Soccer-Lewandowski equals Mueller's 1971/72 record with 40th goal of season


FILE PHOTO: Bundesliga - Bayern Munich v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - May 8, 2021 Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski scores their third goal Pool via REUTERS/Christof Stache

FREIBURG, Germany (Reuters) -Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski equalled Gerd Mueller's 49-year-old German league goal record when he scored with a 26th-minute penalty in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Freiburg to take his season tally to 40 goals.

The Poland striker, who netted for the 11th straight game in all competitions and could have scored more, is already second on the all-time scorers' list in the Bundesliga, with 276 goals, behind only Mueller's 365. He has one more chance to break Mueller's 1971/72 record, with one game left in the season.

"This is a great honour for me and also for the modern history of the Bundesliga in Germany," the 32-year-old said. "I am very happy to be part of this legendary record."

The forward revealed a shirt under his top with a picture of Mueller and the writing "4ever Gerd" on it, after scoring his goal.

"What Gerd managed to achieve was amazing. I never thought I could come close and share a record with him," Lewandowski said. "I am very, very proud. I still cannot believe what has happened. I will need some time to realise it."

The Bavarians, who have already secured their ninth consecutive league crown, had their first good chance in the 20th minute when Lewandowski's shot from the edge of the box sailed wide.

He did it much better six minutes later, sending keeper Mark Flekken the wrong way to equal the record.

"We brought him to Bayern seven years ago on a free transfer (from Borussia Dortmund)," club CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said. "He became one of the most valuable players in our club history.

"I played with Gerd Mueller and I know he has wished for this day for Robert. Both are strikers who stand out in the history of football," Rummenigge added.

Freiburg levelled three minutes later with Manuel Gulde's header but the Bavarians went back in front with Leroy Sane sliding in to connect with a Thomas Mueller cutback in the 53rd.

Lewandowski missed a chance in front of goal in the 78th minute and also had an 83rd-minute header saved by the keeper after Christian Guenter had drawn the hosts level.

But the result will matter little on the day as Lewandowski was showered with praise, with the German Football League (DFL) hailing it as an "historic" achievement.

"Almost half a century after the unique Gerd Mueller set the record, Robert Lewandowski equalled it today," the DFL said. "Congratulations for this outstanding and historic performance."

Bayern play Augsburg in their final game of the season next week.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Mark Potter, Hugh Lawson and Clare Fallon)

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