july 2014

The first match

Robert signed his official contract with Bayern in January. However, it wasn't until July 9, 2014 that he was unveiled as a player for the Bavarian club. Despite many offers from the world's leading clubs he chose to move to Allianz Arena, becoming only the second Polish footballer to play for the most frequent German Champion. After Mario Mandzukic had left the team, Robert took the number 9 T-shirt. He played his first game in a sparing against MSV Duisburg, with the game being a 1:1 draw and the only goal for Munich being scored by the Bundesliga top scorer from the previous season. Robert played his first official match in new colours in a DFL-Supercup game against… Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park. Bayern lost that game 2:0. The history often repeats itself and yet again the Gelsenkirchen stadium proved lucky. As was the case with BVB, Robert scored his first goal in a 1:1 tie match against Schalke 04.

january 2014

Full professionalism
and an honourable farewell

Despite the official notice not being published until January, many guessed that it would have been Lewandowski's last season at Signal Iduna Park and that in the following one he would wear the colours of Bayern Munich. The critics were second guessing whether Lewy would now let his performance slip and rest on his laurels. They could not have been more wrong. Robert exercised a dedicated and professional attitude till the very end. He put all his heart in the game. In DFL Supercup, Borussia managed to win over Bayern 4:2 thanks to his successful actions. In all other games he kept the same high level of performance. And there were some aspects, like the standard elements of the game, in which we could even see a considerable improvement.

In the group stage of the Champions League he put goalkeepers to shame four times, which allowed Borussia to advance to the next round. Also in Bundesliga, after just the autumn season, he had 11 goals on his record. In the spring, he added another nine ones on top of that and with 20 goals he finally managed to acquire the title of Bundesliga's top scorer, which he had aspired to for the previous two seasons. One could then say that he remained faithful to Borussia till the end. The season of 2013/2014 was lucky for Lewandowski, and for many reasons. Following his excellent episode with the Champions League, the four goals against Real and the overall levelled, solid, and goal-scoring performance he was nominated for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the World Player of the Year. In the end, in the official classification, he came 13th. In June, during a friendly match against Lithuania, the chief Polish striker was appointed by Adam Nawałka a new captain for the Polish national team. He accepted the captain's band from the hands of Kuba Błaszczykowski. The 2014/2015 campaign will pose a completely new challenge for our player. At Allianz Arena, just as at the Signal Iduna Park, he will still have to win against goalkeepers with relentless stupor and fight for the highest trophies, both the ones, he has already tasted and the ones he has only brushed against. Games played so far in a run-up phase suggest one thing – he is most certainly not going to let anyone down and he will be as great as ever.

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october 2013

A record hunter

The strong focus on the Champions League had a negative impact on Borussia’s attainments on the national arena. Its so far dominating position had been successfully weakened by Bayern, which has now effortlessly deprived their rivals of the national champion's title and DFB Pokal prize. Borussia's poorer results did not translate into Robert Lewandowski's attitude. Quite the opposite – his overall record was better than in the previous season. He scored 24 goals and he lost the title of Bundesliga’s top scorer to Stefan Kiessling by one goal only. He could console himself with the record number of 12 consecutive games with a scored goal, being only four games short to beat Guerd Mueller, the leader in that classification...

may 2013

The ill-fated Wembley

Three Poles in one team in the Champions League finals. It was a memorable day in the history of Polish football. An unprecedented case. The streets of London, a capital cradle of football, filled with football fans wearing yellow tops with our compatriots' names written on them. Unfortunately, London didn’t prove to be lucky for the Dortmund team. A dramatic match, filled with sudden twists, ended with Bayern winning 2:1, scoring the winning goal just one minute before the end of the standard play time. Lewandowski was bending over backwards, but couldn’t net the ball. He put it once between the poles, but the referee whistled for offside.

‘I’m lost for words. It doesn't feel good to lose in the final match. We pushed ourselves, it was a wonderful journey. We wanted to win, but we didn't do the finishing touch’ – the clearly upset Lewandowski commented after the final game. Regardless of the final defeat, his colleagues deserved a thunderous applause. They made it to the finals, even though nobody thought they would make it out of their deadly group. It was an achievement to be appreciated, as much as Lewandowski's ten goals in the Champions League and his second position in the scorers' table.

