Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈrɔbɛrt lɛvanˈdɔfskʲi] (About this soundlisten); born 21 August 1988) is a Polish professional footballer who plays as a striker for Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and is the captain of the Poland national team. Recognized for his positioning, technique and finishing, Lewandowski is considered one of the best strikers of all time, as well as one of the most successful players in Bundesliga history.[4] He has scored over 500 senior career goals for club and country.

Robert Lewandowski
2019147183134 2019-05-27 Fussball 1.FC Kaiserslautern vs FC Bayern München - Sven - 1D X MK II - 0228 - B70I8527 (cropped).jpg
Lewandowski in 2019
Personal information
Full name Robert Lewandowski[1]
Date of birth (1988-08-21) 21 August 1988 (age 33)[2]
Place of birth Warsaw, Poland
Height 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)[3]
Position(s) Striker
Club information
Current team
Bayern Munich
Number 9
Youth career
1996–1997 Partyzant Leszno
1997–2004 MKS Varsovia Warsaw
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005 Delta Warsaw 17 (4)
2005–2006 Legia Warsaw II 12 (2)
2006–2008 Znicz Pruszków 59 (36)
2006–2007 Znicz Pruszków II 2 (2)
2008–2010 Lech Poznań 58 (32)
2010–2014 Borussia Dortmund 131 (74)
2014– Bayern Munich 232 (217)
National team
2007 Poland U19 1 (0)
2008 Poland U21 3 (0)
2008– Poland 128 (74)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:21, 27 November 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:06, 12 November 2021 (UTC)

After being the top scorer in the third and second tiers of Polish football with Znicz Pruszków, Lewandowski moved to top-flight Lech Poznań, helping the team win the 2009–10 Ekstraklasa. In 2010, he transferred to Borussia Dortmund, where he won honours including two consecutive Bundesliga titles and the league's top goalscorer award. In 2013, he also featured with Dortmund in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final. Prior to the start of the 2014–15 season, Lewandowski agreed to join Dortmund's domestic rivals, Bayern Munich, on a free transfer. In Munich, he has won the Bundesliga title in each of his first seven seasons. Lewandowski was integral in Bayern's UEFA Champions League win in 2019–20 as part of a treble. He is one of only two players, alongside Johan Cruyff, to achieve the European treble, while being the highest goalscorer in all three competitions, and first to do it as the sole top scorer.

A full international for Poland since 2008, Lewandowski has earned over 120 caps and was a member of their team at UEFA Euro 2012, Euro 2016, the 2018 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2020. With 74 international goals, Lewandowski is the all-time top scorer for Poland. He won IFFHS World's Best International Goal Scorer Award in 2015 and IFFHS World's Best Top Goal Scorer Award in 2020. He also won the European Golden Shoe for the 2020–21 season. Moreover, Lewandowski has been named the Polish Footballer of the Year a record nine times and the Polish Sports Personality of the Year twice.

In 2020, Lewandowski won the Best FIFA Men's Player Award and the UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award. He has been named to the UEFA Team of the Year twice and the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season four times, and is the third-highest goalscorer in the history of the competition. Lewandowski has been named the VDV Bundesliga Player of the Season a record five times. He has scored over 290 goals in the Bundesliga (second-highest goalscorer of all time in Bundesliga history,[5] behind only Gerd Müller's 365 Bundesliga goals), having reached the century mark quicker than any other foreign player, and is the league's all-time leading foreign goalscorer. Moreover, he has won the Bundesliga Top Scorer Award in six seasons, most prominently in the 2020–21 Bundesliga where he scored 41 goals in a single campaign, breaking Gerd Müller's previous Bundesliga record of 40 goals, set in 1971–72.[6]

Club career

Early career

"When I was six, I remember Roberto Baggio at the 1994 World Cup. When I was between 10 and 14, Alessandro Del Piero was the best player for me. Then my idol was Thierry Henry. He was amazing – it wasn't just how he scored the goals but what he did for the team."

—Lewandowski on his childhood role models[7]

Lewandowski was born in Warsaw[8] and grew up in Leszno, Warsaw West County.[9] He took his first steps in football as an unregistered player for the local club, Partyzant Leszno.[10] In 1997, he joined MKS Varsovia Warsaw, where as a teen he played for seven years.[11] The following year he moved to 4th tier side Delta Warsaw, where he finally managed to play in the first team, scoring four goals at the end of the season.[12]

In 2006–07 [pl], Lewandowski was the Polish third division's top goalscorer with 15 goals, helping Znicz Pruszków win the promotion.[13] The next season, he was the top scorer in the Polish second highest division with 21 goals.[13]

Lech Poznań

 
Lewandowski, playing for Lech Poznań, was the top scorer of the 2009–10 Ekstraklasa, with 18 goals.

