You didn’t read that headline wrong. Both Robert Lewandowski and Gerd Müller are legendary goal scorers for Bayern Munich, but in a recent interview with Münchner Merkur (via AZ), Uli Hoeness said that he feels Lewandowski doesn’t quite score goals in the same ways that Müller did during his playing days.
Of course, the game has changed significantly since Müller hung up his boots for good, so the general composition of a striker in today’s, modern game is different than what it was decades ago. Still, Hoeness feels that there was a different type of grit to Müller’s instinct in front of goal than Lewandowski’s, not to discredit the Polish talisman in any way. As Hoeness attested to, Lewandowski could be the one to break Müller’s single Bundesliga season scoring record of 40 goals, but just not in the same way: “Robert Lewandowski is definitely a great striker, and it could even be that he breaks Gerd’s Bundesliga record of 40 goals this season. But he doesn’t score goals like Gerd with his shin, chest or with his knee.”
Perhaps a testament to Lewandowski’s finely tuned finishing abilities, Hoeness went on to say that Müller’s style often times consisted of scoring goals that barely crossed the goal line, no matter what part of his body it came off of or how scrappy of a goal it was: “Gerd didn’t care how he got the ball in. He just had to somehow get it across the line. Robert shoots the thing into the net, with Gerd the ball often stayed just inches over the goal line.”
Hoeness also recalled the first time he met Müller during his playing days along with Sepp Maier and Franz Beckenbauer. He humorously recounted Müller’s welcoming attitude when Hoeness didn’t know how formally he should be addressing the trio of German legends: “When Gerd Müller, Franz Beckenbauer and Sepp Maier showed up, I was very excited and thought to myself: ‘Here come the big stars that you saw on TV at the World Cup before,’” he said. “And I asked myself: ‘Do you say Mr. Müller now? Mr. Beckenbauer? Mr. Maier?’ But Gerd immediately said: ‘Are you crazy, stop it, I’m Gerd.’”