugal in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, but he heads into this tournament on the back of a remarkable season.

The Bayern Munich star's 41 Bundesliga goals broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 in a single season. The next-best tally in Europe's top five leagues in 2020-21 saw Lionel Messi trailing well behind on 30.

 

Lewandowski unsurprisingly also led Europe in expected goals – with his chances worth 32.2 xG – and expected goals on target, producing shots with a value of 35.8 xGOT.

He and Poland were arguably unfortunate to not reach the semi-finals five years ago as they were the only team never to trail at any point in Euro 2016, with their elimination by eventual winners Portugal coming via a penalty shootout.

If Lewandowski manages to carry over his Bayern form a little better this time around, who's to say they can't go beyond the last eight in 2020.

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has hit out at the demands placed on footballers in the modern era, insisting the schedule players face in the coming years poses a "big problem".

The Pole has made 46 appearances for club and country over the course of a 2020-21 campaign condensed by the coronavirus pandemic, and is set to add to that at Euro 2020.

The coming years are unlikely to be any easier, with a mid-season World Cup in Qatar coming up in 2022 and Champions League reforms set to add an extra four group games from 2024.

And Lewandowski is concerned that players are at risk of burnout as the demands on their bodies continue to build.

"So many people forget we're humans, we're not machines, we cannot play every day at the highest level of performance," he told The Times.

"For football and for young players, that will be the big problem, to stay at the top for many years, because now and maybe the next two years, that will be extreme: so many big games."

Lewandowski top scored with 15 goals as Bayern won the Champions League for the first time in seven years in 2019-20.

But he thinks the addition of extra fixtures to Europe's premier cup competition could ultimately ruin the spectacle for supporters.

"Even for the fans, I think so many games will be more boring because if you wait for the games longer, there's more expectation, that feeling that you've been waiting for this," he added.

"The quality of games will go down. It's not possible to stay with this quality on the top with so many games."

Lewandowski's own form showed no sign of fading amid the 2020-21 schedule as he broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record for goals scored in a single season with his 41st top-flight strike of the campaign in Bayern's win over Augsburg.

Erling Haaland has been named the Bundesliga Player of the Season for 2020-21, despite Robert Lewandowski's 41-goal campaign.

Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's record of 40 league goals in a single campaign when he netted with the last kick of the game – and the season – in a 5-2 win over Augsburg on Saturday.

Muller, a Bayern Munich great, had achieved the feat during the 1971-72 season.

For a long period of Saturday's game at Allianz Arena, it appeared as though Lewandowski would fall agonisingly short of sitting out in front on his own.

 

In total he had 10 shots, six of which were on target, in a game that marked the last of Hansi Flick's tenure as Bayern head coach, but the Poland star finally got his goal at the final moment.

Yet this effort was not enough to warrant the Bundesliga's Player of the Season award going Lewandowski's way, with another of the league's outstanding goalscorers instead scooping it.

Haaland, who has been linked with a huge move this close season, netted 27 times in 28 Bundesliga appearances for Borussia Dortmund. 

It saw him finish third in the scoring charts, behind Lewandowski and Eintracht Frankfurt's Andre Silva (28 goals in 32 appearances).

Haaland's tally did include the 20-year-old scoring two or more goals in 11 Bundesliga matches, with only Muller – also in the 1971-72 campaign – doing so on more occasions in a single season (12).

Whereas Lewandowski and Silva scored eight and seven penalties respectively, only two of Haaland's goals came from the spot.

His trusty left foot delivered 24 goals, and he scored two with his right. Surprisingly for a player with such height, only one goal came from Haaland's head, and all but one came from inside the area.

 

Haaland averaged a goal every 89 minutes, a total bettered by some distance by Lewandowski, who hit the net every 60 minutes – a remarkable feat nevertheless by the former Salzburg striker.

Overall, Haaland helped Dortmund to 17 victories as they qualified for the Champions League – Lewandowski helping Bayern to 20 while playing one game more than his Norwegian counterpart.

"An honour to be awarded with the Bundesliga Player of the Season! An achievement not just for me but for the whole BVB family," Haaland tweeted on Tuesday.

"We won this award together!"

The domestic football season concluded at the weekend in typically dramatic fashion.

The title went down to the wire in France and Spain, while Champions League qualification was up for grabs for some big names in England and Italy.

Much of the focus during the closing rounds in Germany was on Robert Lewandowski's record bid, but there was no shortage of intrigue whichever way you looked.

It was in keeping with the rest of an unpredictable campaign, one that Stats Perform breaks down with the use of Opta data.
 

LILLE, LALIGA AND LUKAKU SHAKE THINGS UP

Lille, Atletico Madrid and Inter all have relatively recent history of league glory, but a pre-season wager would have fetched long odds.

In Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain had won seven of the previous eight titles and would have expected to do so again, having claimed a domestic treble and reached the Champions League final in 2020.

