Cometh the hour, cometh the man… step forward once again Robert Lewandowski, who put the seal on Bayern Munich’s eighth consecutive Bundesliga title with the winning goal against Werder Bremen on Matchday 32.
Playing in pouring rain at the wohninvest Weserstadion, Bayern were struggling to break their hosts down, and despite enjoying over 60 per cent of possession, Hansi Flick’s charges had only mustered one shot on goal as half-time approached.
Enter Lewandowski. Anticipating the trajectory of Jerome Boateng’s superb chip over the defence, the Polish forward controlled the ball on his chest, swivelled in the air and hit it on the volley all in one movement, bouncing it over Jiri Pavlenka and into the net.
It was Lewandowski’s 31’st Bundesliga goal of the season – a new single-season personal best – and took his overall tally to 46 in 39 competitive games.
With figures like those it is no surprise he is on course for a fifth Torjägerkanone as the league’s top scorer, is way out in front in the race for the European Golden Shoe, fending off competition from the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, among others, and is surely the frontrunner to win the Ballon d'Or.
And yet it is not only his numbers that are jaw-dropping. The effort in Bremen required technique of the highest order; he is very much in the category of being both a great scorer of goals and a scorer of great goals.
Even that doesn’t tell the whole story, though. Although Bayern had a comfortable lead at the top of the table going into Matchday 32, they needed a win to rubberstamp the title and to avoid giving their challengers any hope of reeling them in. As has so often been the case, Lewandowski rose to the occasion.
He does not simply score relatively ‘meaningless’ goals at the end of a 5-0 thrashing; more often than not he gets the decisive, important ones: the volley in Bremen was the 11th time this season that he has put Bayern 1-0 up in the Bundesliga.
He was also on target in crunch games against Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern’s closest pursuers in the title race, while he is the leading scorer in this season’s UEFA Champions League with 11 goals.
“We’re Bundesliga champions, we’re very satisfied,” he said afterwards. “It’s not been an easy season and we’ve fought for this title for a long time. In the first half Werder played a bit more defensively, but they played well. In the second we should’ve scored again, that would’ve made things easier.”
Watch: Lewandowski's goals against all 18 Bundesliga clubs
That relentless pursuit of excellence – even when you’re supposed to be celebrating having won the title – is what sets Lewandowski apart. And with Gerd Müller’s 40-goal record to chase, form to maintain ahead of the DFB Cup final with Leverkusen and the resumption of the Champions League, there are sure to be many more moments of Lewy’s class before the season is over.