What a season 2019-20 was for Bayern Munich. Not only are they Bundesliga champions for a record eighth straight year, but they are also kings of Europe once again as they won the Champions League to complete the vaunted continental treble for the second time in their history.
While it was a fine team effort, Robert Lewandowski deserves a great deal of credit for their success. The Bayern Munich marksman had his best-ever campaign at the ripe old age of 31, and in doing so, he made a convincing case for being the best player in all of Europe this year.
SBOTOP takes a look back at Lewandowski’s remarkable season and how all of his amazing achievements this year impact his place in history.
Unbelievable in the Bundesliga
Bayern’s season will be remembered in two distinct parts, not pre- and post-COVID, but rather with and without Hansi Flick. Bayern’s Bundesliga 2020 results markedly improved shortly after Flick replaced Niko Kovac as manager and they never looked back.
But no one should forget that even when Bayern were underperforming under Kovac, Lewandowski was busy having a record-breaking run to start the Bundesliga season.
Lewandowski has been widely considered to be one of the top strikers in the game for the past few years, but he suddenly took his game to another level. He began the season on fire with five goals in his first two games — including a hat-trick at Schalke — and he never really cooled off.
He went on to score in each of the first 11 games of the season — a new Bundesliga record for most consecutive games with a goal — and had 16 goals in total.
Lewandowski’s amazing start had him on pace to potentially break the great Gerd Muller’s decades-old record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season. The Bundesliga 2020 odds weren’t in the Pole’s favour, but he still made a decent run at it.
Lewy was on 25 goals when the Bundesliga came to a halt, and he picked up right where he left off once the season restarted. He went on to score nine goals in Bayern’s last eight games to finish with 34 goals, the best Bundesliga haul of his career.
While that was six goals shy of Muller’s record, Lewandowski was still able to break the record for the most Bundesliga goals by a foreign player in a single season, which was previously held by former Dortmund team-mate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Lewandowski also went on to win the Torjägerkanone — awarded to the league’s top scorer — for the third year running and the fifth time in his career.
Lewandowski then scored twice in Bayern’s 4-2 win against Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal final to cap off another dominant domestic campaign.
Amazing Champions League run
But as good as Lewandowski was in Germany, he was even better in Europe. He scored in all six Champions League group-stage games and finished with 10 goals, four of which came in Bayern’s 6-0 hammering of Crvena Zvezda.
Lewandowski then starred in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Chelsea. He set up both of Serge Gnabry’s goals before finishing things off with a goal of his own.
That game was a great example of Lewandowski’s ability to link up play, which remains sharp even at age 31. Flick’s appointment helped revive that underrated part of Lewy’s game; of his nine assists this season, eight came after Flick became manager.
Five months later, Lewandowski crushed Chelsea even harder in the second leg as he scored a brace and set up two more goals in a 4-1 win.
Lewandowski also scored in Bayern’s victories over Barcelona and Lyon to push his tally to 15 goals, a mark that only the great Cristiano Ronaldo had ever reached in the Champions League.
His run of amazing performances finally came to an end against PSG, which left him two goals shy of matching Ronaldo’s record of 17 goals.
But despite not scoring in the final, the Pole’s contributions to Bayern’s Champions League triumph were undeniable.
Lewandowski: the Ballon d’Or winner than never was
It’s quite a shame that there will be no Ballon d’Or winner in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic because if there were, that golden ball would go to Lewandowski without question.
At least he has the consolation of claiming the Golden Shoe with his 55 goals this season — 12 more than his previous high — which is a goal tally that few beyond Messi or Ronaldo ever reach.
The fact that Messi and Ronaldo have made scoring 50-plus goals so routine has somewhat diminished what a truly incredible achievement that is. And the fact that Lewandowski has reached that level is a testament to his greatness.
Messi and Ronaldo remain in their own class, but for this season at least, Lewandowski has a strong case to be considered the superior player.
Winning the Ballon d’Or would have been a fitting way to cap off Lewandowski’s historic campaign. But in the absence of that famous golden ball, just look to Lewy’s 55 goals and treble of trophies as evidence that he is the brightest star of 2020 as well as one of the greatest players ever in the Bundesliga and Europe.
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