Comparing Lewandowski and Müller's record seasons
40 goals is just an incredible number, and that's how many Robert Lewandowski had this Bundesliga season after his strike against Freiburg. The reigning Best FIFA Men's Player therefore equalled a fabulous record that dates back almost 50 years. The legendary Gerd Müller also managed to score 40 times in a single Bundesliga season back in 1971/72, and it was a total that had since been considered unattainable - until Lewandowski's impressive 2020/21 campaign, which ended with him on a extraordinary 41 goals. fcbayern.com takes a closer look at the two stars' respective historic seasons.
The record seasons get underway
Lewandowski started the 2020/21 season well and promptly scored in the opening 8-0 win against Schalke. He finished the next game empty-handed, but then the turbo kicked in. He scored all four Bayern goals in the 4-3 win against Hertha Berlin. This was followed by a brace at Arminia Bielefeld and a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt. After five matchdays, the Pole already had 10 goals to his name. Müller had a slower start to his 1971/72 season, scoring on Matchday 2 in a 2-2 draw with Hertha in Berlin, but he didn't really get going until Matchday 10, by which time he'd notched up four goals.
Time on the pitch
Müller came through the season without injury and played in all 34 games, unlike Lewandowski. Due to the congested fixture list caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the striker was rested on Matchday 6 at Köln. In addition, the Pole picked up a knock to his knee while on international duty at the end of March, which put him out of action for four games. At that time (Matchday 26), he'd already racked up 35 goals.
The extraordinary thing about Müller's record is that he didn't score in every game. Der Bomber failed to find the back of the net in no less than 15 matches, yet he still reached the incredible milestone of 40 goals. His longest run of scoring games came from the beginning of March to the beginning of April, when he netted in five consecutive matches. Lewandowski only failed to score in four of his 29 appearances, and never went two straight games without finding the back of the net. From mid-December to the end of January, he scored in nine games in a row. Prior to his injury in March, he also had another run of six matches when he got on the scoresheet. And following his comeback, he scored in all four remaining games.
Lewandowski scored at least twice in a total of 10 matches, and five times he even got three or more goals. He showed his outstanding quality, among others, in the 4-3 win against Hertha on Matchday 3, when he scored all four goals to seal victory for the men from Munich. Müller scored in 'just' 19 games, but when his sights were set, he was unstoppable. Twelve times he scored two or more goals, six times it was even three or more. He got four in the 11-1 triumph against Borussia Dortmund - Bayern's biggest-ever win in the Bundesliga - and he even put five away in the 7-0 win against Rot-Weiß Oberhausen.
The record match
On 3 June 1972, Müller scored a hat-trick in the 6-3 win over Frankfurt on Matchday 31. It was FCB's last game at the Grünwalder Stadion, capped off by his achievement of reaching the incredible milestone of 40 goals. He finished the last two games empty-handed, so the 40-goal mark was considered unattainable for almost 50 years. That was until 15 May 2021 when Lewandowski made it 1-0 away at Freiburg to also reach that 40-goal mark. It came from the penalty spot for the seventh time over the campaign. Müller actually missed all three of his spot-kicks in 1971/72.
For a time on Matchday 34 in 2020/21, it seemed the two men would remain joint holders of the record. But in the last minute of the final match of the season, Lewandowski rounded off the scoring in Bayern's 5-2 victory over Augsburg. It was his 41st goal and made him the outright record holder for the most goals in a single Bundesliga season.
Read about the game and the goal below: