The Polish forward of Bayern Munich, Robert Lewandowski, gave an interview to the German edition of Kicker, in which he spoke about his scoring achievement, as well as much more.
– I congratulate you on your victory, the title of top scorer, and, above all, on your historical number of goals. 40 goals – the goal is fulfilled, or did you expect more?
– A record is always something special for every athlete. And these 40 goals are so legendary that I still do not fully understand that I am on a par with such a legend as Gerd Müller. However, I wanted to break this record and surpass it by at least one goal. This step was my goal. But 40 goals make me proud of myself. I could not have dreamed that in one season you can score so many goals.
– Müller said that of all his records, 40 goals scored were the most important for him. Is it also for you?
– I cannot yet assess the significance of this achievement for my future life. Even a 40-goal moment is already something special. Until now, it was simply unthinkable for me that I would be able to reach this mark, although I always give my all until the end of the season to see what the final result will be. I was aware of the debate about whether I was worthy of surpassing the historical record of Gerd Müller or not.
– What do you think about this?
“I know that Gerd Müller made a historic achievement, and with his celebration in Freiburg, he showed how much I value his name. I really respect Mueller. He set this mark in 1971/72. Then it was a different world, a different football, a different generation. Almost 50 years later, together with Bayern Munich we have created something new, and also made history. I want to thank my team for this.
– When you were named German footballer of the year in August 2020, you said in an interview with our publication that 40 goals cannot be your goal for the future, because the preparation was too intense. Have you underestimated yourself?
– I just could not believe that such a number of goals could be achieved.
– You also said then that 40 goals is only possible if you score three or four goals in three or four games. Did you feel in the third round against Hertha, when you scored four times, that the record could be something real this season?
– No, I didn’t even think about it then. The first time I looked at the stats was before the last game at the international break. Who was the match with? Mainz?
– Against Stuttgart…
– Exactly. I scored three goals and thought, okay, there are still many games ahead. But then he got a knee injury, missed four games and thought that after this break, the rhythm might drop and that it would be extremely difficult to break the record. But then the game with Borussia Mönchengladbach followed.
– Three goals again …
“And they strengthened my confidence in this achievement. I’ve played 29 games this season, so you had to score three or four goals in three or four games to get to 40.
– There were four goals scored by “Hertha”, three goals by “Eintracht”, “Borussia” Dortmund, “Stuttgart” and “Borussia” Mönchengladbach.
– Yes, I can really be proud of this achievement. I’m happy with how things turned out in the Bundesliga.
– What was the most important goal for you? Penalty kick in Freiburg turning 40?
– In any case, it was a special moment, because the whole situation was truly emotional. Of course, because he made it possible to achieve an extraordinary figure, so this penalty was special.
– Were you nervous before hitting?
– Yes, I was a little nervous, because I knew that I was one step away from an important event. I felt indescribable emotions inside myself. I had only one thought: I cannot lose concentration even by one percent, because this was one of the most important moments in my life. I wanted to write another chapter in the success story with this generation of Bayern Munich. I was so close to this gate, and yet so far from it.
– How did you feel at the moment when the ball that you scored crossed the line?
– This is pure joy, like ecstasy. When you see the ball flying towards the goal and crossing the line, it is a moment of bliss, as well as a little pride that you have scored a goal. Everything is tense inside, exultation outside. In those two or three seconds, you are enjoying what you just did. There you have a tremendous sense of happiness. Emotions cannot be described.
– Goals are regularly checked since the VAR was introduced. It takes seconds or minutes. Does this expectation annoy you? Or do you feel extra stress and motivation?
– The only thing that annoys is when you have already scored a goal, and then it is canceled. With the score 3: 2 in the game with Borussia Dortmund a goal was scored with his head. I thought that nothing could happen there, but it was canceled. Or if a goal doesn’t count because of a foul or handball ten seconds earlier, then it’s not fun at all. However, in general, video replays have a good effect on the game, because modern football is so fast that the human eye cannot see everything at once.
– You have not scored in four games in which you were on the field: 1: 4 in Hoffenheim, where you were substituted already in the 57th minute; 1-1 at home against Werder Bremen; 3-3 against RB Leipzig and in a 1-0 win against Hertha. What went wrong with them?
– There are such games, m it’s not bad. One player cannot score in every game. It’s impossible.
– You were injured in four games. How many goals would you have scored if you played?
– There is no point in thinking about it. It is logical that four more matches would give a great chance for more goals, but they would not guarantee them in any way.
– Is there one or more missed opportunities that you still think about that come to you in bad dreams?
“I don’t let missed opportunities bother me so much. Take the same situation in Freiburg …
… where you missed the chance to hit the goal from one meter in order to increase the score to 41 goals. What happened there?
