No one brings the best out of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski quite like Thomas Müller (pictured). - © getty images
No one brings the best out of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski quite like Thomas Müller (pictured). - © getty images
bundesliga

Thomas Müller: Matchday 4's Man of the Matchday and Robert Lewandowski's perfect supporting act in the Bayern Munich attack

If James Rodriguez and Philippe Coutinho enjoyed only varying degrees of success in the hole behind Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski in seasons past it is because of the perpetual brilliance of Thomas Müller.

James spent two years on loan at Bayern from Real Madrid, registering 14 goals and 15 assists in 43 Bundesliga outings, while Barcelona's Coutinho had a direct hand in 14 of the record champions' 100 top-flight goals last term.

On Bundesliga Matchday 4 of 2020/21, Müller moved on to 121 goals and 149 assists in 355 Bundesliga appearances as Bayern moved up to second in the standings with a 4-1 win away to promoted Arminia Bielefeld.

Statistically, the self-styled Raumdeuter (space interpreter) - neither thoroughbred forward nor classic No.10 - is taking or making a goal every 1.31 games.

"Thomas is a one-of-a-kind, there's no imitating him," commented Bayern coach Hansi Flick. "Along with Lewandowski, he was the best player on the pitch in Bielefeld."

There is no arguing with the assessment of the freshly minted UEFA Coach of the Year. The contest was only eight minutes old when Lewandowski telegraphed the run of Müller, who fired home after his selfless attempt to tee up Kingsley Coman had been thwarted.

Watch: Bielefeld 1-4 Bayern - in 60 seconds!

Bielefeld goalkeeper Stefan Ortega prevented a repeat showing soon after, before Lewandowski joined his partner in crime on the scoresheet with a first-half brace. Having provided the pass for the Poland forward's second, roles were reversed when Müller put away Lewandowski's raking cross for his brace. The Grover Washington Jr.-Bill Withers hit song 'Just the two of us' was tailor-made for such moments.

"It’s easier with Thomas next to me," Lewandowski has said time and again of his fruitful partnership with the longest-serving player on the current Bayern books.

"Thomas helps me out a lot; we complement each other very well. He's always heading towards the opposition goal, with a lot of movement. We always have one player more in the penalty area when he plays, I have more space and not always two or three opponents against me."

Müller's free rein to boldly go where no footballer has gone before has enabled Lewandowski to rack up three successive Bundesliga top scorer's cannons.

In that time, no player has assisted more goals for the unerring Pole, who once again is the man to beat at the top of the scoring charts with seven goals in four games. Müller has provided two of them, while two of his three Bundesliga strikes in 2020/21 have come via the boot or head of the 2020 UEFA Best Player.

One or, in some cases, both of football's most effective partnership in football right now have been directly involved in all of Bayern's club record 17 goals after four rounds of fixtures. Not that such eye-watering levels of efficiency are anything new.

Historically, Müller has never weighed in with fewer than 14 goals or assists combined across a full Bundesliga campaign. Lewandowski's lowest return in a Bayern shirt is a debut-season 24. Only improving with age, Müller, 31, finished 2019/20 with a career-best hand of 29 - including a Bundesliga record 21 assists; the 32-year-old Lewandowski scored 34 and provided a further four.

On current form, star duo and club alike - Bayern fell two short of breaking their 101-goal record of 1971/72 last term - can expect to see significant gains come the end of 2020/21.

Chris Mayer-Lodge