Bundesliga and Germany legend, Lothar Matthäus has no doubt whatsoever that Robert Lewandowski will break Gerd Müller’s long-standing goal record this season but he believes RB Leipzig are “genuine contenders” for the league title alongside Bayern Munich.
bundesliga.com sat down with the World Player of the Year from 1990 for his thoughts on Lewandowski and the decisive phase of the 2020/21 campaign.
bundesliga.com: Lothar Matthäus, Lewandowski is scoring non-stop at the moment. Do you think he can beat Gerd Mu¨ller’s record for goals in a season?
Matthäus: I would bet a lot of money on him breaking that record, not only because of Lewandowski’s quality but also the style in which Bayern play.
When you play for Bayern and the team are averaging four goals per game in the Champions League and in the Bundesliga, you’re automatically among the goals as a striker.
Even if they scored three per game the striker will score one of them, so he’ll always get his chances. Lewandowski had nine shots against Borussia Dortmund and scored three of them.
It’s crazy what he is producing and it’s not like he is shooting from 30 metres just to have an attempt on goal: when Lewandowski has a shot, it’s really dangerous for the opponent.
He also takes the penalties, so I would say that Lewandowski will score at least 41 goals this season and break Mu¨ller’s record.
bundesliga.com: RB Leipzig are in the mix for the title race. How can they keep the pace with Bayern?
Matthäus: The players have grown in stature. We always speak about Bayern having Lewandowski and Neuer but Leipzig have brought in players from abroad.
There are very few German players in the starting line-up but they are all impactful players such as Willi Orban or Dominik Szoboszlai from Hungary, Marcel Sabitzer from Austria, Emil Forsberg from Sweden, Yussuf Poulsen from Denmark and the group of French players there. That is top quality there.
They have an ambitious coach, they have different systems they can play in both in defence and attack, that are fully rehearsed and work plus they have a strong bench which is deeper than Bayern’s.
Leipzig are brilliantly set up for this season and the title race also for their other challenges such as the cup.
Leipzig deserve to be where they are in the league, second place right behind Bayern, they are a genuine contender and Bayern know that.
bundesliga.com: What suggests that the title race will remain tight until the end?
Matthäus: I forgot to mention before, Leipzig also have the results from last season. They were in the DFB Cup final [in 2019] and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
That is psychologically important for the players to experience that kind of success. They didn’t win a title but reaching those levels for such a young club will have given the players a certain self-confidence.
They will say: ‘We were so close to Bayern, we lost the Champions League semi to Paris, not Bayern but they won that title and the German Cup and we were so close to them.’
I believe Leipzig have that top quality and these results will have made every single player stronger.