Polish striker hits the fastest hat-trick, four- and five-goal haul in German football history
Only a handful of players around Europe have managed to score five or more in a game
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has entered the record books with the quickest hat-trick in Bundesliga history. Then he set the record for the fastest four goals. Then five.
Giving new meaning to the term “super sub”, the striker, who came on as a second-half replacement Tuesday for Juan Bernat, enjoyed a stunning nine-minute period, scoring a dazzling array of goals, from a first, easy tap-in, a sublime long-range second and a fraught, rebound-happy third to end with two stunning finishes as his confidence burgeoned.
The Polish international more than doubled his goals tally for the season, from four to nine during the period from the 51st to 60th minutes. Hapless VfL Wolfsburg, which had enjoyed a rare advantage against Bayern at the Allianz Arena, was floored by “Lewy’s” rapid onslaught and, despite being a goal up when the 27-year-old was introduced, ended up 5-1 losers.
“That was madness!” Lewandowski said after the match. “Five goals – unbelievable! I’m very, very pleased. It’s a massive evening for me.”
He was presented with the match ball, signed by his teammates, after the game.
His coach, Pep Guardiola, said that he was “delighted” for the player, and his expression as the fifth went in said it all. Teammate Jerome Boateng also lavished praise on the striker, saying that Lewandowski was “one of the best forwards in the world. I’m just glad he’s on my team.”
As the BBC wryly noted, the Pole scored more goals in nine minutes than Liverpool have all season, also observing that his tally during the nine-minute blitz outdoes Wayne Rooney’s for the entirety of 2015.
How does Lewandowki’s achievement stack up against European footballing history?
Jimmy McGrory, who scored 550 goals from just 547 competitive appearances – a feat which only six players have bettered – knocked in eight for Celtic against Dunfermline in a 9-0 win back in 1928. It was also in that season that he set an as-yet unbeaten record with 63 goals in a single season.
Two players, Athletic Bilbao’s Agustin Sauto Arana and Barcelona’s Laszlo Kubala, have each scored seven in Spain’s top division. Arana, known universally as “Bata,” scored his seven against Barca in a 12-1 win back in 1931 – and famously said his ability was down to being able to “know where to place the ball where the goalkeeper wasn’t.”
Kubala exacted some form of redemption for the Catalans in 1952 by scoring seven in a 9-0 win against Sporting Gijon.
Currently, of course, rivals Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are lighting up La Liga; earlier this month Real Madrid’s Ronaldo surpassed previous club record goalscorer Raul with a five-goal haul against Espanyol. Messi, of fierce rivals Barcelona, has scored four goals in a single game three times.
Former gas inspector Ted Drake knocked in seven for Arsenal in a 7-1 win over Aston Villa in 1935, setting the English top flight record.
Four other English league players – including another three Englishmen – have scored five. Andy Cole (for Manchester United against Ipswich), Alan Shearer (Newcastle United vs. Sheffield Wednesday), Jermain Defoe (Spurs vs. Wigan Athletic) and Dimitar Berbatov (Manchester United vs. Blackburn Rovers) have all netted five times in a single league game.
Dieter Muller scored six for FC Koln against Werder Bremen in a 7-2 win in 1977, a record that still stands. He said that he “had a fire in his belly that day,” and that he could have scored even more.
Clearly, when footballers in Germany get started there is little stopping them, as there are thirteen other players with five, including Gerd Muller, who has knocked five in an astounding four times. Lewandowski, in addition to being the fastest to five goals, is also the only substitute in Bundesliga history to score that many.
And feats of individual brilliance aren’t just limited to domestic games, and indeed sometimes European mismatches can lead to players filling their boots. Mascarenhas of Sporting Clube de Portugal (also known as Sporting Lisbon) scored six in a 16-1 win over Apoel FC in a UEFA Cup Winners Cup first round match on November 13, 1963 – a record for an individual in European competition.