Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus (c.) believes Robert Lewandowski (l.) and Florian Wirtz (r.) will make big impacts in the Bundesliga in 2021. - © DFL
Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus (c.) believes Robert Lewandowski (l.) and Florian Wirtz (r.) will make big impacts in the Bundesliga in 2021. - © DFL

"Robert Lewandowski will break Gerd Müller's 40-goal record" - Lothar Matthäus

Bundesliga legend Lothar Matthäus believes Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski will break Gerd Müller's Bundesliga season scoring record in 2020/21, and that Bayer Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz is the young player to watch in 2021.

Matthäus, who captained Germany to a FIFA World Cup win in 1990 and is a legend at both Bayern and Borussia Mönchengladbach, says this is the year that Lewandowski will break former Bayern striker Müller's record of 40 goals in a single Bundesliga season.

The record has now stood for 49 years, with Müller creating history back in 1971/72 as he hit 40 goals in the 34-game Bundesliga campaign. Lewandowski is, however, well on his way to etching his name further into the Bundesliga's history books this season.

Watch: Tactical analysis of two of the Bundesliga's greatest ever scorers

"Yes, he will break the record, I'm sure of it," Matthäus told a media round table this week. "Twenty-one goals after 16 games - and he wasn't playing in Cologne. Cologne is not one of the best teams and for me, this is a few goals missing.

"He has a fantastic team around him. The team is the key to breaking a record like this from Gerd Müller. So, this is my prognosis for 2021, Robert Lewandowski will break the record from Gerd Müller and score more than 40 goals in the Bundesliga."

Lewandowski's 21 goals after 16 Bundesliga matchdays in 2020/21 betters the 19 he managed at the same stage last time out, and means he has six more than Müller's haul after 16 league games at the start of 1971/72.

Watch: The best of Lewandowski at Bayern

Another record-breaking player Matthäus believes Bundesliga and football fans alike should keep an eye out for in 2021 is Leverkusen's Wirtz. When asked to name one young player fans should make sure to watch over the coming year, Matthäus showed no hesitation in picking the talented teenager.

"I think when we speak about the Bundesliga, Wirtz from Bayer Leverkusen," Matthäus said. "He's 17 years old and he's a talented midfield player. You have to watch him. He will be the second Kai Havertz, who now plays at Chelsea. He will go the same way as Havertz. In a few years, we will see him play for the German national team and we’ll see him play for a big, big team in Europe."

Wirtz became Leverkusen's youngest-ever debutant at the end of 2019/20 when the Bundesliga resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break in pklay, and became the league's youngest scorer - before Youssoufa Moukoko's goal in December 2020 - when he fired past Manuel Neuer back in June.

Florian Wirtz has become a key member of the first-team squad at Bayer Leverkusen despite only turning 17 in May 2020. - getty images

Since then, Wirtz has become a first-team regular under Peter Bost at the BayArena. The teenager has missed just three Bundesliga games in 2020/21, scoring twice and providing five assists while continuing his schoolwork amidst his emergence as one of German football's next big talent.

"I remember when I was his age, or a bit older, I played in a similar position to what he is playing in now. He's a box-to-box player, he knows the right moment to give the right passes, he knows when he has to get into the box. There are many talented young players in the Bundesliga, but I like Wirtz."