WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s Robert Lewandowski has chalked up so many big-game landmarks during his club career that the 27-year-old seems overdue a major tournament performance with his country.
Few strikers in Europe can match his astonishing scoring record which will leave Germany particularly wary of facing the Bundesliga’s leading scorer when the two countries meet at Euro 2016.
For the last six years, since joining Borussia Dortmund and then Bayern Munich, goals have come readily. His hat-trick for Borussia Dortmund against Bayern in the 2012 German Cup final was followed by an even more clinical dismantling of Real Madrid with four goals in the Champions League’s 2013 semi-final.
This season he went one better, scoring five goals in nine minutes against VfL Wolfsburg to help Bayern on their way to a record fourth straight Bundesliga crown.
Encouragingly for Poland, he has been equally clinical in qualifying for Euro 2016, scoring 13 goals to equal the tournament record set by Northern Ireland’s David Healy.
Now the finals await and Zbigniew Boniek, the former international, FA chief and only man in Poland who can rival Lewandowski for football fame, is clear about the captain’s impact on the team.
“Every team has a leader, like Leo Messi in Argentina. In Poland it’s Lewandowski,” Boniek told Reuters. “He’s simply fantastic. He only makes news when he doesn’t score because we’ve all got so used to him scoring.”
Nicknamed “The Body” for his physique -- partly due to a special diet drawn up by his fitness-coach wife Anna -- Lewandowski’s features adorn billboards everywhere in Poland where he is the national face for Coca Cola, Gillette, Huawei phones and the Vuistula clothing range.
More heroics, this time at Euro 2016, would boost Brand Lewandowski even further.
Additional reporting by Jakub Iglewski and Piotr Kwiatkowski; Editing by Neil Robinson