In June 2008, Lech Poznań signed Lewandowski from Znicz for 1.5 million PLN.[11][14] Earlier that month, Lewandowski's agent Cezary Kucharski offered him to his former team Sporting Gijón, which had been promoted to the La Liga, Spain's first division, after ten years in the Segunda División. However, Gijón rejected him.[15]

He debuted for Lech on 17 July 2008 as a substitute in the first qualifying first leg match of the UEFA Cup versus Khazar Lankaran from Azerbaijan, in which he scored the only goal of the evening in the 75th minute at the Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium. During his Ekstraklasa debut in the first game of the season, in a match against GKS Bełchatów, he scored a heel flick goal just four minutes after coming into the game late second half. In his first season in the Polish top division, he was second in the goal-scoring charts. Lewandowski finished the season with 18 goals in 42 matches.[16] He also scored in a 1–1 away draw against Wisła Kraków in the 2009 Polish Super Cup on 27 July, and converted his attempt in the won penalty shoot-out. The next season, he became the top scorer with 18 goals and helped his team win the 2009–10 championship.[16]

English coach, Sam Allardyce, said that Lewandowski was about to join Premier League club Blackburn Rovers in 2010, but the volcanic ash clouds caused by the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull which suspended all flights in and out of the UK, in addition to other financial worries, prevented the potential transfer.[17] Moreover, Lewandowski was also about to join Italian club Genoa, before president Enrico Preziosi decided to cancel the transfer.[18]

Borussia Dortmund

2010–2012: Debut season, league and cup double

Following press speculation that Lewandowski might move to one of a number of clubs,[19][20] he joined Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in June 2010, signing a four-year contract with the German club[21] for a fee reported to be worth around 4.5 million.[22] On 19 September, he scored his first goal in the Bundesliga to make it 3–0 in the Revierderby against Schalke 04; the game ended 3–1.[23]

In the 2011–12 Bundesliga campaign, Lewandowski profited from an injury to Lucas Barrios and he was elevated to an ever-present position in the starting XI until the winter break. The striker responded by finding the net two times in Dortmund's 3–0 DFB-Pokal first round victory over Sandhausen.[24] Lewandowski opened his league account in a 2–0 win over Nürnberg on 20 August 2011 by providing the finishing touch from a Mario Götze cross.[25] On 1 October, Lewandowski netted a hat-trick and provided an assist in the club's 4–0 victory over Augsburg,[26] following a disappointing 0–3 loss to Marseille in the UEFA Champions League group stage.[27] He later scored his first Champions League goal in a 1–3 away defeat to Olympiacos on 19 October.[28] Dortmund climbed into second place in the Bundesliga with a comfortable 5–0 victory over Köln on 22 October, with Lewandowski finding the net either side of half-time.[29] Dortmund travelled to Freiburg on 17 December and Lewandowski struck twice and provided an assist for Kevin Großkreutz, as Dortmund eased to a 4–1 triumph, scoring his first hat-trick in Bundesliga.[30] Due to his strong performances, he was named Footballer of the Year in Poland.[31]

Following the winter break, on 22 January 2012, Dortmund thrashed Hamburg 5–1 to move level on points with leaders Bayern Munich; Lewandowski netted twice and added an assist for Jakub Błaszczykowski in the rout.[32] He scored in a 1–0 home win over Bayern Munich on 11 April.[33] The result gave Dortmund a six-point cushion over their title rivals with only four games left to play.[34] On 21 April, Lewandowski provided the assist for Shinji Kagawa's 59th-minute goal as Dortmund won 2–0 over Borussia Mönchengladbach to seal their second straight title.[35] In the final Bundesliga game of the campaign, Lewandowski scored two first-half goals as Dortmund beat Freiburg 4–0 and celebrated lifting the title.[36]

Lewandowski finished the year as the third top goal scorer with 22 goals, none from the penalty spot, and six assists.[37]

On 12 May, in the final game of the season for Dortmund, he scored a hat-trick in the DFB-Pokal Final, a 5–2 win over Bayern Munich, to earn the club its first domestic double.[38][39] Lewandowski finished as the DFB-Pokal's top goalscorer, with seven goals from six games.[40]

2012–2014: Champions League runner-up and league top goalscorer

 
Lewandowski playing for Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal against Wilhelmshaven in August 2013

On 12 August 2012, Lewandowski began the 2012–13 season by scoring in the 1–2 2012 DFL-Supercup defeat to Bayern Munich.[41] He made his first appearance of the 2012–13 Bundesliga campaign in Dortmund's 2–1 victory over Werder Bremen on the opening day of the season.[42] He netted his first goal in the 3–0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen on 15 September 2012, extending Dortmund's run to 31 games unbeaten and moved the club into third in the Bundesliga.[43] Three days later, in the club's first Champions League game of the season, Lewandowski netted an emphatic 87th-minute winner to defeat Ajax by a score of 1–0.[44] He set club's new record of the longest scoring streak, having scored in 12 consecutive league games, surpassing Friedhelm Konietzka's record from 1964–65 season.[45] On 9 February 2013, Lewandowski opened the scoring in a home match against Hamburg, but was sent off in the 31st minute for a foul on Per Ciljan Skjelbred and Dortmund lost 1–4. He finished season with 24 league goals, one goal short of the Bundesliga's top scorer, Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kießling.

