Football Features

Messi-Ronaldo duopoly over? Robert Lewandowski takes the lead as Bayern batter Dusseldorf

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 19:25, 30 May 2020

The recent enforced Bundesliga break couldn’t have come at a worse time for Bayern Munich’s rivals.

If leading marksman Robert Lewandowski was a nuisance before COVID-19 temporarily halted proceedings, then he’s ready to step up, as those months away from the pitch were used to work on his body.

“I feel better than ever before because I was able to work hard on my physical fitness for the last two months,” he said following the league’s resumption.

He’d strike against Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt before former club Borussia Dortmund managed to contain him, but that couldn’t be said for Fortuna Düsseldorf, who until this evening were his one box left unchecked in terms of scoring.

Set complete

Of the 31 sides he’s played five or more times against, throughout an illustrious playing career, Düsseldorf happened to be the only side he failed to breach. Five of those previous six games came in the Bundesliga, the other being a DFB-Pokal tie, Lewandowski completed 501 minutes – twice playing for BVB and the remaining with Bayern – and had only two assists to show for it.

And just when Uwe Rösler’s men thought another containment job was on, the Polish striker had other ideas. The breakthrough came two minutes before half-time when he swept home another well-worked Bayern move. This strike means Lewandowski has now scored against each of the 18 current Bundesliga sides – including his present club – and further illustrating his greatness, with many observers considering him to be Europe’s current premier No.9. He’d add another shortly after the break.

Lewandowski didn’t break the deadlock. That befell an unfortunate Fortuna centre-back, Mathias Jørgensen, who inadvertently converted into his own net after failing to set his body correctly following a Benjamin Pavard wayward shot. And the French defender was at it again moments later. Bayern’s very own curly-haired assassin neatly met a Joshua Kimmich corner to powerfully head past Florian Kastenmeier in the Düsseldorf goal.

His teammate on the opposite flank wasn’t going to be undone. The highly-impressive Canadian left-back Alphonso Davies would net a second goal in three games, subsequently rounding off a comfortable 5-0 victory which edges them closer to an unprecedented eight-peat.

Bigger fish to chase

Pavard’s performance, though, pales in comparison to Lewandowski’s achievement and what he could still do this season. Today’s efforts moved him onto 29 league goals, and 43 overall in all competitions (equally his most prolific Bayern campaign), meaning he’s five ahead of RB Leipzig centre-forward Timo Werner in the race to be crowned Bundesliga top scorer.

If he manages to defend his title, then Lewandowski wins a fifth Torjägerkanone, which places him two behind Gerd Müller’s record number of wins. Speaking of the legendary Bayern scorer, his tally for the highest number of scored goals in a season (40) is within Lewandowski’s sights. All he needs to do is average 2.2 goals in the five remaining Bundesliga games this season.

Since the 2009/10 season, Europe’s Golden Shoe has been exclusively shared between Lionel Messi (six wins) and Cristiano Ronaldo (three wins) with Luis Suárez in 2015/16 being the sole exception. This hegemony is under threat as both Ronaldo and Messi sit fifth and sixth in the current standings.

The battle for this season’s honours is seemingly between two ex-BVB forwards: Ciro Immobile of Lazio and Lewandowski. Both were tied on 27 goals before today’s play. Lewandowski now overtakes Immobile and with Serie A yet to restart, it could be the his to lose, though league rivals Werner and Erling Haaland loom in the shadows.