Football Features

Lewandowski turns attention to Champions League after breaking another Bundesliga record

By Chris Smith

Lokomotiv v Bayern: Lewandowski turns attention to Champions League

Published: 13:15, 27 October 2020

It was just another normal day at the office as Robert Lewandowski bagged a hat-trick in Bayern Munich’s 5-0 demolition of Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

The Bavarians are no strangers to steamrolling some of their Bundesliga counterparts, nor is Lewandowski unaccustomed to being the ring-leader of the party.

Indeed, the Poland international’s trio of strikes made him the first-ever player to score 10 goals in the opening five games of a Bundesliga season, having been the first to reach that same total in six outings last season. Furthermore, this was Lewandowski’s 11th Bundesliga hat-trick, a record and two clear of his nearest rival, Mario Gomez.

“He has everything: left, right, header,” Bayern defender Jerome Boateng said after the mauling of Frankfurt. “We felt that before at Dortmund, but now he’s on another level. That makes him the best striker in the world.”

Manager Hansi Flick added: “He’s making a goal out of almost every chance at the moment.”

Lewandowski scored 34 goals in 31 appearances in the Bundesliga last season — the most in a single campaign since Gerd Muller matched that total in 1976/77 — but, of course, it wasn’t his domestic form which caught the eye of most fans, players and pundits alike in 2019/20.

It was the 32-year-old’s quite ridiculous output of 15 goals in 10 Champions League games which left jaws on the floor as Lewandowski fired Bayern to a sixth European crown, sealing a historic treble along the way.

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The Bavarians got their continental title defence off to the best possible start last week, cruising past Atletico Madrid in an impressive 4-0 victory. Curiously, Lewandowski didn’t find the net that night, failing to get either of his two shots on target.

Lewandowski reportedly asked to be left out of Saturday’s starting XI against Frankfurt to stay fresh, but with a hat-trick under his belt, the former Dortmund man should be full of confidence heading into Tuesday’s trip to Lokomotiv Moscow.

As noted by Flick, Lokomotiv have the joint-best defensive record in the Russian Premier League so far this season, conceding just nine goals in 12 games, and the German tactician will need his star marksman in top form to undo what is sure to be a rigid defence.

“(Lokomotiv) are one of the most in-form teams in the Russian league,” Flick said. “They have conceded the fewest goals and have some great attacking players in (Fedor) Smolov and Eder. We need to stay alert and focused.”

Of course, you need only hear the words Lewandowski’s partner in crime, Thomas Muller, to know that Bayern fear nobody, with the Germany international describing the Champions League as “their competition”.

“We’re happy to be playing in our competition again,” Mueller told reporters. “We want to continue the flow we currently find ourselves in. We’re confident, the team is in form, the omens are positive.”

Speaking of omens, Bayern’s 1-0 final win over PSG was the only Champions League game in which Lewandowski played but didn’t score last season. Having failed to hit the net at the first time of asking this time around, he’ll be determined to slot back into the groove in Moscow.