Munich (DPA) – Neither Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nor Robert Lewandowski were born when Dieter Mueller was the last Bundesliga player to score 30 or more goals in a season almost four decades ago.
But now Borussia Dortmund’s Aubameyang has 18 and Bayern Munich’s Lewandowski 16 goals at the halfway mark of the season as the two appear ready to challenge Mueller’s achievement from 1976-77 which saw the Cologne striker tallied 34 goals.
The top Bundesliga mark however is unlikely to come under threat oncethe league restars on late January, the 40 goals Munich’s Gerd Mueller netted in 1971-72.
But Aubemeyang’s 18 are already more than the 17 goals which were good enough for the top scorers’ crown in several Bundesliga seasons.
Aubameyang and Lewandowski were team-mates in Dortmund in the 2013-14 campaign when Lewandowski topped the scorers’ charts with 20 goals before moving on to Munich.
But their scorefest took another year to materialise and each has now achieved superlative performances.
Aubameyang became the first player to score in the first eight games of a season; but that was dwarfed by Lewandowski’s astonishing five-goal feat within 8 minutes 59 seconds in Munich’s 5-1 win over Wolfsburg which earned him four Guinness World Record certificates.
“I will remember this historic day for the rest of my life,” he said of the memorable September 22 game he entered as a second-half sub.
“I don’t know whether a player can ever achieve this again. Everything has to come together: luck, top form and the game. Someone up there wanted me to score five goals.”
Lewandowski, 27, scored twice in each of the following two games and overall found the net in nine of the 16 top flight games he featured in for 1,313 minutes. The Pole has 24 goals in all club competitions and also became Euro 2016 qualifying top scorer with 13 goals in 10 games.
Aubameyang, 26, meanwhile has been more consistent, starting in all 17 games for 1,418 minutes and scoring in 13 of them, highlighted by a hat-trick in a 5-1 against Augsburg and two braces. The Gabon forward has 27 goals in all competitions.
“It is a good duel between Lewy and myself. That’s great. We will try to continue like this,” Aubameyang said in November.
Now both are recharging their batteries for the second half of the season which will determine whether they just come close to 30 goals like Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (29 in 2011-12), Stuttgart’s Mario Gomez (28 in 2010-11) and Wolfsburg’s Grafite (28 in 2008-09), or do better.
“The key is not only to perform well for half a year. I want to confirm this spectacular half-season in the new year,” Aubameyang vowed.
But Aubameyang and Lewandowski must also be on their guard.
Munich’s Thomas Mueller has already bettered his season-best record of 13 goals with 14 this time around, and will be hungry for more.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Maxican Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez is also in double digits with 11.
Hernandez has been the hottest man lately with 10 goals in the last eight games in which Aubameyang had eight and Lewandowski three – after just one goal in his first six games for Leverkusen since joining in the fourth round from Manchester United.