Bayern Munich’s goal machine: Robert Lewandowski on target to finish as UCL’s top goalscorer
In many ways Robert Lewandowski is a freak. When a football leaves the 31-year-old’s foot or head, it seems to almost always find its way into the back of the net. The Bayern Munich striker seems to constantly be in just the right place, at just the right time, and to say that it is due to luck is an extremely lazy perception born out of pure ignorance.
To say that Lewandowski’s prolificacy is down to the standard of the league he lights up on a weekly basis is a statement made by ill-informed football fans lacking in sense and realism. There is no other way to view the Poland international, other than with complete awe and respect. He is an anomaly; a goal-addicted genius who excels within his field at an alarmingly consistent rate.
You only have to take his stats from this season as proof. Most striker’s would yearn for a 39-goal haul across an entire campaign and this time out Lewandowski has managed it by the end of February. 25 of those goals have fallen in the league for Bayern, while a further three have reared their head in the DFB Pokal - a competition which the Bavarian outfit won last season and are once again on course to prevail in again this time out.
Perhaps most impressively, though, the Pole has found the back of the net 11 times in the Champions League this season. His perfectly-timed, instinctive tap-in during Bayern’s 3-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday night has seen him edge just ahead of Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Braut Haaland at the top of the UCL’s goalscoring chart - it comes as little surprise to anyone.
With now 64 Champions League goals to his name, Lewandowski is among the competition’s top five all-time goalscorers. Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way with a staggering 128, while Lionel Messi follows fairly close behind on 114. Real Madrid legend Raul is third with 71 to his name, while Karim Benzema is level with Lewandowski on 64.
After starting the campaign at 16/1 to finish as the Champions League’s top marksman, Lewandowski’s price has now been slashed to as short as 1/4 following his recent exploits in Europe’s premium knockout competition. The main question on everyone's lips, though, is can he surpass Cristiano Ronaldo’s record of scoring 17 goals throughout a single Champions League campaign?
The Juventus forward has long been known as the king of this competition, affirmed by the fact that he has managed to score 15 or more goals in it three times during the previous seven years which, to be honest, is madness. It is a big ask for Lewandowski to net six more goals in this season’s Champions League. After all, it is not a certainty that Bayern will reach the final of the competition, despite the Germans looking incredibly strong in the first-leg of their last-16 tie against Chelsea this week.
Indeed, if you look at the pattern in which his sensational campaign has followed so far, you would perhaps be foolish to back against the Pole getting close to Ronnie’s record-breaking tally set back in 2013-14.
It is currently a two-horse race between a former and present employee of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Champions League’s top scorer chart, with 19-year-old Erling Braut Haaland trailing Lewandowski by just one goal at this stage. The Norwegian starlet has 10 to his name, with the third most prolific player shaping up in the form of Bayern’s six-goal Serge Gnabry after the former Arsenal winger scored a stunning brace at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.
Haaland is currently best priced at 4/1 to finish as top scorer in this season’s Champions League, while Gnabry can be found as high as 150/1 with certain bookmakers. The overwhelming favourite remains Lewandowski, however, and it is clear to understand why. Bayern’s very own trusted, goal-addicted freak of nature is unstoppable once he gets going and, with 39 goals before winter has turned to spring, it is fair to say that he is very much now in full flow.