It’s been a long time coming.
Robert Lewandowski is finally the undisputed best No9 on the planet.
It’s likely he has been the best striker in the world at some point before, but Luis Suarez’s relentless pursuit has restricted the Pole from claiming the unofficial title without dispute.
With the Uruguayan suffering a noticeable decline and Lewandowski arguably in the form of his life, Bayern’s prolific poacher now deserves to be celebrated as the standalone best at what he does.
There will be some of you who put forward other names: Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero… Erling Haaland.
None are in Lewandowski’s bracket this season.
The 31-year-old has scored 22 goals (club and country) already this season — a stat that grows in absurdity when you consider it’s November 1st today.
He’s scored in every Bundesliga fixture so far this campaign, with a total of 13 goals from nine games, averaging a goal every 60 minutes.
Timo Werner is his closest competitor — the RB Leipzig forward has six goals, a respectable tally but less than half of Lewandowski’s.
We’re only a quarter of the way into the season, but a fifth Torjagerkanone (Germany’s ‘Golden Boot’ comes in the shape of a cannon) already feels inevitable.
Gerd Muller’s 48-year record for most goals in a single Bundesliga campaign is under threat.
The legendary German goalscorer scored 40 for Bayern in the 1971/72 season.
In previous years it would be fair to partially discredit Lewandowski’s form by suggesting it’s easy to play centre-forward in a team who dominate their league.
However, Bayern are not cruising in their customary fashion.
The defending champions (for the seventh season in a row) currently reside in second, a point behind Borussia Monchengladbach.
Though even that position is more precarious than you might think — Bayer Leverkusen in 8th are just three points behind the Bavarian giants, such is competitive nature of the German top flight right now.
The fact Lewandowski has found another gear at a time when Bayern aren’t having it all their own way only makes his efforts even more impressive.
His rampant scoring hasn’t been contained to domestic football either.
He’s scored five goals in three Champions League fixtures in 2019/20, bagging against Red Star, Olympiakos and Spurs.
This European form recently allowed him to overtake Ruud van Nistelrooy to become the fifth top scorer in Champions League history.
With 58 goals, he’s just two behind 4th-placed Karim Benzema in the all-time list.
His hat-trick against Latvia in a European Championship qualifier earlier this month took him to 60 Poland goals.
He’s currently the fifth highest active scorer in international football.
It sounds foolish to say, given the unwavering consistency with which he has plundered goals in the last decade, but Lewandowski’s current form came as something of a surprise.
40 goals from 47 games in 2018/19 is undeniable but he looked under par and squandered a few chances you’d expect him to bury.
His league tally of 22 was his lowest since 2014/15 and his goals-to-game ratio for Poland was his worst since 2013.
These hints of decline, coupled with Niko Kovac’s unconvincing tactics at times, suggested he might slip into the normal realms of 20-30 goals a season.
Not only is he set to score at least 40 goals in all competitions for the fifth consecutive season, he must be the favourite to win the 2019/20 European Golden Boot.
And that’s not insignificant, considering Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez’s triopoly over the award has lasted 11 years.
At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this could be the season that adds an extra layer to Lewandowski’s legacy.
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