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april 2013

The new ‘bello di note’
in the big world

In the semi-finals the Dortmund team yet again had to face Real and despite a victory and a draw in the group stage they still weren't considered likely to win. Then, at Santiago Bernabeu, Lewy's star shined really bright! During only one match of the most elite football semi-finals in the world a single player scored four goals against the magnificent Real. That exceptional, superhuman act will most likely live in human minds to the end of time.

‘Lewandowski made Dortmund happy’, ‘Klopp and his net titan’, ‘Great Lewandowski brings Real to their knees’, ‘Herr-o Lew pushed Real aside’, ‘Lewandowski overwhelms Real’, ‘Lewandowski steals the show’, ‘Lewandowski forces Real to do the impossible' – these were the titles all over the international press on the following day. All these about our wonderful fellow countryman. ‘We knew everything about him, we knew how he played, and he still managed to score four goals. He deserves all the credit’ – complemented him Jose Mourinho, coach of Real. ‘World-class creme de la creme. Robert scores goals out of nowhere. Even Messi can't do things like that’ – Neven Subotić couldn't praise him enough. ‘What he has done was crazy’ – Jurgen Klopp rejoiced. And the president of the Polish Football Association, Zbigniew Boniek, twitted: 'I resign to Lewandowski the title of bello di notte (beauty of the night)'. ‘What can I say... To score four goals in such a match during such competition. It’s a big deal… I must be happy. But this is not the end’ – the elated Lewandowski managed to spurt out right after the game. For Borussia the rematch was just a formality and the team could immediately start gearing up for the German finals against Bayern Munich.

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november 2012

Off to win
the Champions League

Lewandowski approached the season of 2012/2013 from the position of Bundesliga's greatest star, whose potential was not to be questioned. This time the managers of Borussia focused on the decent presence in the Champions League as a top priority. When at a group stage fate matched them with such powerful companies as Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax Amsterdam, it was generally assumed that a mere fact of getting out of the group would be seen as a success. But here came a surprise. Borussia, with Lewandowski at its forefront, turned the established order of the Old Continent’s best teams upside down.

The Polish striker played at every game with incredible zest, leading Borussia now and again to shake the world of football. At the group stage, with his three goals, he led to two victories over Ajax, he also contributed to a triumph over Real (2:1) at Signal Iduna Park and provided two assists in the 2:2 draw at Santiago Bernabeu, where the revenge match took place. Lewy’s invaluable work granted Borussia the first place in the group that it had no right to lead in. That, however, was just the beginning of the campaign... In the quarter finals against Szakhtar Donetsk, Lewandowski put his name on the scorers' list at the first match in Ukraine, to a certain extent securing the 2:2 draw and clearing the field before the second half of the two-legged tie. In a quarterfinal rematch against Malaga, Robert's goal equalizing 1:1 was one of the first acts of a dramatic spectacle. With eight minutes of the game left, Borussia was losing at their own stadium 2:1, but the team not only caught up with their opponents, but also – in the extra time and with Lewandowski's contribution – scored 3:2, thus becoming one of the four teams to compete in the semi-finals.

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july 2012

Post-Euro blues

After the incredibly fantastic season at Bundesliga the time came for the long-awaited Euro 2012. Poland, co-organizing the event with Ukraine, spent the entire month immersed in the great football frenzy. And even though, in many respects, the European Championships were perceived in a positive light, the actual performance of our national team failed to meet the expectations. It was certainly one of the worst episodes in Robert Lewandowski’s career – and one he would surely like to forget as quickly as possible.

The first two matches offered some hope. Playing against Greece, thanks to Lewandowski, the Polish took the lead but ended up in a 1:1 draw. Then, with exactly the same result following quite a decent game they shared their points with Russia. In order to advance they had to conquer the Czech team. It was a match the whole of Poland was waiting for, but unfortunately the red and white team lost 0:1, leaving the game at the group phase and – to make matters worse – with the lowest score. ‘We did our best, but the failure was mainly due to individual errors. The fans supported us strongly throughout the whole tournament; I can’t remember experiencing anything so wonderful in a long time. It was them we wanted to advance for. We are sorry, that we weren't that lucky. We wanted to do the best, but unfortunately we achieved the opposite. We can only apologize’ – summarized Robert Lewandowski, clearly downcast by the defeat.

