In the shoot-out to be Bundesliga top scorer, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could combine for a remarkable best-mark.
Only once in the history of the Bundesliga, in 1973/74, have two forwards each struck 30 goals in a single campaign. With Lewandowski, currently on 28 goals, and Aubameyang, on 27, the record held by Gerd Mueller (with Bayern) and Jupp Heynckes (with Borussia Moenchengladbach) is under threat.
Lewandowski scored twice as Bayern sealed a fifth successive championship in Wolfsburg on Sunday and with remaining games against Darmstadt and Freiburg at home, either side of a trip to RB Leipzig, will be confident of increasing his tally.
Aubameyang arguably faces a trickier challenge as fourth-placed Dortmund host Hoffenheim in a key clash in the race for third before ending with a journey to Augsburg and Werder Bremen at home.
“Both are playing at a very high level but are very different types of striker,” Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel said. Lewandowski and Aubameyang have “different characteristics,” according to Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“I am happy to have Lewandowski and I think Tuchel is happy to have Aubameyang.”
Tuchel is definitely not always happy with some of the extrovert Gambian’s escapades. His provocative mask celebration for a goal against Schalke in the Ruhr derby earned a fine and his party trip to Milan did little to endear him to club officials either.
But goalscorers get away with a lot.
“Without Auba we cannot reach our goals for the season,” Tuchel said. “He scores unbelievably consistently for us for a second season.”
A fraction stronger, on paper one goal after 31 games, is Lewandowski even though he was hampered by a shoulder injury at a crucial part of the season. Bayern’s exits in the German Cup, to Dortmund, and Champions League, to Real Madrid, were not aided by his labours with a shoulders injury.
Now the Pole, with the Bundesliga in the bag, can concentrate fully on the top scorers’ crown he won with Dortmund in 2014 and Bayern in 2016.
Aubameyang has never topped the scoring charts while Cologne’s Anthony Modeste is also not completely out the running on 23 – and arguably his achievement with more modest team-mates more than matches that of the leading pair.
In Wolfsburg Lewandowski struck at least a double for the 10th game in a season, exactly as often as Mueller managed in 1968/69. Only in 1971/72 did Bomber Mueller do this more often, with 12.
On that occasion Mueller ended with a legendary 40 goals, a record which remains – one which even Lewandowski and Aubameyang cannot yet threaten.