Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski continues to enjoy a purple patch the envy of strikers around the world. He scored yet another hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in midweek, making it 10 goals in his last three games.
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Lewandowkski’s most remarkable achievement was coming off the bench at half-time against Wolfsburg on the 22 September to score five goals in nine minutes during a 5-1 Bundesliga comeback win.
He netted his first in the 51st minute and completed the astonishing goal feat on the hour mark. What were the chances of that happening?
Those clever guys from the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective in the USA were so impressed that they decided to do a statistical analysis on the probability of such a goal glut happening again.
Andrew Puopolo is the chap who decided to dig deeper into Lewandowski’s achievement.
“Clearly, this feat has never been achieved before on such a high level and I wondered, what is the probability of this occurring? What is the probability that Lewandowski could score 5 goals in 10 minutes?”
Andrew started his task by calculating the striker’s minutes per goal ratio in Bundesliga matches since the striker broke onto the scene in 2011/12, scoring 22 goals for Borussia Dortmund.
“His minutes per goals ratio can be interpreted as the probability that he scores in any given minute of the game. Since 2011/12 before Tuesday (22nd September 2015) Lewandowski had scored 86 goals in 11,140 minutes of Bundesliga action.”
Andrew came to a very interesting yet quirky conclusion.
“Basically, if Lewandowski scored 5 goals on the day Jesus was born, this would not be expected to happen again until Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence.”
In essence a player of Lewandowski’s calibre would be expected to accomplish such a feat once every 55,147 years.
The Polish striker was in the goals again last weekend as his memorable run continued. He netted two against FSV Mainz to reach 100 Bundesliga goals quicker than any other foreign player.
Meanwhile back in England, Lewandowski’s goal burst reminded me of the achievements of Oldham Athletic’s Frankie Bunn some years ago.
The striker famously netted six times in one game as Athletic blew away Scarborough 7-0 on the road to Wembley in 1990.
Bunn told the Oldham Evening Chronicle in 2010 that the entire 1989-90 season, in which the club reached the Littlewoods Cup final and replayed an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United was a “unique” experience.
“It was a great achievement personally to score six times in one game but it was also great to be a part of that team ethos.”
“There have been a few players come close over the years with five goals, but it was just one of those nights when everything I touched seemed to go in.”
Bunn still holds the League Cup record for the most goals scored by a single player in a match.
Bunn is currently on the coaching staff at Huddersfield Town, where his son Harry is quickly building a reputation for himself.
As far as the League is concerned, Arsenal’s Ted Drake still holds the record for the number of goals in a top flight game in England netting seven against Aston Villa in 1935.
One player went three better than the legendary Ted Drake in the lower leagues – Joe Payne bagged 10 goals in a match for Luton Town against Bristol Rovers on 13 April 1936 in a Division 3 South match. This goal feast understandably remains the record for the Football League.
To round things off, the record in the FA Cup ‘proper’ is held by Ted MacDougall, who scored 9 goals in the FA Cup for Bournemouth against Margate in 1971, as the Cherries won 11-0.
MacDougall later told BBC Radio Solent that he was “disappointed as I thought I should have got 11″.
The one question remaining is will any of these records ever be beaten. Statistically the chances may be slim, to say the least. There again, Lewandowski has already shown he is a man to defy the odds.