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april 2012

The Munich
Lions tamer

Lewandowski made himself at home in the Bundesliga, he kept showing off his extraordinary effectiveness comparable with that from his times back at Lech Poznań—and he lost his anonymity for good. But a good footballer who aspires to become a legend must prove himself in games where everything is at stake, in battles against the most dangerous rivals for the ultimate prize, facing emotions that hit the roof. After two matches against Bayern Munich there could be no doubt – Lewy had become a legend and also the worst nightmare for Borussia's fiercest rival.

In the second round of the season he used an effective heel flick to change a trajectory of the ball kicked by Kevin Grosskreutz sending it into Manuel Neuer’s net and practically stripping the Munich team of any hope to stop Borussia from getting the German championship trophy for the second time in a row. That way Lewy scored his 20th goal in the league reaching the record number set earlier by Jan Furtok for the number of Polish goals scored in Bundesliga. In the last rounds he sent the ball into the net two more times, which put him in the second place in the top scorers' classification. In fact the legend of Lewandowski in Germany truly surfaced in the DFB Pokal finals, where he faced the revenge-hungry Bayern. Not a chance. Robert stroke a spectacular hat-trick, Borussia won 5:2 and seized the national cup, and the great hero of the evening, with seven goals on his record, reached for a title of top scorer at yet another championship. ‘Robert Lewandowski – and everything is clear. He is without a doubt the motor of events that take place in Berlin’ – concluded Die Welt. After the closing of the season the Pole was handed the best player of the season award.

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january 2012

A breakthrough

The season of 2011/2012 proved to be a moment of great breakthrough. And a breakthrough that many footballers who dream of a distinguished career would like to experience. Initially there had been no signs indicating that Lewandowski's career at Signal Iduna Park was going to change. The situation turned around with Lucas Barrios’ injury at Copa America and Jurgen Klopp picking Lewandowski to fill the vacancy.

The Pole used that chance as best as he could. Dortmund witnessed an incredible transformation. A full-time joker suddenly turned into a first-class striker with a killer's instinct. Best player of the game nominations, being listed among the top 11 players of the round, notes at the world class level gradually became a part of daily routine. Lewandowski found the net whenever he could. In November, having appeared in Bundesliga only 12 times, he had already scored eight goals – the same number he scored in the entire previous season. Three were scored in a 4:0 victory over FC Augsburg, which – interestingly – won him the first hat-trick in his career! He further shot to fame with two goals scored against FC Koeln. From then on it became obvious that he was an unquestioned number one attacker and Barrios just a reserve player. Striking once more in the Ruhr Derby against Schalke and getting the best player of the game title he further strengthened his position. After the first half of the league season Lewandowski could boast 12 goals and 6 assists. His eye-widening achievements put him among the top scorers and let him climb up in the Canadian classification. He worked as a part of Piszczek-Błaszczykowski-Lewandowski trio which functioned like an infallible battle engine. The scheme seemed to work repeatedly. The first one would swing a cross, the second one would pass it on and the third one would finish it. All in all, Borussia owes a vast mayority of its goals and victories to that Polish trinity. ‘Borussia just couldn't do without the Poles’ – German reporters claimed. The disposition of the Polish national team followed Robert's performance. In a friendly match against Germany in Gdańsk, with a 2:2 draw, he provided a sensational opening and made it to the front pages of German media. ‘Lewandowski took us to the edge’ – is a quote from Joachim Watzke, Borussia CEO. The only thing that didn’t work out was the overall Champions League episode. Lewy may have scored one goal (playing against Olympiacos Piraeus in the 3rd round), but his participation ended in the group stage. It was a bad sign for other Bundesliga contestants, as the Dortmunders were now able to fully focus on conquering their home ground.

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september 2011

Ups and downs

After looking through a pile of offers and never ending negotiations ('It was one of the most difficult transfers' – Michael Zorc, Borussia’s sport manager), Lewandowski decided on playing for Borussia Dortmund, with whom he signed a four year contract.