As it was, under new coach Mauricio Pochettino, they had to settle for pushing Lille all the way.

Les Dogues claimed the title but had already set a club points record when they reached 79 with two games to spare. PSG finished on 82, though, meaning Lille desperately needed the final two results to boost their tally.

Despite the presence of Real Madrid and Barcelona in LaLiga, Atletico's triumph was perhaps more likely, even if the impressive nature of it may have come as a surprise.

Although they stuttered on the home stretch and had to come from behind on the last day to edge out Madrid, Atleti spent 30 matchdays at the top of the table – a mark only bettered once in their 10 other title-winning campaigns (36 matchdays in 1995-96).

Indeed, Atleti are used to having to wait to celebrate, with 10 of their 11 championships seeing the destination of the trophy decided on the final day (all except 1976-77).

Inter are another big name but had been waiting even longer than Lille for their most recent title, with one Milan victory and then nine in a row for Juventus since the 2009-10 Nerazzurri treble.

Antonio Conte's men completed the job in style, though, confirmed as champions with four games to play before finishing with 91 points (behind only their 2006-07 haul of 97) and 89 goals (third-most behind the classes of 1949-50 and 1950-51 – 99 and 107 respectively).

Talisman Romelu Lukaku was involved in 35 of them, becoming the first Serie A player to have at least 20 goals and 10 assists in the same season since at least 2004-05.


BAYERN BACK ON TOP, CITY SCALING NEW HEIGHTS

In Germany, the title race was a little less exciting. Winners of everything in 2020, Bayern Munich took home the Bundesliga crown for a ninth successive season.

Prior to this run, no team had won more than three on the bounce, yet there appears no end to Bayern's dominance in sight. They have now won 52 per cent of the championships since the formation of the competition in 1963.

Julian Nagelsmann, arriving from RB Leipzig, will be the coach tasked with achieving 10 in a row and Hansi Flick has set the bar high. His 86 games brought seven trophies.

Manchester City could soon be reflecting on a similarly dominant dynasty having now claimed three titles in four seasons.

Pep Guardiola played a big part in Bayern's run and now has nine league wins in 12 top-flight seasons as a coach, although this was an unprecedented achievement, with City eighth on Christmas Day – the lowest position at that stage for an eventual Premier League champion.

A record English league run of 12 away victories played a pivotal role in City's season, while defending champions Liverpool saw a club-record 68-game unbeaten home run in the Premier League ended as they subsequently lost six consecutive league matches at Anfield for the first time in their history.

City could yet win the Champions League too, where Sergio Aguero is in line for his final appearance before his contract expires. He will hope it is as successful as his last league outing, during which he scored twice against Everton on Sunday to set a new record for the most Premier League goals by a player for one club (184).
 

RECORD-BREAKING LEWY DELAYS NEXT GENERATION

Aguero might have had his say on the final day, once the title was secure, but he largely took a backseat – unlike Lewandowski at Bayern.

His 41 Bundesliga goals broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 in a single season. The next-best tally in Europe's top five leagues in 2020-21 saw Lionel Messi trailing well behind on 30.

Lewandowski unsurprisingly also led Europe in expected goals, with his chances worth 32.2 xG, and expected goals on target, producing shots with a value of 35.8 xGOT.

As Lewandowski took the Kicker-Torjagerkanone and Messi went away with the Pichichi, Cristiano Ronaldo (29 goals) won the Capocannoniere, having also previously topped the charts in England and Spain.

Kylian Mbappe (27) was the leading marksman in France, while Harry Kane (23) earned the Premier League Golden Boot for a third time.

Kane is set to be the subject of intense transfer speculation throughout the close-season – replacing Aguero at City might be one option if he gets his wish to leave Spurs – and he will join Mbappe and Erling Haaland in that regard.

Haaland also scored 27 league goals and only just trailed Mbappe's seven assists with his six.

The expectation is both players will establish themselves as the world's best in the coming seasons, but it is now Lewandowski, rather than Messi and Ronaldo, they must surpass.

Hansi Flick said record-breaker Robert Lewandowski's achievements illustrated the quality of his Bayern Munich team-mates, as the coach reflected on an emotional final game in charge.

Lewandowski scored with the last touch of the game in Saturday's 5-2 win over Augsburg in the champions' Bundesliga finale.

It gave the prolific Pole a 41st league goal of the season, meaning he surpassed fellow Bayern legend Gerd Muller for the most goals scored in a single Bundesliga campaign.

Lewandowski had endured a frustrating outing to that point but celebrated with an emotional embrace with Flick.

Speaking after the game, Lewandowski was keen to pay tribute to his fellow Bayern stars, a sentiment shared by Flick.

Speaking to Sky Germany, Flick said: "We win together, that's the focus. With the quality that each and every one of them has, Lewy naturally benefits from it.

"I'm happy for Lewy. I said to Tapa [assistant coach Toni Tapalovic] that it won't be anything today. But that's the class of a goalscorer that he then scores."

