Robert Lewandowski has genuine designs on eclipsing Gerd Müller's 40-goal haul of 1971/72. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
Robert Lewandowski has genuine designs on eclipsing Gerd Müller's 40-goal haul of 1971/72. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga

Can Robert Lewandowski break Gerd Müller's 40-goal Bundesliga record?

It’s some 47 years since Gerd Müller plundered a Bundesliga record 40 single-season goals for Bayern Munich, but Robert Lewandowski is on course to rewrite the history books.

As well as rattling the onion bag, it’s what LewanGOALski does best…

Just 11 games into the 2019/20 campaign, the Bundesliga's record non-German marksman has already hit a club- and league-leading 16 goals.

He's done so by finding the net at least once in EVERY SINGLE match, comfortably outstripping the previous gold standard set by former Borussia Dortmund teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who started 2015/16 with 10 goals across each of the first eight fixtures before drawing his first blank.

Lewandowski’s previous best-mark after 11 matchdays was 13, albeit with five of those efforts falling in one nine-minute swoop in a 5-1 win against Wolfsburg in 2015/16. The imperious Bayern front man ended that particular season - his second at the club - on 30 goals, claiming his second top scorer’s prize in the process.

He wasn’t able to defend his crown in 2016/17, despite producing a second successive 30-goal campaign, but has retained the cannon in the past two years courtesy of impressive 22- and 29-goal tallies.

The last player to win back-to-back Torjägerkanonen was Bayer Leverkusen’s Ulf Kirsten. Only the legendary Müller has claimed three in a row (and seven overall) - an historic run which began with a fabled 40-goal return in 1971/72.

Müller scored all 365 of his Bundesliga goals in a Bayern shirt between 1964 and 1979. - imago/WEREK

However, unlike Lewandowski - who has kicked off 2019/20 with a trio of braces, a hat-trick and strikes against Mainz, RB Leipzig, Paderborn, Hoffenheim, Augsburg, Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt - Müller had just the six goals to show for the first 11 matches of the 1971/72 season.

Thirty-four of his final 40 fell after Matchday 11, and included four hat-tricks, as well as one four- and five-goal haul. He also missed three penalties in the first half of 1971/72 alone; as many as Lewandowski has fluffed in his entire Bundesliga career.

Unsurprisingly, no one has come close to matching Müller's 40-goal total with such alarming regularity as Legendowski. Bayern's current leading man has hit double figures in seven of his eight full seasons of Bundesliga football to date - the exception being his debut campaign at Dortmund. He has posted 20 or more in five, and 30 in his other two.

Watch: A tactical look at how Lewy and Müller stack up

If Lewandowski continues to fire at his current clip of 1.45 goals per Bundesliga game, he will end the 2019/20 season on 49 goals. Not that the man himself is thinking of eclipsing Müller... yet.

"It's too early," Lewandowski said after becoming the first player in Bundesliga history to reach double figures after six matches with his strike in Bayern's 3-2 win at Paderborn. "It's great to be scoring, and I hope I can keep it up."

Lewandowski has done just that, and is now in pole position to become the first Bundesliga player to win the European Golden Shoe since, you guessed it, Müller in 1972.

Watch: All of Robert Lewandowski's goals so far in 2019/20!

He is also up to fourth in the Bundesliga's all-time scoring charts on 218 goals. Only three players - Jupp Heynckes (220), Klaus Fischer (268) and Müller (365) - have netted more. Only one - Müller - has a better minutes-per-goal ratio: 105 compared to Lewy's 110.

Assuming Lewandowski stays fit - almost a given seeing how he's never missed more than four league games in a single Bundesliga season - the Peter Pan of football can expect to close the gap in more ways than one as 2019/20 rolls on.

And while Müller’s Bundesliga-record total of 365 goals in 427 games looks safe for now, his single-season best is under serious threat.