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Robert Lewandowski: The striker every team wants

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
614   //    25 Dec 2018, 23:56 IST

Ajax v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Group E
Ajax v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Group E

Robert Lewandowski has been one of the exciting strikers in the past few years. He was born on 21st of August, 1988 in the capital of Poland, Warsaw. He plays as a No.9 for both Bayern Munich and National Team of Poland of which he is also the captain. He’s regarded as one of the deadliest strikers in world football who can score with his head and both feet efficiently.

Sports is in his DNA

It is safe to say that sportsmanship is in his DNA. His father Krzystof was a Polish judo champion and also a footballer. His mother, Iwona played volleyball for AZS Warszawa and his sister Milena too plays professional volleyball. His wife, Anna Lewandowski, on the other hand, won the bronze at the 2009 Karate World Cup.

Not just your traditional striker

Robert Lewandowski is the one whom people regard as the complete striker in the modern game. Standing at 6ft 1 inch, he can finish with his head and both feet which make him a prolific goal scorer. He has all the necessary qualities for a traditional number nine: height, balance, strength, pace, intelligent movement and proficiency with both feet. Not only does he help the team by scoring goals directly, but he also helps his team-mates in building the play with his excellent technical skills, vision, and physique holding the ball with his back to the goal and bringing his teammates into play or win fouls in useful positions. He is also known for his work-rate and defensive contribution off the ball.

From good to great: a look at his career

Lewandowski started his career at MKS Varsovia Warsaw and played for seven years there in his teen years. After that, he moved to Delta Warsaw for the club Znicz Pruszków where he played in their first team notching four goals. He’s been Polish Third Division’s and Second Division’s top goal scorer in 2006/07 and 07/08 season respectively with 15 and 21 goals in the respective seasons. 

Lech Poznań

After two brilliant seasons at Znicz Pruszków, he was bought by Lech Poznań in June 2008 for 1.5 million zlotys(about 440,000 USD) although he was rejected by Sporting Gijón the earlier month.

The debut season went brilliantly as he was second in the goal-scoring tally at the top division of Poland with 18 goals in 42 matches. The next season went even better as he notched 18 past the net helping his team win the 2009/10 championship.                                                                                                      

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Borussia Dortmund

It was in Borussia Dortmund where he came into limelight with his scintillating performances. He signed a four-year contract with the German club for a reported amount of around 4.5 million Euros.

On 19th of September, 2010 he scored his first in the Bundesliga in the Revierderby against Schalke 04 which ended in 3-1 to Dortmund’s favor. In 2010/11 he was mostly used as a substitute only.

The next season, he was benefitted by an injury of Lucas Barrios making him an ever-present figure in the starting XI until the winter break. His stellar performances led him in winning the Best Player of Poland in 2011 finishing the year with 22 goals and 6 assists, none from penalties.

That season, Dortmund won the domestic double with Lewandowski scoring a brilliant hat-trick in the DFB-Pokal Final giving them a 5-2 win over the German giants, Bayern München making him the top scorer in the competition with 7 goals in mere 6 games.

He became the first player to score 4 goals in a Champions League semi-final defeating the then Spanish Champions Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg eventually losing in the finals 2-1 against their fierce rivals Bayern Munich. He ended the season with 24 goals in the league alone with a total of 36 goals in 49 games in all competitions.

He played the final game for Dortmund in the 2013/14 season against Bayern Munich on 17 May 2014 with 28 goals under his belt in 48 matches that season.

Bayern Munich

After giving his all for Dortmund, he was ready for his move to the capital of Germany, Munich. He was presented as a Bayern player on 9th of July, 2014 and made a competitive debut for his new club with a 2-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup on 13 August, 2014.

His first goal in Bundesliga in new colors came against Schalke in a 1-1- draw in his second league match. He also scored the winner against Dortmund in a 2-1 win against his former club. He was the joint-second top scorer in the league that season with 17 goals in 31 games finishing the season with 25 goals in 49 appearances in all competitions.

Lewandowski is known all over the world for his tally of five goals in 9 minutes against Wolfsburg after coming on as a substitute making him the fastest player to score five goals, the fastest one to get a hat-trick and highest scorer as a substitute in Bundesliga. Wolfsburg were on a 14 match unbeaten streak which makes the achievement more remarkable.

He scored his 100th goal in Bundesliga in 168 appearances, a league record for a foreign player. He got to his personal best of 30 league goals in 2015/16 season winning the league title eventually finishing the season with whooping 42 goals in 51 matches in all competitions.

On 13th of December, 2017, he signed a new contract with the Bavarians which could keep him at the club till 2021. The same season, he reached the 100 goals mark for Bayern in mere 137 appearances. With another league title in 2016/17 season, he achieved his previous feat of 42 goals in just 47 matches. and in 2017/18 season, he added another 41 to his tally in just 48 appearances.

This season is going strong as ever for the Polish striker, already netting 22 in 24 league games.

Altogether, he’s scored 173 goals for the Bavarian Giants in 219 appearances and has a total of 6 trophies to show for it with 3 consecutive Bundesliga titles.

 A Polish Legend already?

Lewandowski made only three appearances for U21 team of Poland eventually making his cut to the senior side on 10th of September 2008. He scored in a 2-0 win against San Marino after coming on as a substitute in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification. He also scored in the opening match of the UEFA Euro 2012 against Greece played in his home city Warsaw. He played in all three group games for Poland after eventually being out of the competition with just two points to their name.

He got his first international hat-trick away against Gibraltar on 7th of September, 2014 in Poland’s first Euro 2016 qualifier adding 4 goals to his tally. He also scored the header winner against the Republic of Ireland in a 2-1 victory, qualifying Poland for the tournament finals in France. He ended up being the joint European Championships qualifying goal-scorer with David Healy being the other one for Northern Ireland in 2008. He only scored two goals for the Poles in the Euros ultimately losing to Portugal in the penalty shootout.

He scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Armenia on 5th of October, 2017 taking his tally to 50 goals for Poland which saw him surpass the previous record of 48 goals set by Wlodzimierz Lubanski to become Poland’s all-time top scorer. He scored a whopping 16 goals in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, a record for a European World Cup qualifier which made them progress to the World Cup. Although he had a disappointing World Cup, still he can be considered as a legend for his country. 

Honors and achievements

Polish Revelation of the Year: 2008; Polish Footballer of the Year: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016; DFB-Pokal Top Goalscorer: 2011/12(7 goals), 2016/17(5 goals); Bundesliga Top Goalscorer: 2013/14(20goals), 2015/16( 30 goals), 2017-18(29); Best player of UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying campaign; and Bundesliga Player of the Year: 2016/17.

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The next most beautiful thing after parents' love is football.
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