From Znicz Pruszków to Bayern Munich: The remarkable rise of Robert Lewandowski

33-year-old Polish hot-shot Robert Lewandowski has been leading the line for Poland’s national team since 2008 and some would say that he does it all by himself, like Tom Love, who provides football predictions and analysis across the domestic and international scene, said that Lewandowski often suffers from an ineffective Polish midfield behind him but still manages to get the job done.

In 2006, Lewandowski was captured by third-tier Polish team Znicz Pruszków in a deal worth just £1,000. He had struggled to cement a place in the Delta Warsaw team, which plied its trade a league below the previous season. However, Znicz Pruszków saw something in him and their efforts were rewarded.

During the 2006/07 campaign, Lewandowski led the charge for Znicz Pruszków’s promotion to the second tier of Polish football. He went on to notch 15 goals and finish as the team’s – and the division’s – leading goalscorer. It was from this moment on that Lewandowski’s progressive improvement took hold. He struck 21 times in the Polish second tier the following season, earning a big-money move to top-tier Polish outfit Lech Poznan. Just weeks before, newly promoted La Liga outfit Sporting Gijon had turned down an opportunity to sign him.

Lewandowski could have been plying his trade at Ewood Park

In the 2009/10 season, Lewandowski was the shining light for Poznan, notching 18 league goals and proving to be the driving force behind Poznan’s title-winning year. In the summer of 2010, Lewandowski was hot property. The then-Blackburn Rovers boss Sam Allardyce was keen on taking him to Ewood Park before the volcanic ash clouds in Iceland put paid to Lewandowski taking flight to the north-west of England. He was also on the cusp of signing for Serie A outfit Genoa before the club’s president pulled the plug on the deal.

Blackburn and Genoa’s loss was eventually Borussia Dortmund’s gain. The Bundesliga giants eventually snapped up Lewandowski on a four-year deal, forking out €4.5m to Poznan. Lewandowski would promptly endear himself to the Dortmund faithful by scoring against their bitter rivals Schalke 04 in a 3-1 victory. In a four-year spell with Dortmund, Lewandowski achieved a league and cup double in 2011/12 and reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2013, when Dortmund were defeated by Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.

Ironically, Lewandowski would eventually run down his contract at Dortmund to sign a pre-contract agreement with Bayern to sign for the start of the 2014/15 campaign. Lewandowski has gone up another level still during his time with Bayern, scoring 340 goals in 369 appearances. In the 2020/21 season, Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller’s long-standing Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season with a 41-goal campaign of his own. He’s since bagged seven Bundesliga winners’ medals, as well as a coveted UEFA Champions League winners’ medal in 2019/20.

His technique and poise in front of goal are the main reasons why he is considered one of the finest strikers in football’s modern era.

Lewandowski: An unreal physical specimen

Even at the age of 33, when most strikers are entering their twilight years, Lewandowski is demonstrating further improvement to his game and a hugely impressive commitment to his profession. His health regime has long been praised for maintaining his fitness and development, earning him the nickname “The Body”.

Lewandowski married a karate professional Anna Stachurska, who is also a world-renowned sports nutritionist. He adopted her new diet and fitness regime, removing cow’s and soya milk from his diet entirely and hugely limiting his consumption of foods high in sugar and fats. His lactose and wheat flour-free diet also enables him to partake in high-intensity workouts in the gym at Bayern, which help to maintain and even enhance his explosive power in the final third despite his advancing years.

There is no suggestion that Lewandowski is letting up anytime soon. Reports suggest he is ready to call time on his Bayern Munich career in search of one final challenge. La Liga giants Real Madrid have been heavily linked with the Pole, who remains contracted with Bayern until the summer of 2023. Manchester City are also thought to retain a long-time interest in having him as their central striker, particularly after Harry Kane’s decision to remain a Spurs player. One thing is for sure, wherever he goes and whatever he does, Lewandowski will guarantee commitment to the cause.

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