Bayern Munich were not the biggest club in their own city, let alone the country, when Gerd Muller signed in 1964.

The Bavarians' major trophy haul at that time consisted of a single league championship in 1932 and a maiden DFB-Pokal success 25 years later. Muller joined a second-tier side.

On Tuesday, two days after the club great's passing, Bayern celebrated his life in fitting fashion with a record-extending ninth DFL-Supercup triumph – a competition they have to win silverware simply to enter.

The Bundesliga dominance, cup after cup and six European crowns... all that history can be traced back to Muller's decision to head for Bayern rather than rivals 1860 Munich.

He was there for the first four Bundesliga titles – the top scorer on each occasion – and for three European Cups in three years, Muller's standards slipping as Jupp Heynckes was the leading marksman in the third season.

In 15 years, the remarkable forward tallied 566 Bayern goals, a benchmark that stands to this day. Muller's Bundesliga total of 365 is also unsurpassed.

As those numbers show, breaking a Muller record is no simple task, but Robert Lewandowski finally did so last season when scoring 41 goals in a single Bundesliga campaign, edging beyond the legend's 40 in 1971-72.

"I achieved a goal that once seemed impossible to imagine," Lewandowski wrote on his Twitter page in May. "I'm so unbelievably proud to make history for Bayern, and to play a part in creating the stories that fans will tell their children – following in the footsteps of legends like Gerd Muller."

 

It made sense then for Lewandowski to be front and centre again at Signal Iduna Park as Muller was remembered.

He clutched a number nine shirt ahead of kick-off as a moment's silence broke into applause, the Borussia Dortmund fans recognising a legacy that goes beyond club lines.

It was a lovely tribute, but Muller would have been more familiar with Lewandowski's subsequent nods to his greatest predecessor.

Muller was the ultimate 18-yard box centre-forward, a mantle Lewandowski has taken on and exhibited expertly against his former side.

Manuel Neuer, another of the Bayern players carrying a Muller shirt, kept Dortmund at bay at one end – finishing with four saves – before his club's latest outstanding number nine showed Erling Haaland and BVB's team of young pretenders how it is done at the other.

"Lewandowski has proven over several years now that he is a world-class striker," coach Julian Nagelsmann said before the game. "Erling hasn't been in the league that long, although his scoring rate is great."

That proven Lewandowski class brought a brutal, brilliant opener, his header from Serge Gnabry's left-wing cross thumped into the bottom-left corner. The outcome of a chance that was worth a moderate 0.29 expected goals (xG) was never in doubt.

And Lewandowski was involved again, in the box again, when Bayern appeared to put the game beyond doubt four minutes after half-time, waving a leg towards Alphonso Davies' low cross in an attempt at a flick that ran instead for Thomas Muller's tap-in, the late Bayern superstar's namesake having been the third visiting player to hold up a red shirt in a pre-match show of respect.

Perhaps the linesman was a Gerd Muller fan, too, twice ruling in Bayern's favour when Youssoufa Moukoko and Haaland each ran away to score – the second call considerably closer than the first.

There was no ruling out a blistering Marco Reus strike, which briefly threatened Bayern's control, but Manuel Akanji's dallying let Lewandowski in again and the Dortmund fans know exactly how that tends to go. This time with an xG of 0.25 – merely the fifth-best chance of the match – the 32-year-old made it look routine.

A seventh Supercup strike, Lewandowski extended another record that is all his own – albeit in a competition Muller never graced.

The Poland international is Muller's nearest challenger in Bundesliga terms, with 278 goals, and deserves to be counted in such company, even if he has just added to Bayern's reputation rather than transformed it. Lewandowski has also now scored in 14 successive matches for Bayern, which means he needs to score in just two more consecutive games to match another of Muller's all-time records (16, in 1969-70).

Meanwhile, this was not Haaland's night, but he too could have one eye on the sort of standards Muller set. Still just 21, Haaland has 42 goals in 44 Bundesliga games – or one every 84.8 minutes – and Hasan Salihamidzic has acknowledged Bayern would be "amateurs" not to consider signing the striker.

Given the apparent inevitability of a transfer at the end of this campaign, the BVB sensation would seemingly have to join Germany's powerhouse to stay in the Bundesliga and close on Muller or Lewandowski.

Bayern do not need a replacement up front just yet, though, after their latest legend ensured 2021-22 would continue an almost constant theme since Muller broke all barriers, with silverware heading back to Bavaria.

Hansi Flick said record-breaker Robert Lewandowski's achievements illustrated the quality of his Bayern Munich team-mates, as the coach reflected on an emotional final game in charge.

Lewandowski scored with the last touch of the game in Saturday's 5-2 win over Augsburg in the champions' Bundesliga finale.