According to Borussia Dortmund director Michael Zorc, speaking in February 2013, Lewandowski would not be renewing his contract with the club, and would leave either in the summer of 2013 or after the 2013–14 season.[46]

On 27 February, Lewandowski played in his side's 0–1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2012–13 DFB-Pokal quarter final.[47] On 24 April, Lewandowski became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semi-final as Borussia Dortmund defeated Spanish champions Real Madrid 4–1 in the first leg at Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park.[48][49] On 25 May, he played in the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final in which Borussia Dortmund were defeated 1–2 by Bayern Munich.[50]

On 27 July 2013, Lewandowski won the 2013 DFL-Supercup with Dortmund 4–2 against Bayern Munich.[51] He scored his first goal of the season in Dortmund's 4–0 win over Augsburg in the club's opening Bundesliga match on 10 August.[52] On 1 November, he scored his only hat-trick of the season in a 6–1 Bundesliga win against VfB Stuttgart.[53]

On 25 February 2014, Lewandowski scored twice in the Champions League round of 16 first leg against Zenit St. Petersburg, becoming Dortmund's overall top scorer in European competition, surpassing Stéphane Chapuisat's 16 goals.[54] He scored his 100th goal for the club on his 182nd appearance, as Dortmund defeated VfL Wolfsburg 2–0 in the semi-finals of the 2013–14 DFB-Pokal on 16 April, and revealed a shirt with the number 100 during celebration.[55]

Lewandowski ended the 2013–14 season as the top goalscorer in the Bundesliga with 20 goals, which earned him the Torjägerkanone [de].[56] He also scored six goals in the Champions League, as Dortmund reached the quarter-finals.[57] During the second leg of the round of 16 match between Borussia Dortmund and Zenit, Lewandowski received a second yellow card, which resulted in him being suspended for the first leg of the quarter-final against Real Madrid.

Lewandowski played his final match for Dortmund in the 2014 DFB-Pokal Final against Bayern Munich on 17 May. Head coach Jürgen Klopp had excused him from some training ahead of the final due to injury concerns; although Lewandowski played all 120 minutes of the final, Dortmund lost 0–2.[58] He finished the season with 28 goals in 48 matches.[51][59]

Bayern Munich

In November 2013, Lewandowski confirmed he would sign a pre-contractual agreement for Borussia Dortmund's rivals Bayern Munich,[60] which officially happened on 3 January 2014, when he signed a five-year contract beginning at the start of the 2014–15 season.[61] Lewandowski was officially presented as a Bayern Munich player on 9 July 2014.[62]

2014–2015: Debut season and third Bundesliga title

Pre-season started on 9 July 2014[63] at which time he was presented.[62] He made his pre–season debut against MSV Duisburg on 21 July, scoring a goal in the process.[64] On 6 August, he opened the scoring as Bayern contested the 2014 MLS All-Star Game at the Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, eventually losing 1–2.[65]

 
Lewandowski playing in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow in October 2014

He made his competitive debut for his new club in a 0–2 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the 2014 DFL-Supercup on 13 August 2014,[66] and scored his first goal in a 1–1 draw against Schalke 04 in his second league match on 30 August.[67] On 21 October, Lewandowski scored his first Champions League goal for Bayern Munich in a 7–1 away win against Roma.[68] On 1 November, in his first league match against Dortmund, Lewandowski scored in a 2–1 win which put Bayern four points clear at the top of the table while leaving his former club in a relegation play-off place.[69] In his third match of the season against Dortmund on 4 April 2015, Lewandowski scored in the 36th minute in a 1–0 win, after Dortmund's goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller "parried" Thomas Müller's shot.[70][71]

On 21 February 2015, Lewandowski scored twice in Bayern's 6–0 win away at Paderborn, his second goal of the game was his 10th of the league season.[72] He scored twice in the first half on 21 April as Bayern overturned a deficit from the first leg to defeat Porto 7–4 on aggregate and advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League.[73] Five days later, after VfL Wolfsburg lost to Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern won the Bundesliga title.[74] He scored again on 28 April, opening a 1–1 draw in the DFB-Pokal semi-final against Dortmund, but was later involved in a mid-air collision with Mitchell Langerak in the 116th minute of extra time.[75] The game ended in Bayern's elimination via a penalty shoot-out (0–2), and, unusually, none of the four attempts were converted by the Munich side, at their own stadium.[76][77] Although Lewandowski stayed until the end of the match, he didn't participate in the shootout; and tests later confirmed that he had fractured jaw and nose bone, and had a concussion, ruling him out for approximately one week.[78][79][80] On 12 May, playing in a protective mask, he curled in at the 59th minute in his team's 3–2 home victory against eventual winners Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal second leg, albeit they were eliminated by an aggregate score of 3–5.[81] With 17 goals in 31 games, Lewandowski was joint-second highest scorer of the Bundesliga season alongside teammate Arjen Robben, behind Eintracht Frankfurt's Alexander Meier.[82] He finished the season with 25 goals in 49 appearances.[66][83]

2015–2017: Domestic success, Torjägerkanone and 100 Bayern goals

Lewandowski's second season began with the 2015 DFL-Supercup on 1 August, with Bayern losing in a penalty shootout away to VfL Wolfsburg; he had been substituted in the 72nd minute for Rafinha.[84] Eight days later in the DFB-Pokal first round match, he scored the last goal in a 3–1 win against Oberliga Baden-Württemberg club Nöttingen.[85] On 14 August, in the opening match of the new Bundesliga season, he scored the second goal of a 5–0 win over Hamburg.[86]

