Flick vows Bayern must give Lewandowski every chance to challenge 'role model' Muller

By Sports Desk January 22, 2021

Robert Lewandowski has his work cut out to match Gerd Muller's Bundesliga goals record but Bayern Munich will do all they can to make it happen, Hansi Flick has said.

Muller hit 40 goals for Bayern in the 1971-72 season, a mark that is firmly in the sights of Lewandowski after he began the campaign with 22 goals in Bayern's first 17 games.

Speaking ahead of Bayern's trip to face Schalke on Sunday, in a clash of the top and bottom teams in the German top flight, Flick spoke of how he used to idolise the legendary Muller.

As leaders Bayern pursue a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title, the prospect of Lewandowski challenging Muller is drawing plenty of attention, and Flick indicated the team would love it to happen.

"Gerd Muller was my role model," said Flick. "Unfortunately, I've never scored as many goals as he did, I wasn't as lethal, maybe at the beginning in the youth teams.

"He was a striker who was always ready to accept balls outside the box and you could combine together with him. He was wonderful in front of goal.

"For Robert to have scored more goals than him in the first half of the season shows his quality and that the team keep supporting him to end up in situations where he can score goals.

"I think about the 1-0 against Freiburg, which was a genius attacking move via Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller, who immediately passed the ball to him. Their alignment was perfect.

"We all know, and Robert knows this too, that a lot of things need to be in place to continue like this. We're working on it.

"We have to support Robert and he is important to the team. He has certain tasks within the team and if he does them well, it is easier for the team to assist him at goalscoring.

"I would wish he could manage 40 but Gerd Muller is really something special."

Muller is suffering with Alzheimer's disease and is said to be living in a nursing home.

"We all know how Gerd Muller is doing, that also makes you sad," Flick said.

Bayern will face a Schalke team who are showing flickers of life at the foot of the table, and who brought Klaas Jan Huntelaar back to the club this week from Ajax.

Huntelaar, at the age of 37 and ready to retire at the end of the season, has rejoined Schalke because he could not bear being unable to help them in the battle to avoid relegation.

He previously had a seven-year spell with the club and, much like Lewandowski, has a proven nose for goal.

The veteran Dutch striker could have a role to play this weekend, with Schalke coach Christian Gross saying on Friday: "I think that Klaas Jan will be part of the squad against Bayern. He's a good option for the bench."

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