Stats & Links: The best since Gerd Müller?
In Robert Lewandowski Bayern now have a forward who scores just as many goals as Gomez. Last night he scored a brace and also assisted the 2-0 by Thiago against Schalke 04 in the DFB Pokal. Last weekend he did so against an overwhelmed Hamburg side, which ultimately lost 0-8 surrendering three goals to the Polish striker in the process. However, Lewandowski seems to be acknowledged much more by both the club officials and the press. After his scoring outburst it was the club’s chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who compared him to Munich’s legendary striker Gerd Müller. Being the gentleman he is, Lewandowski refused to accept this huge compliment but not without claiming that he wants to write his own history and show some previously unseen things.
Since forever the Bayern attack was composed of big names: Gerd Müller in the 70’s, Roland Wolfarth and Dieter Hoeneß in the 80’s, later Giovanne Elber, Roy Makaay, Luca Toni and now Mario Gomez as well as Robert Lewandowski. Ranking all those players would be inappropriate because of the different ages and playing styles.
It is still worth to take a look at the numbers. Four years ago Gomez’ goal average was the second best among Bayern players all-time in the Bundesliga. By now he was surpassed by Lewandowski. The Polish striker is averaging 0.78 goals per game, which sums up to 66 goals in just 85 games in the famous red-white jersey. On the current squad he ranks fourth in league goals scored behind Franck Ribery (72), Arjen Robben (85) and Thomas Müller (92), even though all those players took part in at least twice as many matches.
Even if you look at the best goal averages in Bundesliga history, Lewandowksi ranks second with his combined goal average of 0.65 from his tenures at Dortmund and Bayern. And the 28-year old is in good company behind only the great Gerd Müller (0.85) and slightly ahead of Lothar Emmerich (BVB/0.63), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (BVB/0.63) and Horst Hrubesch (HSV/0.61).
Furthermore there are only four players in league history that scored two or more goals more often than Lewandowski (36 times) – once more Gerd Müller is among them.
But Lewandowski’s scoring isn’t limited to league games. With 21 goals in the Champions League he is in sixth position in the club-intern ranking trailing both Müllers (Thomas: 39, Gerd: 35), Gomez (23), Robben and Elber (both 22). Out of the five players ahead of him he played the fewest games.
However the question remains, why Lewandowski is acknowledged more than Gomez while the German is close behind or even slightly ahead of him in all stat categories. In order to find out we jump back to Steffen’s article in which he described a typical game of Gomez: not attracting a lot of attention, a would-be mediocre grade, but scoring the winning goal.
Lewandowski’s appearance on the pitch is totally different. The Polish forward is always fighting, pressuring opposing keepers or defensive lines even in the closing minutes of games. Furthermore he is quite the ball handler in the box, as last seen in Freiburg, and outside of the box in tight spaces. It was especially in those situations that Gomez seemed a little overstrained. Hence it is surprising that in their best Bundesliga season according to whoscored.com (2010/11 Gomez and 2016/17 Lewandowski) both have equal amount of key passes (0.8 per game).
Of course there are games where Lewandowski is left hanging by his teammates and seems to be isolated on the pitch, receiving fewer passes in the process. Nevertheless, Lewy has ten more passes per game with even better passing accuracies than Gomez.
Just last December Lewandowski revealed another page of his playbook, as he scored two goals per freekick in the matter of just four days. Both goals came from the same position just to the left outside of the penalty box, about twenty meters away from the goal. This is a not to be underestimated quality, which can be a decisive advantage.
Ultimately it can be noted, that Lewandowski is probably on the path to become the best Bayern striker since the days of famous Gerd Müller. However, the Polish striker is not on the same level with him, but rather with Mario Gomez as awkward as this may sound. Still, Lewandowski adds a quality, which differentiates him from most of Bayerns previous strikers. This is probably the reason why Bayern was so eager to extend Lewandowski’s contract until 2021. It seems likely, that Lewandowski can continue to write his own legacy at Bayern.
Remark: An earlier version of this article stated that Lewandowski was the first striker since Elber to extend his contract at Bayern, when in fact Gomez extended his contract in 2012.
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We often think about the best way to make our round-up as interesting as possible with texts worth reading – partially because we’re running out of memorable players for our look back in time. We would like to use the round-up as a platform for open discourse about all general topics concerning FC Bayern. What would you like to read? Leave us a comment!