It gave the prolific Pole a 41st league goal of the season, meaning he surpassed fellow Bayern legend Gerd Muller for the most goals scored in a single Bundesliga campaign.

Lewandowski had endured a frustrating outing to that point but celebrated with an emotional embrace with Flick.

Speaking after the game, Lewandowski was keen to pay tribute to his fellow Bayern stars, a sentiment shared by Flick.

Speaking to Sky Germany, Flick said: "We win together, that's the focus. With the quality that each and every one of them has, Lewy naturally benefits from it.

"I'm happy for Lewy. I said to Tapa [assistant coach Toni Tapalovic] that it won't be anything today. But that's the class of a goalscorer that he then scores."

Flick stepped up to the head coach role, initially on an interim basis, in November 2019 following the departure of Niko Kovac.

Under his stewardship, Bayern have won seven major trophies including a memorable treble in the 2019-20 campaign.

Flick now appears certain to replace Joachim Low as Germany boss after the rescheduled Euro 2020, but for now he wants to focus on celebrating Bayern's ninth straight top-flight title.

"The team has grown very dear to my heart, that's a benchmark for me. I am very, very proud. It was a very, very great pleasure for me to coach this team," Flick said.

"Two years ago I was on vacation with my brothers, then after the cup final there was a call from Niko Kovac. Then you know how the story went on.

"I don't know yet [on the Germany role]. Today I want to enjoy the championship first. I have been a big Bayern fan since I was a kid.

"It's such a shame that there weren't many fans for me as Bayern coach."

It was not just Flick saying farewell to Bayern against Augsburg. Modern-day legends David Alaba, Jerome Boateng and Javi Martinez all played their last game for the club.

Asked about the emotions of the day, Flick replied: "When Jerome and David come out, that's a special moment."

Robert Lewandowski has broken Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record for goals scored in a single season with his 41st top-flight goal of the campaign in Bayern Munich's win over Augsburg.

Fellow Die Roten legend Muller celebrated 40 goals across the 1971-72 campaign.

But his benchmark has finally been surpassed by the brilliant Lewandowski, who had matched Muller with a penalty last weekend in a 2-2 draw at Freiburg.

Lewandowski's record-breaking moment arrived late on in the 5-2 victory at home to Augsburg, getting the last goal of the game.

 

For a long period of the game, it appeared as though Lewandowski would fall agonisingly short of sitting out in front on his own.

In total he had 10 shots, six of which were on target, in a game that marked the last of Hansi Flick's tenure as Bayern head coach.

But finally, with the last kick of the game, Lewandowski's moment arrived. The prolific Pole reacted fastest when Rafal Gikiewicz could only parry Leroy Sane's effort, and the striker picked up the ball, rounded the keeper and slotted into an unguarded goal.

Lewandowski removed his shirt in joy then shared an emotional embrace with Flick to celebrate a momentous goal.

Robert Lewandowski has broken Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record for goals scored in a single season with his 41st top-flight goal of the campaign in Bayern Munich's win over Augsburg.

Fellow Die Roten legend Muller celebrated 40 goals across the 1971-72 campaign.

But his benchmark has finally been surpassed by the brilliant Lewandowski, who had matched Muller with a penalty last weekend in a 2-2 draw at Freiburg.

Lewandowski's record-breaking moment arrived late on in the 5-2 victory at home to Augsburg, getting the last goal of the game.

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski matched Gerd Muller's long-standing record of 40 goals in a Bundesliga season on Saturday.

Muller, another Bayern legend, netted 40 times across the 1971-72 campaign.

However, his record now looks set to tumble after Lewandowski equalled his haul with a game to play, converting a penalty to open the scoring in a 2-2 draw at Freiburg.

The Poland international revealed a t-shirt reading "4EVER GERD" with a picture of Muller on it, while his celebrations included receiving a guard of honour from Bayern players and staff by the visiting dugout as he hailed the historic goal, which arrived in the 26th minute.

Lewandowski might have then moved ahead of Muller on Saturday, too, but passed up a pair of late opportunities, first denied by Freiburg's Mark Flekken and then somehow scuffing a second effort straight at the goalkeeper from close to the goal line.

His final opportunity to set a new outright benchmark will come as Bayern conclude their season in Munich against Augsburg next Saturday.

Lewandowski's 40 goals this season have come across 28 games. Five of them have been with his head, with 31 on his right foot and four from his left.

A penalty box specialist, Lewandowski has netted 37 times from inside the area, while eight of his strikes have come from the penalty spot.

Having netted 40 times from 126 shots, the former Borussia Dortmund man has an outstanding shot conversion rate of 31.75 per cent.