On 22 September 2015, Lewandowski set a Bundesliga record by coming on as a substitute with Bayern trailing 0–1 to Wolfsburg and scoring five goals in 8 minutes and 59 seconds, the fastest by any player in Bundesliga history, to take a 5–1 lead. He also set Bundesliga records for the fastest hat-trick (three goals in four minutes), and most goals scored by a substitute (five).[87] Lewandowski's five goals in nine minutes was also the fastest in any major European football league since Opta began keeping records, and it ended Wolfsburg's 14-match unbeaten run.[88] He was awarded four certificates by Guinness World Records for this feat.[89]

Four days later, he scored twice in a 3–0 win at Mainz, the first goal being his 100th Bundesliga goal on his 168th appearance, a league record for a foreign player. He also reached 10 goals in the opening 7 matches with this brace, a feat only achieved before by Gerd Müller.[90] On 29 September, he scored a Champions League hat-trick in a 5–0 win over Dinamo Zagreb, putting him on ten goals in three games in a week.[91] He added two in a 5–1 rout of Dortmund five days later, to total 12 goals in his last four appearances.[92] On 24 October, Lewandowski scored in a 4–0 home win over 1. FC Köln, a result which made Bayern the first Bundesliga team ever to win all 10 of their opening games of a season.[93] The victory in Cologne was also Bayern's 1,000th win in the Bundesliga.[94] On 11 January 2016, he achieved fourth place at the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or awards.[95]

On 19 March 2016, Lewandowski scored the only goal in a 1–0 win against Köln to bring his league total up to 25 goals; a new personal best.[96] He had scored 24 goals for Borussia Dortmund during the 2012–13 season.[97] He also started Bayern's comeback with a 73rd-minute header in the second leg of the round of 16 on 16 March, after trailing 0–2 home to Juventus, which Munich eventually won 4–2 after extra time, and 6–4 on aggregate.[98] His goal against Atlético Madrid on 3 May in the second leg of Bayern's Champions League semifinal exit saw him end the season's competition with nine goals.[99]

On 7 May 2016, Lewandowski scored both goals for Bayern in a 2–1 win at Ingolstadt to confirm the Bavarian club as champions of Germany for the fourth consecutive season.[100] A week later, he scored his 30th goal of the season in Bayern's final league match of the season at home to Hannover 96. This made him the first foreign player to score 30 goals in the Bundesliga, the first player since Dieter Müller in 1976–77, and secured him the Torjägerkanone for the second time in three seasons.[101] He finished the season with 42 goals in 51 matches.[84][102]

The 2016–17 season started with Bayern winning the 2016 DFL-Supercup on 14 August.[103] Five days later, Bayern defeated Carl Zeiss Jena 5–0 in the DFB-Pokal first round, with the help of Lewandowski's hat-trick during the first half and assist to Arturo Vidal in the 72nd minute.[104][105] He opened the 2016–17 Bundesliga season with another hat-trick in a 6–0 victory against Werder Bremen.[106] On 13 December, Lewandowski signed a new contract with Bayern, keeping him at the club until 2021.[107]

On 11 March 2017, Lewandowski reached 100 goals for Bayern in his 137th appearance for the club, scoring twice in a 3–0 victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga.[108] He finished the season with 42 goals in 47 matches.[103][109]

2017–2019: Consecutive Golden Boots and all-time foreign Bundesliga goalscorer

The season began with Bayern Munich winning the 2017 DFL-Supercup against Borussia Dortmund, in which Lewandowski scored the opening goal for the Bavarians by controlling a low cross from Joshua Kimmich to cancel out Christian Pulisic's opener. The match ended 2–2 after extra time. Lewandowski, again, scored the first penalty of the shootout as Bayern eventually won 5–4.[110]

Lewandowski started from where he left in the last season and once again was the top scorer in the early stages of the 2017–18 Bundesliga. On 13 December, in the league fixture against Köln, he scored the only goal of the game, to reach Bundesliga's top ten goalscorers of all time.[111] A couple of months later, on Matchday 22, Lewandowski again found the back of the net against Schalke 04 at the Allianz Arena to equal the record of scoring in 11 successive home games in a single season, a record also held by then Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes.[112] He continued his goal scoring form by netting a hat-trick against Hamburg as the runaway leaders won 6–0, while he also missed a kick from the spot which would have been his fourth goal of the day. This was his first penalty missed for Bayern in the Bundesliga, nevertheless he scored the second spot kick to complete his hat-trick.[113]

 
Lewandowski in training in March 2017

On 11 February 2018, he was voted Poland's Footballer of the Year for the seventh time in a row.[114] On 22 February, he fired his long-time agent, Cezary Kucharski. Lewandowski hired renowned dealmaker Pini Zahavi as his new agent; the hiring of Zahavi was rumoured to be the start of Lewandowski trying to seal a summer move to Real Madrid.[115] On 24 February, he played his 250th Bundesliga game against Hertha BSC.[116] On 19 May, Lewandowski scored Bayern's only goal in a 3–1 defeat in the DFB-Pokal Final against Eintracht Frankfurt.[117]