The wholly new environment required learning the local language and adopting certain standards. Luckily, during the accommodation process he could count on help from Kuba Błaszczykowski and Łukasz Piszczek, who had already had some German experience and helped their new team mate to buy his way into the changing room. But on the pitch it all hinged on Robert's legs. The difference between Ekstraklasa and Bundesliga level of play was enormous. Polish players who go west feel as if they have to learn everything from scratch. For that reason it was obvious that Lewandowski's first steps in the new club would involve coming in from the bench. His official debut in the new colours was in the first round of the German Cup playing against third league Wacker Burghausen (Borussia won 3:0). After 56 minutes the Polish attacker replaced Lucas Barrios, the greatest BVB star who had scored 23 goals in the previous season. In the first round of Bundesliga games he joined the match after 63 minutes to fill in for Sebastian Kehl. Even though Jurgen Klopp used to often talk very fondly of Robert ('The most promising player of the last 10-15 years'), he still never put him on the field in the opening squad, unconvinced as to the reliability of his performance. Even two goals in a row scored during the electrifying Ruhr Derby against Schalke 04 and FC Kaiserslautern didn’t change that. In that situation, with the former Lech player entering the pitch from the bench and experiencing some performance issues, the only hope for getting a chance to shine from the first moments of the game was to be sought in situations out of everyone's hands. In November Lewandowski overcame his scoring block and repeatedly found the net playing against Hannover and Freiburg. At the same time, alongside the improved performance, came Lucas Barrios’ injury. And so, in the 15th round, Lewy finally entered the pitch among the original eleven players and was given more opportunities. German journalists noticed the reserve BVB player's good ending to the autumn season. Considering his contribution to victories, Kicker, a popular sports daily, awarded Lewandowski the title of the best 'joker'. The balance of Lewandowski's debut season at German stadiums included 43 games, 9 goals, 4 assists. Not bad for premiere moments. In the spring he again experienced a bit of a block, but hardly anyone remembered it after he scored a victorious goal against FC Koeln, thus granting his team the first championship title in nine years.

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may 2010

Glory of the Double
and the top scorer's title

Regardless of all the inquiries arriving from abroad, Lewandowski stayed in Poznań for another year. At the same time, he was no longer seen as a promising young player, but as a talented executor with an order to score more goals. This increased pressure only boosted his fire power. At the threshold of the new season, Robert's goal contributed to a win in Poland's Supercup competition. In Ekstraklasa he was scoring one goal after another, often spectacularly enough to guarantee him the most beautiful goal of the game 'award'.

However, he would never place his goal-scoring aspirations above the team’s common good. In a match against Korona Kielce, despite two goals and a chance to get the league's first hat-trick, he elected to pass the ball to a better positioned partner. The whole hype never had a negative impact on him and his mindset: ‘To choke on fame you would first have to drink it’ – he used to say. Thanks to Lewandowski, Lech had the best season in years. If it wasn't for him – there would have been no double. Towards the end of the Ekstraklasa qualifications, when Lech needed a series of wins to catch up with their competitors in the run-up to Poland's championship, Lewy kept placing the ball in just the right place with remarkable ease. In the whole course of championships he scored 18 goals and without a hitch won in the scorers' classification. He was a first-class architect when it came to designing the team’s success in becoming the best in the country. It became obvious that his stay at Bułgarska Street was going to end. Throughout that period he had to refute various rumours concerning his future. As always, he put professionalism first: 'Would you like to discuss my transfer? Then there is nothing to talk about, as I'm playing for Lech' – he would tell the journalists. He bid farewell to ‘Kolejorz’ with great class.

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june 2008

Debutant goals
as ‘Lewy’s’ domain

Lewandowski joined Lech with a blast. Goals in debut games became his domain. In the first match with his new club he took just a few minutes to secure a win against Khazar Lenkoran in the Europa League qualifiers. He garnished his Ekstraklasa debut against GKS Bełchatów by scoring a beautiful heel flick goal. The very same thing happened again when the Polish team played against San Marino in a world championship qualifying match. Interestingly, he received his first call-up for consultation for Leo Beenhaker’s team even before he entered the Ekstraklasa pitches.

