How did Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski manage to equal Gerd Müller’s 40-goal single-season record set almost 50 years ago?
bundesliga.com takes a deeper dive to break down the numbers behind the goals…
The majority of Lewandowski’s strikes have come with his stronger right foot this season: 31 to be precise, including the decisive penalty against Freiburg on Matchday 33 that brought him level with Müller.
He has also hit the target five times with headers and on four occasions with his left foot, variety that gives an indication as to why he’s so difficult to stop.
Watch: All 40 of Lewandowski's goals this season
Averaging a goal every 59 minutes – he has made just 28 league outings in 2020/21 after all – they have also arrived via different game scenarios. The 32-year-old has scored eight penalties, 10 from dead-ball situations, three long-range efforts from outside the box and three on the counter attack.
It will come as no great surprise to learn he is extremely clinical: Lewandowski has had more efforts on goal than anyone else this season (130), and averages roughly three shots for every goal.
There is never a good time to face Lewandowski, but defenders should be especially alert in the 15 minutes immediately before half-time as 25 percent (10) of all his Bundesliga strikes this term have come in that window.
He has ‘only’ scored four times in the opening 15 minutes, as he did against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 32 with the earliest strike of his professional club career, while seven goals have come between minutes 16 and 30.
He doesn’t let up after the interval either, with his next best period coming straight after the restart (eight goals). Only four have been registered from the 61st to the 75th minutes, but he comes alive again in the closing stages as opponents tire, smashing in seven times in the final quarter of an hour.
The only respite for teams, if it can be called that, is that he tends to score more at the Allianz Arena than he does away from home: 26 of his 40 have come from 14 outings on home turf, with 'just' 14 in 14 on the road.
As elite an all-round player as Lewandowski is, he is also a ‘fox-in-the-box’ in the manner of traditional centre-forwards: 37 of his 40 goals were scored inside the opposition’s penalty area, with six coming inside the six-yard box.
Thirty-six were fired in from central areas, including all eight penalties (he even missed one against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 20!), while just four came from slightly wider positions.
Accuracy is also crucial for a marksman as unerring as the Bayern No.9, and it shows. Just over half of his goals have been buried in the hardest-to-reach areas for custodians, the bottom corners: 10 to the goalkeeper’s right 11 to his left. No other section of the goal is hit anywhere near as frequently.
Lewandowski also shows no favourite side of the goal, with 18 going to his left, 17 to his right and five centrally, adding an extra layer of unpredictability to the armoury of the world’s most lethal striker.