Lewandowski finished the league as the Bundesliga's top goalscorer with 29 goals. This was the third time he won the Torjägerkanone award.[118] He finished the season with 41 goals in 48 matches in all competitions.[119]

On 1 August, after a summer of transfer speculation, Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, confirmed in an interview that Lewandowski would not be allowed to leave Bayern at any price, saying "the top quality we have at Bayern Munich will stay here. With Robert, we clearly want to send a signal to people within and outside the club: Bayern Munich are completely different to other clubs who get weak when certain sums are mentioned"[120] On 12 August, Lewandowski recorded the first ever hat-trick in the DFL-Supercup in a 0–5 away victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in the 2018 edition as Bayern Munich went on to win the title for the record seventh time.[121] He also became the all-time top scorer in the German Supercup history.[122][123]

On 27 November, Lewandowski became the third-fastest player to score 50 goals (after Lionel Messi and Ruud van Nistelrooy) in the Champions League, when he scored two goals in a 5–1 group stage home win over Benfica. It took Lewandowski just 77 Champions League matches to reach the milestone.[124] He finished as the top scorer in the Champions League group stage with eight goals in six matches.[125] On 9 February 2019, Lewandowski scored in a 3–1 win over Schalke 04 and became the first player to score 100 competitive goals at the Allianz Arena. His goal was also his 119th league goal for Bayern Munich, which saw him draw level with Roland Wohlfarth as the club's third-highest goalscorer of all-time.[126]

He surpassed Wohlfarth the following month after scoring a brace in a 5–1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach, with his second goal also seeing him equal Claudio Pizarro's record of 195 league goals for the most Bundesliga goals by a foreign player.[127][128] In his very next fixture, he broke Pizarro's record by scoring twice in a 6–0 win over Wolfsburg.[129] On 6 April, in the 100th Bundesliga meeting between Bayern Munich and Dortmund, Lewandowski scored twice in a 5–0 win, with his first goal taking him to 200 goals in the league.[130][131]

Lewandowski ended the league campaign as the Bundesliga's top goalscorer with 22 goals for the fourth time.[132] On 25 May, he scored a brace as Bayern won against Leipzig 3–0 in the 2019 DFB-Pokal Final. With his goals, he became the all-time top scorer in the DFB-Pokal finals with six, surpassing Gerd Müller on five.[133] Lewandowski finished the season with 40 goals in 47 matches in all competitions, reaching the 40-goal landmark for the fourth consecutive season, also winning his second domestic double with Bayern.[134]

2019–2020: Treble and Best FIFA Men's Player

On 12 August, Lewandowski scored his first goal of the season when Bayern defeated Energie Cottbus 3–1 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal.[135] Four days later, he scored two goals in the 2019–20 Bundesliga opener against Hertha BSC. With his goals, Lewandowski set a Bundesliga record for scoring a goal in the season opener for the fifth year in a row.[136] He then scored a hat-trick against Schalke at the Veltins Arena on 24 August, as the Reds won 3–0.[137] On 29 August, Lewandowski extended his contract at Bayern until 2023.[138] Lewandowski scored his 200th goal for Bayern in a 3–0 win against Serbian club Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on 18 September.[139] Later that month, after scoring his tenth goal of the campaign during a 3–2 win over Paderborn 07, he became the first player in Bundesliga history to achieve double figures for goals scored after the first six match rounds.[140] Lewandowski then became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in each of the opening nine, ten and eleven matches of a season, surpassing the record of eight set by former Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.[141][142][143] On 26 November, Lewandowski scored 4 goals in under 15 minutes as Bayern defeated Red Star Belgrade 6–0 in their reverse fixture and clinched first place in their Champions League group, setting a new record for fastest time to score four goals in a Champions League match. He also became only the second player ever to score four goals in multiple Champions League matches.[144]

 
Lewandowski after the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final

On 25 February 2020, Lewandowski equalled Cristiano Ronaldo's record of nine away goals in a season in Europe's top club competition. He did so by scoring a goal in a 3–0 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (he also assisted Serge Gnabry twice in that match).[145] On 10 August, Lewandowski scored a brace and provided two assists in a 4–1 win over Chelsea in the return leg.[146] On 14 August, he assisted and scored in Bayern's 8–2 decimation of Barcelona in the quarter-finals.[147] Lewandowski scored another goal, to be 15 goals in total, in his ninth consecutive Champions League match in Bavarian's semifinal 3–0 win against Lyon.[148] His European scoring streak ended when he failed to score a goal in the Champions League final match against Paris Saint-Germain on 23 August; nevertheless, Bayern defeated PSG 1–0, giving Lewandowski his first Champions League title.[149] He also became the second player ever to win the European treble while being the top scorer in all three competitions, repeating Johan Cruyff's achievement with Ajax from the 1971–72 season.[150] However, Lewandowski was the first to do so as the sole top scorer in all three competitions.[151]

