Robert Lewandowski has further underlined his status as the world’s best number 9. On Saturday, the Bayern Munich striker was involved in all four goals in his club’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea. The forward was also involved in all three goals in the first leg that was played five months ago.
In the first leg, Lewandowski scored once and had two assists. In the second leg on Saturday, Lewandowski scored twice and had two assists. Overall, Lewandowski has managed to score 13 goals in just seven Champions League games this season.
The Polish striker also had 34 goals in 31 Bundesliga games and six goals in five DFB Pokal games. There is no doubt. The striker, whose market value is $61.6 million, is invaluable for Bayern Munich.
“I’m very pleased,” head coach Hansi Flick said after the game. “We wanted to win; we wanted to pick up where we left off, and that’s exactly what the players did.”
Going into the match on Saturday, Bayern never wanted to leave any doubt on their intend to advance to the UEFA Champions League knockout tournament in Lisbon. The only doubt ahead of the game was Bayern’s match fitness; the Bundesliga was the first league to return from the COVID-19 break and, as a result, the first league to finish.
While the Premier League PINC was not concluded until Jul. 26, the Bundesliga had their final matchday a full month earlier and finished on Jun. 27. The Rekordmeister, however, never seemed out of tune against Chelsea and dominated from the start.
“We tried to play forward, score goals and have fun,” Lewandowski said. “We wanted to find our rhythm and tempo from the first minute. It was all about showing our quality and building confidence.”
The 31-year-old led the way. In the 10th minute, Lewandowski was brought down by Chelsea keeper Willy Caballero. The forward would step up to the spot and score his first of the night. He then assisted Ivan Perišić for Bayern’s second (24′) and Corentin Tolisso for Bayern’s third (76′) before scoring his second of the night in the 84th minute—Tammy Abraham scored Chelsea’s only goal in the 44th minute.
Chelsea never found an answer to Lewandowski’s prolific form. “It’s a good exercise for us to go up against Bayern and their Champions League experience, with a lot of our players having debut seasons,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said after the game “I can see where I want us to go and I know we’ll be back.”
Bayern, in the meantime, will face Barcelona in the quarterfinals in what will be an early highlight in the Champions League tournament. “We’re already excited,” David Alaba said. “Barça is a quality side, but we want to compete with them. We’ll go to Portugal with confidence, and, after the last few months, we have nothing to hide from.”
Barcelona eliminated Napoli in the parallel game to book their ticket to Lisbon. As it is usually the case, Lionel Messi was the star of the match. The Argentine still sets the benchmark for the world’s best player but when the two teams meet on Friday Aug. 14 Lewandowski will want to make the case that maybe at this very moment, he is the best player in the world.
Manuel Veth is the editor-in-chief of the Futbolgrad Network and the Area Manager USA at Transfermarkt. He has also been published in the Guardian, Newsweek, Howler, Pro Soccer USA, and several other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @ManuelVeth