With seven assists, Lewandowski leads all players in Europe's 'top five' leagues in 2020-21 with 47 goal involvements, clear of Lionel Messi's 38 for Barcelona in second place.

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski said it would be amazing to break Gerd Muller's Bundesliga record after taking another giant step towards history.

Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 demolition of Borussia Monchengladbach as Bayern celebrated a ninth successive Bundesliga title on Saturday.

Poland international Lewandowski took his league tally to 39 for the season, moving him to within one of Muller's all-time Bundesliga single-season record of 40 set in 1971-72.

"I have the chance to break this record," Lewandowski, who claimed his 249th Bundesliga victory – surpassing Claudio Pizarro as the foreign player with the most wins in the league, said. "It won't be easy, for sure. Ok, we have two games but if I want to break it, I have to score two goals.

"I have to work hard in the next game because I know it won't be easy. But to break the record would be something amazing for me as well because if you have 34 games – even less in my situation this season – it will be something.

"I have to believe it can happen. I have the chance. I have to be ready for this."

Bayern were crowned Bundesliga champions before kicking a ball thanks to Borussia Dortmund's dramatic win over RB Leipzig.

Hansi Flick's Bayern proceeded to put on a worthy celebration against Gladbach, humbling the visitors at Allianz Arena to maintain their stranglehold on the Bundesliga – equalling the record in Europe's top-five divisions (Juventus) with their ninth straight league crown.

Bayern won their 30th Bundesliga title (31-time German champions overall). Indeed, 52 per cent of the 58 trophies since the Bundesliga was founded in 1963 have gone to the Bavarian powerhouse.

For Bayern, it is their 16th title this millennium. Dortmund, Gladbach (five each) and Werder Bremen (four) have a combined total of 14 championships since the league was founded. 

"We knew one hour before the game for sure that we were already champions," added Lewandowski, who has now scored 201 Bundesliga goals for Bayern – after Muller (365 for Bayern), he is only the second player in league history to net 200-plus goals for a single team.

"But for us, it was more important to show on the pitch why we are champions and to show the best football. What we did during the game was spectacular, it was amazing because we scored so many goals. We showed that we are the best this season."

Thomas Muller joked Robert Lewandowski is "not normal" after the Bayern Munich star scored a hat-trick to close in on a Bundesliga record.

Bayern were crowned Bundesliga champions on Saturday before kicking a ball thanks to Borussia Dortmund's dramatic win over RB Leipzig.

Hansi Flick's side proceeded to put on a worthy celebration against Borussia Monchengladbach, hammering them 6-0 at Allianz Arena to mark their ninth straight title in sensational style.

Lewandowski was integral, scoring a hat-trick to take his tally of league goals to the campaign for 39, moving him to within one of Gerd Muller's all-time Bundesliga single-season record of 40 set in 1971-72.

With two games remaining – against Freiburg and Augsburg respectively – it seems almost certain that Lewandowski will etch his name into the record books, and current team-mate Muller remains in awe at his prowess.

"We do have to say, that we as a team try our hardest for him. But how he is able to score those goals is not normal as well," he joked.

Muller has now won 10 Bundesliga titles, though conceded it has not always been a smooth ride this season. Indeed, his fellow long-time team-mates Jerome Boateng, Javi Martinez and David Alaba, along with head coach Flick, are all leaving at the end of the campaign.

"I do have to say that the game was more championship-like than the actual championship," Muller said.

"It was a great game today. We were there from the first until the last minute. Thanks to all the emotions and the euphoria, we knew that we had won the championship before the actual match.

"If you look at the big picture, then it was very hard for us over the past two weeks to be honest. Through all the talks I had with the others, the elimination in the Champions League really hurt us.

"We felt like we could do something in the Champions League this season. But we were able to overcome that in the recent two weeks. We were able to properly take a deep breath.

"There is not a lot of romance in this business, but we tried to have as much romance at the end of the season today as we could.

"Jerome will leave, David will leave, Javi will leave and the coach will leave. I know that Hansi hasn't been here for so long, but the other three were my team-mates for nearly ten years now, so they were always there when we won the championship for nine times in a row."

When it comes to Lewandowski, however, Muller added: "Well that is not about romance. I don't know how many hat-tricks and braces this guy had. It is more like mathematics!"

It proved to be a bittersweet moment for Flick, who is entering the final two games of a short but hugely successful tenure in which Bayern have won seven trophies.

"It's outstanding what the team has achieved," he said. "You could see that we were ready. That's the mentality of this team. The game today was worthy of champions.

"The whole club creates this atmosphere that you can be successful. Bayern has always been my club, I was a big fan when I was young, Gerd Muller was my big idol, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

"I have now experienced two fantastic years here. To experience this togetherness on a daily basis is outstanding. These two years have been very valuable for me."

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