2020–present: Ballon d'Or Striker of the Year, European Golden Shoe and breaking Gerd Müller's record

On 24 September, Lewandowski assisted Leon Goretzka's opener in 2–1 victory over 2019–20 UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla in the 2020 UEFA Super Cup in Budapest.[152] 6 days later, he played in Bayern's 3–2 win over Borussia Dortmund in the 2020 DFL-Supercup, to win their fifth trophy of the year.[153]

On 4 October, he scored all four goals in a 4–3 win against Hertha BSC.[154] On 24 October, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt, to become the first player in Bundesliga to score ten goals in only five matches.[155] On 16 December, he scored a brace against Wolfsburg to be the third player to pass the 250-goal mark in Bundesliga, after Gerd Müller and Klaus Fischer.[156]

After winning the treble with Bayern Munich and his performances in the tournaments,[157] he was named The Best FIFA Men's Player 2020 on 17 December, becoming the first Polish player to win the award.[158][159] The cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d'Or was met with extensive criticism, as most news and sports organizations believed Lewandowski was the front-runner and ought to win the award.[160]

On 17 January 2021, Lewandowski became the first player in Bundesliga history to score 21 goals after just 16 games – a new Hinrunde record, beating Gerd Müller's 20 goals during the 1968–69 season.[161] On 8 February, he scored a brace in a 2–0 win over Al Ahly in the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup semi-finals.[162] On 11 February, he won the FIFA Club World Cup 2020 with the club after 1–0 win against Mexican top-flight club Tigres in the final, as Bayern became the second club ever (after Barcelona in 2009) to win the sextuple. He was also involved in Benjamin Pavard's winning goal, and was named player of the tournament.[163]

On 23 February, Lewandowski opened the score in a 4–1 win against Lazio in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16, reaching his 72nd Champions League goal and surpassing Raúl as the third highest goalscorer in the competition's history.[164] On 6 March, he scored his 12th Bundesliga hat-trick in a 4–2 win over his former club Borussia Dortmund, to reach 31 goals in 23 matches.[165] On 13 March, he scored a goal in a 3–1 away win over Werder Bremen, hence he became the joint-second on the all-time Bundesliga scoring list with 268 goals along with Klaus Fischer.[166] On 20 March, he surpassed Fischer, as he scored a perfect hat-trick in the first half of a 4–0 win over VfB Stuttgart.[167]

On 28 March, he scored two goals in a 3–0 home win against Andorra in a World Cup qualification match, and also damaged ligaments in his right knee (he was taken off after 63 minutes); hence, he missed both Champions League quarter-final matches against Paris Saint-Germain, in which Bayern Munich lost on away goals rule after a 3–3 draw on aggregate.[168] On 24 April, he returned after almost a month on the sidelines in a 1–2 defeat to Mainz, where he scored in added time.[169] On 8 May, he scored his 14th Bundesliga hat-trick in a 6–0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach.[170] On 22 May, he broke Gerd Müller's record of 40 goals in the 1971–72 season with a 90th minute goal in Bayern's 5–2 win over Augsburg to reach his 41st goal on the final day of the season.[171] He also managed to win his first European Golden Shoe award.[172] Lewandowski finished the season with 48 goals in 40 matches in all competitions, reaching at least the 40-goal landmark for the sixth time.[173]

Lewandowski kicked off his 2021–22 Bundesliga season with a volley-shot equaliser in a 1–1 opening fixture draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 13 August, making him the first player to score in seven consecutive Bundesliga opening games.[174] He also scored a brace and backheeled to Thomas Müller in a 3–1 away win against Dortmund in the 2021 DFL-Supercup on 17 August. The match was preceded by a moment of silence for Gerd Müller, who died two days earlier.[175] On 28 August, he scored his 15th Bundesliga hat-trick in a 5–0 win over Hertha BSC,[176] setting a new club and German record for the most consecutive appearances in all competitions with a goal at 16,[177] surpassing the previous record of 15 held by Gerd Müller from 1969 to 1970.[178] In addition, he managed to reach more than 300 goals with Bayern Munich in all competitions.[179] On 18 September, Lewandowski scored in his 13th consecutive Bundesliga home match against VfL Bochum, surpassing the previous league record of 12 held by Gerd Müller (October 1969 to April 1970) and Jupp Heynckes (June 1972 to February 1973).[180]

"You deserve your Ballon d'Or. Last year everyone agreed that you were the winner. Hopefully France Football can give it to you to have in your home, because you were the true winner if it weren't for the pandemic. You should have one in your house too."

2021 Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi on Lewandowski in his acceptance speech after the award was cancelled the previous year[181]

On 23 November, Lewandowski opened the score with a bicycle kick in a 2–1 away win against Dynamo Kiev in a Champions League group stage match, becoming the first player to score in nine consecutive games in two separate seasons of the competition.[182] Midway through the season, Lewandowski finished second in the 2021 Ballon d'Or award, behind Lionel Messi of Paris Saint-Germain and received the Striker of the Year award by the France Football magazine.[183]

International career

2007–2013: Youth level and early international career

Lewandowski began his international career with Poland under-19 in 2007. He would also make three appearances for Poland's U21 team, in friendly matches against England, Belarus and Finland.

