Robert Lewandowski Scores First-Half Hat Trick With Bayern Down to 10 Men

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Robert Lewandowski's blistering pace to the Bundesliga goalscoring record went into hyperdrive on Saturday with a first-half hat trick against Stuttgart, setting him just five back of Gerd Müller's 40-goal single-season record with eight games left to play. 

The Bayern Munich star started his scoring spree in the 17th minute, stabbing at a low Serge Gnabry cross after slipping past his defender at point-blank range. Just one minute after a beautiful team goal finished by Gnabry in the 22nd minute, Lewandowski added his second when he was left to roam inside the penalty area for an unmarked header.

In the 39th minute, Lewandowski was gifted the hat trick after a Stuttgart defender failed to control a pass as the Polish international pounced on the loose ball inside the area. Even more impressive is the fact that Lewandowski's hat trick came with Bayern down to 10 men—in the 12th minute, full-back Alphonso Davies was sent off with a straight red for a dangerous, high tackle on Wataru Endo. 

The haul gives Lewandowski, the reigning Best FIFA Men's Player, 35 goals in 25 league matches while eclipsing 40 goals in all competitions for the sixth season running. The 32-year-old has now scored hat tricks in consecutive league games at home after his triple against Borussia Dortmund earlier this month. 

Lewandowski's form is a promising sign for the defending UEFA Champions League winners given their quarterfinal draw with Paris Saint-Germain in a replay of last year's Champions League final

With Bayern leading 4–0, Lewandowski was subbed off in the 70th minute. A win would maintain the German champions's four-point lead over RB Leipzig with the two sides set to face each other April 3, in the first game after the upcoming international break.