Round-up: Player of the month – October

Alexander Separator November 20, 2019

Deservedly so.

Daniel and Maurice have already described much of what sets Robert Lewandowski apart this season in their appreciations on the basis of statistics and game situations.  You could likely fill entire binders with descriptions of his countless spectacular scenes in front of goal and record-breaking statistics. 

You want some more? Sure. Robert Lewandowski holds the all-time Bundesliga records for:

  • Most goals scored by a non-German player – 218
  • Most goals scored by a Polish player – 218
  • Joint-record Polish appearance maker – 301 (one more than Łukasz Piszczek)
  • Fastest hat-trick – 3 mins 22 seconds 
  • Fastest four-goal haul – 5 mins 42 seconds
  • Fastest five-goal haul – 8 mins 59 seconds
  • Most goals by a substitute – 5
  • Fastest foreigner to reach 100 goals (168 games)

But let us use our third consecutive tribute to Robert Lewandowski to take a look behind his abundant records and phenomenal statistics. What makes Robert Lewandowski the record breaker he is? What makes him so extraordinary?

Lewandowski’s freedom from injuries

My personal favorite statistic about Robert Lewandowski is that he has not missed two Bundesliga games in a row due to injury during his entire career in Germany since 2010. Not two in a row. In 10 years of the Bundesliga. Could this just be a coincidence? Certainly not. 

(Photo by Sebastian Widmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Why is Robert Lewandowski virtually never injured? The basis for this lies in his early childhood. He was born into a sports family in 1988. Both his parents were PE teachers and nationally and internationally successful Polish athletes at the time. His mother played volleyball in the first Polish league, his father was a European youth champion in judo and also played professional football in the second Polish league. His sister also plays volleyball and was a member of the Polish U21 national team. Although Lewandowski quickly developed his love of football and started to play organised club football at an early age, his father considered it very important that he receive a comprehensive athletic education that went beyond just football. So next to football, he also played volleyball and received an extensive gymnastics education. When he was already a star, Lewandowski himself said in an interview once that it was his childhood gymnastics lessons in particular that crucially helped him develop the remarkable flexibility and agility we can today observe week after week in the Bundesliga.

His mobility and deep understanding of his body certainly contribute to his freedom from injury, but just as important is the extremely professional attitude with which he pursues his profession. His ex-coach Pep Guardiola once said that Lewandowski was the most professional footballer he had ever met. All he would think about was the right food, sleep and training, 24 hours a day. He would always be there and never be injured because he focused on such things. He would always know what he had to do to be in the best physical and mental condition.

Lewandowski’s wife (Anna) also plays an important role in this context. She is a professional Polish Karateka and has won numerous national and international titles at various levels. She is also a nutrition expert and graduated fitness coach and advises her husband extensively on training and nutrition issues. She is the inspiration and driving force behind Lewandowski’s obsession with his diet that Guardiola so keenly observed. Lewandowski’s commitment to proper eating may best be illustrated by the amusing anecdote that he always eats his dessert first because the digestive system can process sweet stuff faster than proteins. Therefore if he were to eat sweets after proteins, his digestive tract would already be blocked by the slower proteins and the speed advantage would be lost. He also avoids cow’s milk because it makes him lethargic and although he is a self-described “chocaholic”, he has now almost completely eliminated the consumption of chocolate from his life.

In their house, the Lewandowskis have their own fitness studio (of course), where the two regularly work out together. Because, naturally, Lewandowski does not stop with his official training sessions he gets at the club. In addition to his private workouts to strengthen his physical constitution and agility, Lewandowski also conducts regular mental training sessions so that he is able to concentrate better in the decisive split seconds in front of goal.

Lewandowski’s ambition

What makes Lewandowski the extraordinary footballer he is – in addition to his phenomenal physical constitution, mental stability, and focus on an appropriate lifestyle – is without doubt his unbelievable drive and ambition. When he was 16 years old, his father, who was his most important sports mentor and the driving force behind Lewandowski’s still somewhat indecisive career as a footballer at the time, died. Suddenly he, the young Robert, was the man in the house. He made the pledge to his mother and sister that he would repay all the time and effort his father had invested in him in his lifetime and would succeed as a professional footballer. That was in 2005. In 2006 he started his official professional career with a Polish first division team. After a stint with another club in Poland, he moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2010. Although at first he still had to accept a role as a substitute behind Lucas Barrios and Mario Götze in attack, he nevertheless had a high goal rate right from the start and soon made himself indispensable. The rest, as they say, is history. Wherever he played, whoever the competition, he always worked hard, made his mark and quickly became irreplaceable. The roots for this lie in his upbringing in a very ambitious and competitive sports family coupled with the loss of his father at an early age, which did not break him, but instead served to grow his ambition, desire, and determination.

