Although Hansi Flick’s side eventually won the tie 3-1, that wasn’t before the hosts took the lead, had a goal ruled out by VAR shortly after Bayern’s first and then bombarded Manuel Neuer’s goal for the remaining 20 minutes of the match.
Douglas Costa’s goal in the dying moments of the game certainly drew a line under the proceedings, but it was Robert Lewandowski’s fantastic strike just before the break that allowed Bayern to sit back, consolidate their lead and hit Stuttgart on the break for much of the second half.
Indeed, this isn’t the first time Lewandowski has effectively pulled Bayern out of trouble this season. If 12 goals in his first eight Bundesliga games isn't enough proof of his remarkable form, the Polish striker also scored all four in the 4-3 battle with Hertha Berlin, as well as scoring the second and assisting the third in Bayern’s tight victory over Borussia Dortmund.
Lewandowski is not only an important scorer of goals but is also a scorer of important goals. And as he enters his 33rd year on this earth, it seems as though he’s only getting more clinical in front of goal.
Lewandowski's improving accuracy
Lewandowski's stats per season
Lewandowski’s goals per 90 minutes this season stands at 1.08, which is actually slightly down on last season’s astonishing average of 1.14. However, what’s perhaps even more intriguing is that the corresponding xG for the Polish striker’s 15 goals to date for this season is just 9.4.
What that means is that the Bayern striker should really be sitting on around 10 goals for the season at this moment in time, but is instead scoring goals from tight angles and in situations that most players would usually fail to convert. A perfect example of this was Lewandowski’s goal against Stuttgart. The striker fired a shot from outside the box into the bottom corner, despite the xG value for that goal being just 0.03.
In fact, the combined xG value for Lewandowski's last 10 goals for Bayern is just 2.82. And while that alone isn’t a big enough sample to suggest the striker is making even more of his chances, his overall career stats certainly do.
In the 2017/18 season Lewandowski underperformed in relation to his goalscoring and xG by 91 percent, as his goal tally finished on 44 and his xG stood at 48.23. The following season that number creeped up to 92%, then 120% last season and in this current campaign it stands at an incredible 160%. In other words, for every 10 goals Lewandowski was expected to score in 2017/8 he scored nine. This season that number stands at 16.
Whether Lewandowski’s remarkable conversation rate continues through the season or reverts back to the mean remains to be seen, but as we approach the half-way point in the calendar it’s certainly worth noting just how incredible the Polish striker has been in front of goal.