'Next level' Lewandowski shows 'hunger' with 15th Bundesliga hat-trick

Berlin (AFP) –


Robert Lewandowski has just turned 33, but Bayern Munich's prolific goal-machine shows no sign of slowing after his latest Bundesliga hat-trick.

Lewandowski has now scored three or more goals in 15 German league matches after hitting another hat-trick in Saturday's 5-0 thumping of Hertha Berlin.

Last May, the Poland star striker broke the late Gerd Mueller's 49-year-old record by scoring 41 goals in a Bundesliga season.

This season, Lewandowski has picked up where he left off with five goals in three league games.

On Saturday, he passed the milestone of 300 goals for Bayern, yet his appetite for scoring shows no sign of slowing.

"He has achieved so much in recent years and still has such a hunger," said Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann.

"What makes him special is the variety of his finishing.

"When you see his power in the air - he's desperate to score goals."

After Thomas Mueller gave Bayern the lead at the Allianz Arena, Lewandowski scored with two headers and a tap-in when Leroy Sane shredded the Berlin defence.

Lewandowski could have finished with four goals as he deliberately let the ball roll to Mueller, who was unmarked in space to put Bayern ahead with six minutes gone.

After the final whistle, Mueller was quick to praise Lewandowski's unselfish gesture.

- 'Next level' -

"He now lets balls through in the penalty area for someone in a better position, and on paper, you don't get anything for that," said Mueller.

Thomas Mueller (R) says his Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski (L) is at 'another level'
Thomas Mueller (R) says his Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski (L) is at 'another level' CHRISTOF STACHE AFP

"I praised him at half-time and we agreed that he is at the next level.

"He realises that if he plays a little more unselfishly, he still gets passes from us and scores his goals."

With the end of his career approaching, Lewandowski has few milestones left to reach.

He won the Champions League with Bayern in 2019/20, was voted FIFA's best male player of 2020, then finally topped Gerd Mueller's single-season goal record in the Bundesliga.

On Saturday, he brushed off a question about extending the league record.

"I don't think about records, I'm just focused on my task every game," said Lewandowski.

"Whether I set a record or something else is not important for me.

"The important thing is that the team plays well and then I benefit from that."

His goals often lead to silverware.

Since joining Bayern in 2014, Lewandowski has won the seven Bundesliga titles to add to the two he won with ex-club Dortmund.

This year, his goals could deliver a tenth consecutive Bundesliga title for Bayern.

He is known for a strict fitness regime, attention to nutrition and a desire to improve.

He has two years left on his contract and is Bayern's top earner with a salary of around 20 million euros ($23.5 million).

Lewandowski has long been a target for Europe's other top clubs.

There are reports Lewandowski's agent Pini Zahavi has enquired whether Paris Saint-Germain want to sign the striker.

But his Bayern team-mates know what they have in Lewandowski.

"He scored three goals today as a matter of course, there are many good players in the Bundesliga who take years to score a hat-trick," insisted Mueller.