In Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, three of last season’s four top scorers will be in action when FC Bayern München welcome Bayer 04 Leverkusen to the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening (kick-off 18:30 CET/17:30 GMT).
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Lewandowski took the Torjägerkanone as last term’s top scorer with 30 goals from his 32 league games – three of which were substitute appearances. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was five behind, with Lewy’s teammate Müller collecting an incredible 20 goals from his withdrawn position on the right. Chicharito, meanwhile, tallied 17, helping Leverkusen finish third in his most prolific European season to date.
Lewandowski and Chicharito have both been among the goals in 2016/17, but it’s Aubameyang leading the way this season on 12 goals, alongside the rather more surprising figure of 1. FC Köln’s Anthony Modeste. Recent history says it’s only a matter of time before the trio above join them at the top…
Lewandowski has a respectable seven goals to his name, but five of those were sealed before the close of business on Matchday 3. Before his brace against FC Augsburg last month he had endured a five-game barren spell – a relative lifetime for the normally prolific Poland captain.
“I’m pleased I managed to score again,” said a relieved Lewandowski after the 3-1 win in Swabian Bavaria on Matchday 9. “I was feeling very good today and was ready to give it everything to get the three points. I knew that I would go through a phase of not scoring for two or three games. Last season was really long, especially with the European Championships at the end.”
Now back to full fitness, the 28-year-old is ready to plunder more against Leverkusen. Lewandowski has scored against Die Werkself twice before, but not yet for Bayern. High time, perhaps, for him to end a different kind of drought.
Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez
Chicharito is on five goals, yet three of those came in the come-from-behind 3-2 victory over 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Matchday 5. The Mexican scored against Borussia Dortmund to put a 2-0 victory beyond doubt the following week, but the fact that he hasn’t scored since means that his season so far has been characterised by headline-grabbing goals, rather than the unerring consistency of the last campaign.
One goal away from equalling Jared Borgetti’s record of 46 goals for his country, Chicharito is not one to panic about dry spells: “It would be really lovely for me to be able to do it, whenever it might be. I’m not worried about how quickly the record arrives.”
Chicharito has also never scored against Bayern, but he has found the target against exactly half of the current Bundesliga teams. With the Mexico goal record in sight and a habit of turning heads, don’t bet against the former Manchester United FC and Real Madrid CF man adding another scalp on Saturday.
Unlike Lewandowski and Chicharito, Müller is yet to get off the mark in the league this term. He laid on three goals in the 6-0 destruction of SV Werder Bremen on the opening day, but has yet to go from maker to taker. FCB captain Philipp Lahm – who alternates between right-back and defensive midfielder – was one of the beneficiaries of Müller’s generosity against Bremen, but he hasn’t let it go unnoticed that he still has more goals to his name.
“I have scored a goal more than him after 10 games. I have obviously teased him about it a few times, but with the quality Thomas has, it is only a matter of time before he starts scoring goals again.”
It would be hard to disagree with the veteran 33-year-old. Unlike Lewandowski and Chicharito, Müller has scored for his club against Saturday’s opponents – three times in fact. The German international bagged a brace when Bayern beat Leverkusen 3-0 in August 2015. What better team to end his drought against?