Lewy’s career in Bułgarska Street was picking up speed at an incredible rate. Be it Ekstraklasa or UEFA Cup – he would always score goals with the same regularity. Lech's fans to this day reminisce on two scores in a 6:0 victory against Grasshoppers Zurich, or a crucial goal in the extra time against Austria Vienna. Back then ‘Kolejorz’ was doing exceptionally well. It got to the group stage in great style, fought memorable battles against AS Nancy, Deportivo La Coruna, Feyenoord Rotterdam and CSKA Moscow, making it to the final 16, where they lost to Udinese Calcio. The coach, Mr Smuda, having witnessed the great progress of his player, made Lewandowski his chief attacker who showed his gratitude in the best way possible. By the end of the autumn, Robert had scored eight goals, which gave him third position in the top scorers’ classification. Thus it wasn't unexpected that the Piłka Nożna weekly magazine named him the greatest discovery of the season. Even the Times listed him among the most promising players. Naturally, and typically for a budding talent, there were occasional hiccups. Still, there were no reasons to worry. Robert would always promptly get back in top shape and in the following fixtures scored a whole series of goals. The final result was overwhelming. Twelve goals scored in his first Ekstraklasa season, third best scorer and a Polish Cup trophy to ease the pain after losing the championships (Lech came in third).

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july 2006

Great restoration
in Pruszków

Having been rejected by Legia, Robert was left stranded. He belonged to no club and he had no access to a proper training base. Fortunately, just in time, his mother came to his rescue making all possible efforts to make her son’s dreams come true. In summer 2006, Lewandowski joined Znicz Pruszków and started a dynamic climb towards football tops.

Half of the Znicz team attended school or university, which sometimes attracted ridicule from their opponents. However, the so far underrated team of pupils and students effortlessly won the Polish third league and Lewandowski, with fifteen scored goals on his counter, won the title of a top scorer. After the promotion, Pruszków created a team worthy of Ekstraklasa. That goal was very attainable but regrettably, in the last series, the phenomenal favourite lost an away fixture against Podbeskidzie Bielsko-Biała after losing a goal with eight minutes of the game left. In spite of that last minute failure Lewandowski could consider himself to be a winner. At a young age he had scored 21 goals in the Polish second league, attracting the attention of half of the Ekstraklasa clubs. Together with his manager, Cezary Kucharski, they approached the whole hype with a cool head. Initially there seemed to be a possibility of rejoining Legia which yet again failed to notice the hidden talent. In the end, Lewandowski accepted an offer made by Lech Poznań and signed a four year contract.

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january 2006

The unfulfilled
dream of joining Legia

In the season of 2005/2006 Lewandowski was a legitimate player for the fourth tier reserves of the notorious Polish Champion on a one year contract. His aim was to enter the primary squad as soon as possible. He made a very good impression as a reserve player, which didn't escape the attention of Dariusz Wdowczyk. The young striker attended a training camp in Wronki together with the first team with a view to prove his worth.

Unfortunately, through bad luck, he ended up with a thigh muscle injury very early on and was unable to demonstrate his full potential. There now was no chance for him to count on joining the Polish top league – Ekstraklasa, but there was still a backup plan involving a newly formed Junior Ekstraklasa. In the meantime, Legia, rather unexpectedly and with no forewarning or explanation, decided not extend Robert's contract. A short-lived career came to a standstill.

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april 2005

A character forming
family tragedy

After seven years Lewandowski left Varsovia to join the fifth tier club of Delta Warsaw, which was a direct supplier of players for Legia Warsaw. His father Krzysztof dreamt that one day he would see his son playing for the club from Łazienkowska Street. Sadly, due to a cruel twist of fate, he didn't even get to see his son's first senior game – he passed away in 2005.

The family tragedy forced Robert to man up very early. Despite his still very young age, wanting to lessen his mother's financial burden, he decided to leave his family home and moved in with his sister in Warsaw. Whatever little money he earned was at the Delta football club where, following a few decent games and four scored goals, he got noticed by the Legia Warsaw scouts.

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august 1988

Destined to be a sportsman

Robert Lewandowski was born on August 21, 1988 in Warsaw, but he spent the first years of his life in nearby Leszno. As a matter of fact, he was destined to become a sportsman from the very day he was born. His mother, Iwona was an active volleyball player in the first league Academic Sports Association ‘Warsaw’, whereas his father, Krzysztof – a former judoist – was a successful player at the Hutnik Warsaw football club. No wonder that with such pronounced examples on both sides, young Robert followed the trail already blazed by his parents. He had tried various sports, but without a doubt he felt best with a ball at his feet.

His father, having realized his son's passion, used to take his little boy to Partyzant Leszno training sessions. At the age of nine, he commenced his training at Varsovia Warsaw. Hard tarmac, sand without a leaf of grass, clouds of dust limiting visibility, unheated old barracks with unsealed windows instead of changing rooms – these were the conditions in which the great talent of Robert Lewandowski started to germinate.

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