Another anecdote that illustrates Lewandowski’s ambitious personality is that in 2017, after 10 years of part-time study, he finally obtained his bachelor degree at the Warsaw Sports University – with himself as the topic: “RL9 – The Way to Glory”, so the title of the thesis. It takes a special kind of will and determination to create and successfully complete an academic thesis in parallel to a career as a professional footballer with all its obligations in the modern age. On the one hand, the fact that he has made himself the topic of his thesis is certainly due to time and research constraints, but on the other hand, it is also an expression of his – to put it gracefully – productive self-regard.

Lewandowski’s prospects

It would be fair to say that Robert Lewandowski is probably the most professional footballer on the planet alongside – or perhaps just behind – Cristiano Ronaldo: he is never injured, he organises his whole life around his football career, he trains like a fanatic, he has an intricate concept of nutrition and regeneration, he is a physical specimen (he was not called “the body” by his former teammates at Dortmund for no reason) and he is incredibly ambitious and focused.

In terms of numbers, Lewandowski will not be able to catch up to the numerous fabulous records of Christiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. For that, he began to play football at a top-level too late (when he joined Dortmund in 2010, he was already 22 years old). But at least with a view to the future, there is a good chance that he will be able to be as long-lasting as the two luminaries of world football. Both his numbers and his way of playing suggest that he is reaching the peak of his career just about now. He is 31, Messi is 32, and Ronaldo 34. It is safe to assume that Lewandowski has been genetically very generously endowed by nature. If he manages to uphold the same single-minded dedication to football as Cristiano Ronaldo does, Bayern can certainly look forward to several more years of peak Lewandowski ability.

But that is the future. For Bayern, it will be much more important that he is THE pillar of consistency and the central performer in their team at the moment.

We, at any rate, cannot get around this fact. You should seize the moments as they present themselves. And so Lewandowski is our player of the month of October.

Season update

Reserves

With the 4:1 against SC Preußen Münster the Bayern Reserves managed the long awaited escape from the relegation zone of the 3rd division. In the upcoming home game against Eintracht Braunschweig, this will enable the team to play liberated again. It is quite possible that Michael Cuisance will be used again. Recently the team appeared somewhat safer in the defensive movement than just a few weeks ago. In the long run, stability in the defense will be the decisive factor in the fight for survival in the third division.

Basketball

Over the past few weeks, the trend has continued. Although the Bayern Ballers are the very best in Germany, they continue to struggle internationally. The top game against their rival Alba Berlin was won 84:80 at home despite a weak fourth quarter. Alex King, of all players, was the best player on the court against his old colleagues with 19 points. Only two days before, however, Bayern had to suffer a severe defeat against Fenerbahçe in the race for the EuroLeague playoffs. After three tight quarters, the Turks were out in the final section. Ex-NBA star Greg Monroe’s 19 points didn’t help either.

Pep Guardiola To Bayern Munich Rumor Underlines Club’s Ambitions | Manuel Veth | Forbes

Robert Lewandowski Is More Clinical Than Cristiano Ronaldo And Lionel Messi | Daniel Marland | Sport Bible

Hansi Flick To Remain Bayern Munich Coach After Borussia Dortmund Result | Manuel Veth | Forbes

The Misery of Bayern Munich | Constantin Eckner | Spielverlagerung

Best training clubs : exclusive 2019 rankings | CIES Football Observatory

Bayern Munich’s injury woes will test an already suspect defense | Sam Planting | StatsBomb

Robert Lewandowski is still the best | Mike Goodman | StatsBomb

»Eier, wir brauchen Eier!«

— Oliver Kahn

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  1. As a bundesliga fan I acan only add that some of his goals and passes were just spectacular. It’s not only about the goals..

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