His debut for the senior national team came on 10 September 2008, three weeks after his 20th birthday, against San Marino where he came on as a substitute and scored a goal in a 2–0 away win in 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification.[184][185] Only Włodzimierz Lubański scored a goal on his debut for the national team at a younger age than Lewandowski, having been 16 at the time. Lewandowski scored another qualifying goal against the same team on 1 April 2009, in a 10–0 victory.[186]

 
Lewandowski playing for Poland against Hungary in November 2011

Playing in Warsaw in the opening match of the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament against Greece, Lewandowski scored the first goal of the competition after an assist from then Dortmund teammate Jakub Błaszczykowski and was named Man of the Match.[187] He played in all three games for Poland in the tournament, as the co-hosts crashed out of the group stage with two points earned.[188][189]

2013–2017: Assuming the captaincy

Lewandowski scored two penalties in the 5–0 win against San Marino on 26 March 2013 during the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, his first match as captain.[190] Later on in the campaign, on 6 September, he scored the equaliser against Montenegro in a 1–1 home draw.[191] Poland did not qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

On 7 September 2014, in Poland's first UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier, away against Gibraltar, Lewandowski scored his first international hat-trick, netting four goals in a 7–0 win.[192] On 13 June 2015, he scored another hat-trick in Poland's 4–0 defeat of Georgia, with the three goals scored within the space of four minutes.[193] On 8 October, he scored twice in a 2–2 draw away to Scotland, opening and equalising with the last kick of the game to eliminate the hosts.[194] Three days later he headed the winner in a 2–1 victory against the Republic of Ireland, qualifying Poland for the tournament finals in France.[195] Lewandowski ended the campaign with 13 goals, a joint European Championships qualifying record with David Healy's tally for Northern Ireland in UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying.[196]

 
Lewandowski playing for Poland at the 2018 FIFA World Cup

At UEFA Euro 2016 in France, Lewandowski did not have a shot on target until the last-16 match against Switzerland in Saint-Étienne.[197] Following the 1–1 draw, he scored his team's first attempt in the penalty shootout victory that sent them to the quarter-finals for the first time.[198] In the 100th second of the quarter-final against Portugal at the Stade Vélodrome, he finished Kamil Grosicki's cross to open another 1–1 draw, and again scored in the shootout although the Poles lost.[199] At the time of Poland's exit, Lewandowski had suffered more fouls than any other player in the tournament.[199]

2017–present: All-time Poland top scorer

On 5 October 2017, Lewandowski scored a hat-trick in a 6–1 win over Armenia to take his tally to 50 goals for Poland, surpassing the previous record of 48 goals set by Włodzimierz Lubański to become the all-time top scorer for Poland.[200][201] On 8 October 2017, Lewandowski scored a goal in a 4–2 win over to Montenegro taking his tally to 51 goals for Poland.[202] He finished the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign with 16 total goals, a record for a European World Cup qualifier.[202]

Lewandowski was called up to the 23-man Polish squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.[203] Lewandowski played every minute in all three matches, against Senegal, Colombia and Japan. Lewandowski did not score a goal as Poland did not qualify for the knockout phase.[204]

On 19 June 2021, in Poland's second group match of UEFA Euro 2020 against Spain, Lewandowski scored the equalising goal in a 1–1 draw; hence, he became the first Polish player to score in three consecutive European Championships.[205][206] On 23 June, he scored a brace in a 2–3 defeat against Sweden; however, Poland finished last in their group and were knocked out from the group stages.[207]

Style of play

Lewandowski is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world,[208][209][210][211][212] and is even considered by many to be one of the greatest centre-forwards of all time.[213] An accurate and efficient finisher with his head and both feet, Lewandowski is a prolific goalscorer. A well-rounded forward, he is said to possess almost all the necessary qualities of a traditional number nine: height, strength, balance, pace, intelligent movement and proficiency with both feet.[214] Although he primarily operates as a goal-poacher in the penalty area, due to his positional sense, ability to shoot first time, strength in the air, and powerful shot with either foot, his excellent technical skills, quick feet, proficient dribbling, vision, and physique also enable him to hold up the ball with his back to goal and either bring his teammates into play, or win fouls for his team in useful positions; despite often functioning as a lone-centre forward or as an out-and-out striker. He has also stood out for his work-rate and defensive contribution off the ball, and is capable of dropping into deeper roles on the pitch, in order to create space for teammates with his movement, or surprise defenders by making late and sudden attacking runs into the area. Lewandowski is an accurate penalty taker and has repeatedly shown coolness and composure on the spot; he is also capable of scoring from long range, and has been known to take free kicks. In addition to his playing ability, Lewandowski has also been praised for his outstanding work-ethic, fitness, mentality, and discipline, both on the pitch and in training, by pundits, players and managers.[215][216][217][218][219]

Outside football

Personal life

Lewandowski's father gave him the name Robert to make it easier for him when moving abroad as a professional footballer.[217] Lewandowski's father, Krzysztof (died in 2005),[220] was a Polish judo champion, and also played football for Hutnik Warsaw in the second division.[221] His mother, Iwona, is a former volleyball player for AZS Warsaw and later vice-president of Partyzant Leszno.[221] His sister, Milena, also plays volleyball and has represented the U21 national team.[221]

