‘Can’t praise him enough’: Mueller marvels at Lewandowski
Thomas Mueller is backing Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski to break Gerd Mueller’s phenomenal record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season after the Poland striker’s red-hot start to the campaign.
Lewandowski has scored 10 goals in Bayern’s first five league games.
“When you see how consistently he scores, it’s definitely within the realm of possibility,” Thomas Mueller said when asked if Lewandowski can topple Gerd Mueller’s mark, set in 1971/72.
Bayern on Saturday visit third-from-bottom Cologne, against whom Lewandowski has scored 12 goals in 13 matches.
All Bundesliga games this weekend will be behind closed doors ahead of new measures announced by the German government to curb rising numbers of the coronavirus.
Having scored all four goals in a 4-3 win over Hertha Berlin, Lewandowski netted a hat-trick in last weekend’s 5-0 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Mueller praised Lewandowski for also adding assists to his game.
“(Lewandowski) has always wanted to score lots of goals, now he wants to make them as well. You can’t praise that highly enough,” Mueller told DAZN.
Lewandowski, who scored 55 goals in all competitions last term, also has four assists this season.
“What he has been doing now for over a year is something special,” added Mueller.
Bayern travel over the Alps to face Salzburg in the Champions League on Tuesday and Lewandowski could be rested on Saturday.
However, Cologne coach Markus Gisdol insists Bayern are currently “the world’s best team” regardless of who plays.
“They hardly make any passing mistakes, you can’t afford to just worry about Lewandowski,” said Gisdol, with Cologne chasing a first win over Bayern in nine years.
Bayern are second in the table, a point behind leaders RB Leipzig whose coach Julian Nagelsmann insisted they must learn from Wednesday’s 5-0 drubbing at Manchester United.
Leipzig face fellow Champions League side Borussia Moenchengladbach on Saturday.
Nagelsmann wants a reaction from his side after admitting the 15 minutes of football Leipzig played after going 2-0 down at Old Trafford was “some of the worst we have played in a long time”.
One to watch: Marco Reus
The 31-year-old Dortmund captain is one of the most talented German players of his generation, but is struggling to regain form after a six-month injury lay-off.
The playmaker was annoyed to be substituted after an average display before Jadon Sancho and Erling Braut Haaland scored late goals in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Zenit Saint Petersburg.
Sky pundit Dietmar Hamann has suggested Mats Hummels replace Reus as Dortmund captain to take some pressure off the Germany winger as he refinds his form.
Third-placed Dortmund take on Arminia Bielefeld on Saturday with Reus expected to wear the captain’s armband after Hamann’s suggestion was rebuffed by Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.
“Hamann often analyses very accurately, but here he is completely wrong,” insisted Waztke. “How can he judge what goes on within the team internally?”
1 – Goals Bayern legend Gerd Mueller had scored after the first five games of 1971/72 when he went on to set the league record of 40. At the same stage, Lewandowski has scored 10.
11 – Defeats Cologne have suffered in 12 games against Bayern since a shock 3-2 home win in February 2011.
14 – League games Reus missed at the end of the disrupted 2019/20 season after suffering a groin injury in February, which he aggravated in July, ruling him out until September.
Fixtures (all times 1430 GMT unless stated)
Schalke 04 v VfB Stuttgart (1930)
Eintracht Frankfurt v Werder Bremen, Cologne v Bayern Munich, Augsburg v Mainz 05, Arminia Bielefeld v Borussia Dortmund (1430), Borussia Moenchengladbach v RB Leipzig (1730)
Freiburg v Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin v VfL Wolfsburg (1700)
Hoffenheim v Union Berlin (1930)