Robert Lewandowski has now moved into top spot as Europe's No.1 striker in the Golden Shoe race. - © DFL
Robert Lewandowski has now moved into top spot as Europe's No.1 striker in the Golden Shoe race. - © DFL

Robert Lewandowski: the leading European Golden Shoe contender and MD11's Man of the Matchday

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has moved into pole position in the European Golden Shoe race and should he clinch the trophy at the end of the season, he will become the first Bundesliga-based player to do so since Gerd Müller back in 1972.

Lewandowski is used to breaking records. He is, after all, the Bundesliga’s leading foreign goal scorer, the man with the most goals at the Allianz Arena and the first player in history to score in 11 consecutive Bundesliga matchdays.

He has four Torjägerkanonen to his name and is comfortably leading the race for a fifth crown and third in succession as the 31-year-old footballing equivalent of fine wine continues to leave German football fans salivating with his award-winning style, year-after-year.

Watch: A tactical look at the undefendable Robert Lewandowski

There is one individual accolade that has so far proven elusive to the seven-time Bundesliga champion, however, and that is Europe’s Golden Shoe, awarded to the most prolific player based on the coefficient ranking of each league across the continent.

The Poland captain has featured in the top five in each of the past four seasons and finished fourth at the end of the 2016/17 season with 30 goals earning him 60 points and his highest position in the race’s standings from a stellar career so far.

And as Lewandowski extended his record Klassiker goal tally with a brace in Bayern’s 4-0 win over Dortmund, becoming the first player to score in six successive versions of this fixture, as well as the first in German top-flight history to find the back of the net for six games running against a former club, he also put himself top of Europe’s pile.

His 15th and 16th league goals of the season moved Lewandowski clear of FC Flora Tallinn striker Erik Sorga, who scored 29 goals across Estonia’s 2019 Premium Liiga campaign that ended the same day Bayern were putting Dortmund to the sword.

Due to the coefficient rating of his country, Sorga’s goals rank singularly as points, whereas Lewandowski’s count as double due to the Bundesliga’s superior UEFA ranking.

As a result, the Bayern hitman - widely regarded as the best striker on the planet right now - moves into top spot with 32 points as he goes in search of becoming the first man since Gerd Müller in 1972 to win the European Golden Shoe while playing in the Bundesliga.

Müller - the record goalscorer in Bundesliga history with 365 - did so at the end of the 1971/72 season having scored 40 league goals, a return that is still the record for the most strikes in a single Bundesliga campaign.

That was the Bayern legend’s second European Golden Shoe, adding to his 1969/70 crown courtesy of 38 goals that year, and he is the only man in history to have done so as a Bundesliga player.

Should Lewandowski continue at this remarkable rate - and all signs suggest he will - that record will be under threat. But while the Bayern man may be the front runner, he’s not the only Bundesliga striker in contention.

Watch: Lewandowski on the path to greatness

RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner currently sits sixth on the list after his brace against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 11, taking his points tally to 22. He is now just 0.5 points off Sierra Leone centre-forward Mohamed Buya Turay, who has 15 goals in Sweden’s top-flight for Djurgarden and currently rounds off the top-five.

Considering the Germany international has five goals from his last two league matches, the fleet-footed 23-year-old is hot on the heels of his Bundesliga counterpart and the rest of Europe’s leading marksmen.

Timo Werner already has two Bundesliga hat-tricks for RB Leipzig this season. - imago images/Jan Huebner

European Golden Shoe Top 10

1. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich): 16 goals (x2 coefficient) = 32 points

2. Erik Sorga (FC Flora Tallinn): 29 goals (x1 coefficient) = 29 points

3. Ciro Immobile (Lazio): 13 goals (x2 coefficient) = 26 points

4. Ilia Shkurin (Energetik-BGU Minsk): 17 goals (x1.5 coefficient) = 25.5 points

5. Mohamed Buya Toray (Djurgarden): 15 goals (x1.5 coefficient) = 22.5 points

6. Timo Werner (RB Leipzig): 11 goals (x2 coefficient) = 22 points

7. Tomislav Kis (Zalgiris Vilnius): 22 goals (x1 coefficient) = 22 points

8. Kamil Wilczek (Brondby): 14 goals (x1.5 coefficient) = 21 points

9. Robin Soder (Gothenburg): 14 goals (x1.5 coefficient) = 21 points

10. Muamer Tankovic (Hammarby): 14 goals (x1.5 coefficient) = 21 points

*Bundesliga players in bold