Thomas Müller has ten FIFA World Cup goals, double Lionel Messi's tournament tally. - © © imago / Moritz Müller
Thomas Müller has ten FIFA World Cup goals, double Lionel Messi's tournament tally. - © © imago / Moritz Müller

Müller, James, Lewandowski and Werner: World Cup Golden Boot race is a Bundesliga affair

Forget Cristiano Ronaldo, leave aside Lionel Messi. When the 2018 FIFA World Cup concludes on 15 July in Moscow, history, along with more modern feats, suggests the tournament's Golden Boot will be picked up by one of the Bundesliga's striking stars.

Search through the stats of the last three tournaments and you'll quickly notice a familiar pattern. In 2006, 2010 and 2014, the tournament's top marksman every time was either playing in the Bundesliga or would do so at a future date.

With that in mind, takes a looks back, and ahead, to explain why the Bundesliga could very well be home to the World Cup’s Golden Boot winner once again in 2018, and whose name could be on it.

Watch: The Bundesliga stars in World Cup form...

King Klose

It could be Bayern Munich and Germany schemer Thomas Müller to add to his record-chasing tally in Russia, but don't rule out Colombia's coolest customer, James Rodriguez, making it two Golden Boots in a row. That potent Poland goal predator Robert Lewandowski completes our trio of Bayern contenders hoping to put Messi, Ronaldo and the rest into the shade as the Bundesliga's best shine on the world stage over what promise to be several spectacular summer weeks. 

Currently at the top of the all-time pile stands Miroslav Klose. A Werder Bremen player when Germany reached the semi-finals on home soil in 2006, the international great ended that tournament as the Golden Boot winner with five goals.

Fast forward to 2014, and the awesome striker was, incredibly, appearing in his fourth World Cup. Lining out in what was his fourth successive semi-final - an achievement no other player has managed - the ex-Kaiserslautern, Bayern and Lazio man found the net in that 7-1 win against Brazil to stand alone as the World Cup's leading marksman on 16 goals.

Miroslav Klose wrote his name into football history on Germany's famous night against Brazil in 2014. - © gettyimages / Adrian Dennis

Contender number one:Thomas Müller

International games: 91
International goals: 38

Yet Klose now has a challenger to that immense legacy: one Thomas Müller. "Thomas can do it. He’s already got ten World Cup goals. If he can stay fit he should play at least two more tournaments. He also takes penalties, which I was never allowed to do," Klose explained.

At just 20, Müller picked up the Golden Boot at the 2010 finals, his five goals and three assists meaning he collected the award ahead of David Villa, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Forlán - all of whom also scored five times. "Thomas just has a nose for goals," Klose insisted.

Contender number two:Robert Lewandowski

Although he has predominantly been a provider this season – collecting a league-high 14 assist in the Bundesliga – Müller has gone under the radar in collecting eight goals during Bayern’s title-winning campaign. And form often goes out the window at the world’s biggest stage, so with experience and his unearthing ability to be in the right place at the right time in the biggest games, Müller is a name that will be in focus throughout in Russia.

International games: 95
International goals: 55

Another of those with a nose for finding the net with club and country is the irrepressible Lewandowski, Poland's all-time leading marksman, captain and national treasure.

Bundesliga title number six and a third Torjägerkanone tucked under his arm, the 29-year-old Bayern giant is targeting a first tilt at world glory having struck 16 times in qualifying, a European record. "I motivate myself by the desire to win more trophies," Lewy once famously said. 

Watch: What makes Lewy so good?

"He's the best striker in the world," current Poland coach Adam Nawalka explained. "He's always developing and making progress and I don't believe there's anyone who can stop him." Lewandowski, himself, believes he can play at the highest level until he's 35 at least. If that is to be believed, we may well see the record marksman at another World Cup after 2018.

Contender number three:James Rodriguez

International games: 63
International goals: 21

With Poland set to face Colombia in Group H's second set of fixtures, Lewandowski will be focusing on club mate James in what will be a match-up that is certain to fascinate. The Golden Boot winner in 2014, James is among the favourites to shine again in Russia, particularly given his sensational form in the latter part of his maiden campaign in the Bundesliga with Bayern.

In just 23 German top-flight appearances, the 26-year-old scored seven goals, provided 11 assists and created 72 chances: figures to strike fear into Colombia's World Cup opponents. "James is a godsend for us in terms of his current form and the way in which he has adapted here," Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes explained. "He is playing at a high level and doing well."

Watch: James's stunning 2017/18 with Bayern!

Contender number four:Timo Werner

"James is demonstrating just what James is. We know that we have one of the best players in the world playing for one of the best teams in the world," Colombia coach Jose Pekerman said of the player, who has racked up 21 goals in 63 senior internationals for Colombia.

International games: 14
International goals: 8

But it won't just be Bayern Munich's tantalising trio who will be trying to take the top-scoring summit. The man they call Turbo will also be keen to power his way to the peak of the scoring charts should he - as is expected - continue to play as Germany's first-choice forward. Timo Werner is only 22, yet the RB Leipzig man has already found the net seven times in just 14 appearances for Joachim Löw's Mannschaft, while he was among the top scorers at the FIFA Confederation's Cup when Germany took that title last year.

Watch: Werner: The heir to Mario Gomez's throne!

Plenty of outside bets will certainly be placed on Werner's teammate at Leipzig, Yussuf Poulsen, for Denmark, and Augsburg's goal-getter Alfred Finnbogason for Iceland, who have both already opened their World Cup accounts after the first round of group stage fixtures.

The list of potential winners from the Bundesliga goes on, meaning that any proposed idea of a two-horse race between Ronaldo and Messi for the top scoring prize is, to say the least, fanciful.

Click here to find out which Bundesliga stars will be at the World Cup in Russia!