His wife, Anna Lewandowska, won the bronze medal at the 2009 Karate World Cup.[221] They married on 22 June 2013 in the Church of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Serock. They have two daughters: Klara (born May 2017)[222] and Laura (born May 2020).[223]

Lewandowski is a practising Catholic.[224] He met Pope Francis in October 2014, when Bayern Munich visited Vatican City following a 7–1 win over A.S. Roma in the UEFA Champions League.[225]

In October 2017, the day after scoring to help Poland qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Lewandowski finished Bachelor of Physical Education (BPhEd) with coaching and management at the Academy of Sport Education in Warsaw, concluding a decade of studies.[226][227][228]

In addition to his native Polish, Lewandowski also speaks English and German.[229][230]

Philanthropy and business

 
Lewandowski mural in Chorzów

Lewandowski and his wife, Anna, have supported, donated and raised money for various charitable organisations and for children throughout their career, including Children's Memorial Health Institute in Warsaw, for which they've raised more than 150,000 PLN during Anna's birthday party on 25 August 2018.[231] Lewandowski also donated 100,000 PLN for the treatment of Cyprian Gaweł, a three-year-old boy from Hel;[232] and helps raising funds for the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity each year, donating his personal items or private meetings that are sold at online auctions.[233][234][235]

In March 2014, he was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.[236]

In March 2020, Lewandowski and his wife, Anna, donated €1 million during the COVID-19 pandemic.[237]

Beside philanthropy, Lewandowski also invests primarily in startups, e-commerce and websites, mainly through Protos Venture Capital, a company of which he is a shareholder.[238] He also owns "Stor9_", an agency specialising in marketing communications.[239]

Sponsorship and media appearances

In 2013, Lewandowski signed a sponsorship deal with Nike.

Lewandowski featured on the cover of the Polish edition of EA Sports' FIFA 15 video game, alongside Lionel Messi.[240] Lewandowski's "X" goal celebration – arms crossed and index fingers pointing up – appears in FIFA 18.[241]

Career statistics

Club

As of match played 27 November 2021[16][242]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Delta Warsaw 2004–05 IV liga 17 4 2 0 19 4
Legia Warsaw II 2005–06 III liga 12 2 1 2 13 4
Znicz II Pruszków 2006–07 Klasa A 2 2 0 0 2 2
Znicz Pruszków 2006–07 III liga 27 15 5 2 32 17
2007–08 II liga 32 21 2 0 34 21
Total 59 36 7 2 66 38
Lech Poznań 2008–09 Ekstraklasa 30 14 6 2 12[a] 4 48 20
2009–10 Ekstraklasa 28 18 1 0 4[b] 2 1[c] 1 34 21
Total 58 32 7 2 16 6 1 1 82 41
Borussia Dortmund 2010–11 Bundesliga 33 8 2 0 8[b] 1 43 9
2011–12 Bundesliga 34 22 6 7 6[d] 1 1[e] 0 47 30
2012–13 Bundesliga 31 24 4 1 13[d] 10 1[e] 1 49 36
2013–14 Bundesliga 33 20 5 2 9[d] 6 1[e] 0 48 28
Total 131 74 17 10 36 18 3 1 187 103
Bayern Munich 2014–15 Bundesliga 31 17 5 2 12[d] 6 1[e] 0 49 25
2015–16 Bundesliga 32 30 6 3 12[d] 9 1[e] 0 51 42
2016–17 Bundesliga 33 30 4 5 9[d] 8 1[e] 0 47 43
2017–18 Bundesliga 30 29 6 6 11[d] 5 1[e] 1 48 41
2018–19 Bundesliga 33 22 5 7 8[d] 8 1[e] 3 47 40
2019–20 Bundesliga 31 34 5 6 10[d] 15 1[e] 0 47 55
2020–21 Bundesliga 29 41 1 0 6[d] 5 4[f] 2 40 48
2021–22 Bundesliga 13 14 1 0 5[d] 9 1[e] 2 20 25
Total 232 217 33 29 73 65 11 8 349 319
Career total 510 367 67 45 125 89 15 10 718 511
  1. ^ Appearances in UEFA Cup
  2. ^ a b Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ Appearance in Polish Super Cup
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Appearance in DFL-Supercup
  6. ^ One appearance in DFL-Supercup, two appearances and two goals in FIFA Club World Cup, one appearance in UEFA Super Cup

International

As of match played 12 November 2021[243][244][245]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Poland 2008 4 2
2009 12 1
2010 13 6
2011 11 3
2012 10 2
2013 10 3
2014 6 5
2015 7 11
2016 12 8
2017 6 9
2018 11 4
2019 10 6
2020 4 2
2021 12 11
Total 128 74

Honours

 
Lewandowski during training with Bayern Munich, 2019

Znicz Pruszków

Lech Poznań[246]

Borussia Dortmund[246]

Bayern Munich

Individual

Orders

See also

References

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External links