Robert Lewandowski scored multiple goals in a Bundesliga game for the 50th time in Bayern Munich’s 3-0 victory over Nuremberg on Matchday 14, and after back-to-back league wins for the German champions, the Poland striker has stressed that Bayern cannot afford to drop any more points if they’re to challenge leaders Borussia Dortmund and claim a seventh consecutive Bundesliga title.
“We’ve still got a big gap to Dortmund. First of all, we need to continue this winning run. If we rack up wins then we can have a look at things in January,” Lewandowski said of Bayern’s nine-point deficit after the Nuremberg game. “We need to concentrate on our football right now. We’ve already dropped enough points, so regardless of where we play, we have to win, at the very least to the end of the year. And if we do our job well, then we can look at others.”
Wolfsburg hold the record for points overturned to become champions after they came from 11 behind Hoffenheim to lift the title in 2008/09, and for Lewandowski the first part of a potential comeback was completed in the Bavarian derby.
While his brace made the headlines, the striker was also pleased with the action – or lack of it – at the other end of the pitch as Bayern kept their first clean sheet in nine Bundesliga games, and their first at the Allianz Arena in the league all season.
“We played well and had the game under control. It was really important that we scored three goals and didn’t concede any,” the 30-year-old insisted. “It’s important for the whole team because we all work to defend, and it means we can play quicker and with more confidence from the back in the next game.”
The Pole also declared that Bayern “have found our rhythm again, which means we’re playing better defensively in every game so can do more in attack”. An improvement that was evident in the 20 efforts on goal the record champions had against their Bavarian neighbours.
Watch: Lewandowski's claim that the race isn't over now Bayern have their rhythm back
Despite a compact Nuremberg defence, Lewandowski was still able to manage four efforts on goal – as many as the entire opposition team – and credited his attacking freedom to Thomas Müller.
Bayern’s Raumdeuter was deployed in a central position again between wingers Franck Ribery and Serge Gnabry, and behind Lewandowski, which the Poland international believes benefits all parties. “It works for both. It’s better for Thomas when he can play with me. For me, it means there’s an extra man in the box, which gives me more space because I don’t have to battle against two or three defenders alone. We’re more flexible like that and have more options.”
When asked after the game whether he still believed he could finish the season as Bundesliga top scorer, the three-time recipient of the Torjägerkanone insisted that, “there’s still a long way to go. The important thing is we’re showing attacking football with goals like today.”
Lewandowski not sitting at the top of the Bundesliga scoring chart may be a rare sight, but the striker is leading the race in the UEFA Champions League. He will have the chance to add to his six goals when Bayern travel to Amsterdam on Wednesday for a top-of-the-table clash with Ajax.
Although the Munich club are already through to the knockout stage, top spot is still up for grabs in the Dutch capital, and Lewandowski believes first place is “important for us” and that Bayern need to “play our football even though we’re already through. We’re up against an Ajax side with a lot of young talented players.”
After that, attentions return to the Bundesliga for the final three games of 2018 against Hannover (A), RB Leipzig (H) and Eintracht Frankfurt (A) with a full haul of nine points likely the only result that will see the champions in with a chance of defending their title into 2019.