Flick stepped up to the head coach role, initially on an interim basis, in November 2019 following the departure of Niko Kovac.

Under his stewardship, Bayern have won seven major trophies including a memorable treble in the 2019-20 campaign.

Flick now appears certain to replace Joachim Low as Germany boss after the rescheduled Euro 2020, but for now he wants to focus on celebrating Bayern's ninth straight top-flight title.

"The team has grown very dear to my heart, that's a benchmark for me. I am very, very proud. It was a very, very great pleasure for me to coach this team," Flick said.

"Two years ago I was on vacation with my brothers, then after the cup final there was a call from Niko Kovac. Then you know how the story went on.

"I don't know yet [on the Germany role]. Today I want to enjoy the championship first. I have been a big Bayern fan since I was a kid.

"It's such a shame that there weren't many fans for me as Bayern coach."

It was not just Flick saying farewell to Bayern against Augsburg. Modern-day legends David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez all played their last game for the club.

Asked about the emotions of the day, Flick replied: "When Jerome and David come out, that's a special moment."

Robert Lewandowski was almost left lost for words after breaking Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record for goals in a single season and says it is too soon to judge where the achievement ranks in his lengthy list of accomplishments.

Prolific Pole Lewandowski had equalled Muller's previous benchmark of 40 set back in the 1971-72 season with a penalty in a 2-2 draw against Freiburg last week.

In Saturday's season finale against Augsburg, it looked as though Lewandowski was going to fall frustratingly short of outright history having been thwarted on several occasions by visiting goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz.

However, there was one last dramatic twist when Gikiewicz failed to hold a Leroy Sane strike, and Lewandowski pounced to round the keeper and slot home his 41st league goal of the campaign to seal a 5-2 win for the champions.

In scenes of pure jubilation, Lewandowski whipped off his shirt and then had a warm embrace with departing head coach Hansi Flick.

"I have no words. I tried to score for 90 minutes, I tried everything – and it fell in the 90th minute. I am very, very happy," Lewandowski told Sky Germany.

"I saw that Leroy had shot, then I just speculated. I wanted to score earlier, of course, but I knew that the situation would come at some point. I also thank my team-mates for trying everything."

Asked if the record and surpassing a legend like Muller was the greatest achievement in his career, Lewandowski replied: "It was a special moment, it was historic. 

"But I can't even classify it so soon after the game."

In total, Lewandowski had 10 shots, six of which were on target, but it was the crucial moment with the last kick of the game that proved crucial.

"I wasn't angry, but I was disappointed. I asked myself why the goal didn't work out today," he said.

"Thanks again to my team, they are also on my record."

Robert Lewandowski has broken Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record for goals scored in a single season with his 41st top-flight goal of the campaign in Bayern Munich's win over Augsburg.

Fellow Die Roten legend Muller celebrated 40 goals across the 1971-72 campaign.

But his benchmark has finally been surpassed by the brilliant Lewandowski, who had matched Muller with a penalty last weekend in a 2-2 draw at Freiburg.

Lewandowski's record-breaking moment arrived late on in the 5-2 victory at home to Augsburg, getting the last goal of the game.

 

For a long period of the game, it appeared as though Lewandowski would fall agonisingly short of sitting out in front on his own.

In total he had 10 shots, six of which were on target, in a game that marked the last of Hansi Flick's tenure as Bayern head coach.

But finally, with the last kick of the game, Lewandowski's moment arrived. The prolific Pole reacted fastest when Rafal Gikiewicz could only parry Leroy Sane's effort, and the striker picked up the ball, rounded the keeper and slotted into an unguarded goal.

Lewandowski removed his shirt in joy then shared an emotional embrace with Flick to celebrate a momentous goal.

Robert Lewandowski has broken Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record for goals scored in a single season with his 41st top-flight goal of the campaign in Bayern Munich's win over Augsburg.

Fellow Die Roten legend Muller celebrated 40 goals across the 1971-72 campaign.

But his benchmark has finally been surpassed by the brilliant Lewandowski, who had matched Muller with a penalty last weekend in a 2-2 draw at Freiburg.

Lewandowski's record-breaking moment arrived late on in the 5-2 victory at home to Augsburg, getting the last goal of the game.

Robert Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's long-standing record for goals scored in a single Bundesliga season with a last-gasp effort as Bayern Munich routed Augsburg 5-2 on a day of fond farewells.

The prolific Pole could only watch on as an own goal plus efforts from Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman had the champions flying at half-time of the season finale at the Allianz Arena.

But, after consolations from Andre Hahn and Florian Niederlechner, Lewandowski followed in when Rafal Gikiewicz spilled Leroy Sane's effort to make it 41 top-flight goals for the season with the last kick of the game.

It was a dramatic ending to an emotional outing, which was the last for head coach Hansi Flick and modern-day Bayern greats David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez.

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