Saturday, 23 March, 2019

The lone wolf turns into a caregiver: Lewandowski

11 Mar 2019, 22:04 ( 12 days ago)

DF-Xinhua Report by Oliver Trust
Robert Lewandowski . File Photo Xinhua.

A smile is coming over the face of Robert Lewandowski as he talks about his unusual habit of first eating the desert and after that paying attention to the main course. "It makes me feel better," the 30-year-old Pole commented in advance of Bayern Munich's second leg in the last 16 round of the Champions League against Liverpool FC this Wednesday evening.

   The spearhead seems well aware of the game's importance after a goalless draw in the first leg. "Liverpool rarely makes a mistake. We will have to go beyond our limits. To proceed to the last 8 round would affect the rest of the season and give us a motivation boost," the forward said.

   At the same time, the Polish national team's captain is well aware of what is expected from him after having scored 180 goals in 229 games for the Bavarians.

   Fans and teammates hope for his goals against the Premier League outfits after he scored eight times in the group stage of the 2018/2019 season which makes him the campaign's best performer.

   But can he address expectations after he had missed scoring in the last six knock-out games?

   "A performer like Van Dijk can frustrate you a lot," says former Liverpool and Bayern professional Dietmar Hamann.

   But Lewandowski doesn't talk about frustration in advance of Wednesday's battle. He instead turns his thoughts to what he calls his new role in the 2013 treble winners' team. He has changed his approach on the pitch and has shifted from the lonesome spearhead, only caring about his personal goal record, into a group-considering performer.

   "My assist record this season is telling the story," he emphasized. As of mid-March he already achieved ten assists, which he calls "my best figure over an entire season." The attacker is determined to set a new mark.

   He might have scored a few goals less in the national league (17 in 25 games) as "I do care more about the teams' needs. The team comes first as we all benefit from a rising number of chances and solid defense work," he said.

   The goal scoring artist seems to turn into a community worker as "I try to open spaces and create opportunities for team-mates."

   Lewandowski is mentioning talks with coach Kovac and team-mates about "how I could help the team better."

   In return, the striker reports about the growing appreciation for him in team and club. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge called him "one of the best strikers in football" and mentioned a possible extension of his until 2021 valid contract.

   "Lewy's contribution can't be overestimated when team and coach had to find solutions to get over our crisis last autumn," Rummenigge said.

   Kovac made him to one of the team's vice-captains. Lewandowski is said to be proud as he feels having to "take more responsibility." He admits he has to stay patient "when I don't get too many chances as it is not only about me but about the team."

   For long Lewandowski was said trying to leave for Real Madrid or any other big club to increase his chances to win the Champions League. Now he admits to being entirely dedicated to Bayern's future and is considering to stay until the end of his career.

   While Lewandowski's future is still said to depend on the outcome of the crucial duel against Liverpool has Bayern president Uli Hoeness declared Bayern's spearhead as "irreplaceable."

   "I feel comfortable with the team, the club, and the town," Lewandowski commented adding he won't give up on his dream to win the most important club competition. "It has always been my desire to win the Champions League," he said not mentioning it is the only trophy in club football he hasn't yet achieved.