– I explained it to myself as follows: it is simply impossible to completely break such a record of 40 goals in one day. To be on par with Gerd Müller is already a special achievement.
How do you react when you miss a great opportunity?
– The sooner you get this situation out of your head, the better. It is impossible for you to think too long or wind yourself up for this reason. If you think too long, you lose concentration. And the next chance might happen in ten or twenty seconds. It’s part of football. The important thing for attackers is that if you miss something, you always need to be prepared for the next chance. No one can realize a goal from all the possibilities that he has for the game.
– Are post-match penalties cool for you, because you almost always score anyway?
– Not that I’m cool at this. It’s just that a football player should always focus on the goal. And from the penalty spot, the batter’s chance is always greater than that of the goalkeeper.
– You converted eight penalties, only Hertha goalkeeper Rune Yarstein managed to cope in the game in Berlin. How did this miracle happen?
– I didn’t hit too well, wrong.
– You won everything, and you are world-class footballers. Are you still plagued by thoughts of self-doubt sometimes?
– Heads are always expected from the attackers. No matter how well you play, the challenge is always to score as many goals as possible. If I meet these requirements, I will be able to play at the highest level. This is a fact. Two or three goals are as important as the team’s victory. I can also perform well when I play for the team. For example, when I stop in front, “grabbing” two opponents with me, and my teammates are free to score a goal.
– They say that you are concerned about the fact that the bosses of “Bavaria” allegedly want to see Erling Holland in the role of the future striker of the team. This is true?
– Not. I’m not interested in transfer rumors.
– In your first Bundesliga season, 2010/11 season, you scored 8 goals for Borussia Dortmund. You were 25th in the top scorers list and Mario Gomez scored the most with 28 goals for Bayern Munich. Today you have the sixth highest goal rate in the league. What has happened in these ten years?
– If I compare the first year with the last two, then the number of goals scored by me shows that I have become a different player. I learned a lot here and grew up here. The first ten months in Germany were difficult
– adapting to life and football. I had to do a lot myself, which required a lot of effort. Under the leadership of Jurgen Klopp, I wanted to show that I am better than others, and I gave my best in every workout. Accordingly, I was tired, and it took me three or four months before I regained strength. The team was already at a high level, so I had to gain experience and patience.
– What goals and dreams did you pursue?
– First, I needed to get acquainted with life in Germany. The then 21-year-old and the one who will soon turn 33 are completely different people living in different worlds.
– Has Germany become a kind of home for you?
– Are you talking about this with a question? Yes, I have lived here for so long and I know a lot of people. I feel good here. And for me, home is, as a rule, the place where my family lives.
– What can you, as a footballer, do today that you could not do then?
– I have matured tactically and become smarter, better technically, plus I have a different concentration. You cannot compare me to the way I was in the past. Now I am a completely different footballer.
– Now you play a lot more, getting out of the depths, breaking into the penalty area at maximum speed and deftly eluding your opponent. Do you agree with this rough analysis?
– Yes. I have more experience now. For example, perfect interaction with Thomas Müller contributes to this. I know who this guy is and what his thoughts are at certain points. That’s why I can react one step ahead and be where the ball goes. We understand each other without words.
– Has your idea of yourself changed? Can you say that I am Robert Lewandowski and know how good I am?
– Of course, self-confidence is very different from what it was ten or eight years ago. And yet you have to prove your skills, level and repeat your best results every day, in every game, in every workout – no matter how good you are.
– In the 2014/15 season, Alexander Meyer won the top scorer title with 19 goals. You had 17 goals and you finished second. Pep Guardiola replaced you in the 73rd minute with Claudio Pizarro. You then said that you were “a little” surprised by this change, because a lot could have happened in 20 minutes. Would you also react to such a situation today?
– Now more of a good player and teammate than a scorer. What I am doing today on the pitch, I did not do it then. In this regard, my attitude will not be repeated today, so such words from me would never be heard.
– Football is a team sport, but there is a slightly different attitude for the forwards from this side. How selfish should a striker, top scorer be?
– It is difficult to give an exact figure. I think 60 to 70 percent is selfish, 30 to 40 percent is a team player.
– Since when did you feel like a leader on the field?
– I’ve grown as a person in recent years. The fact that I became a father also changed my life, my thinking. What I had not noticed before, now I began to see more clearly. My perception has changed dramatically in many ways.
– You came to the Bundesliga as an unknown player, today you are a world-class football player, a real star. How has your life changed?
– My name is known a little more today than before. As a person, I learned something new and became more experienced. However, the guy who was then and now hasn’t changed much. It doesn’t matter who you become or who you are. The most important thing is to always know where you are from, and I have never forgotten where I am from.
– You have a completely normal appearance, without any extravagant manifestations, i.e. tattoos or extravagant hairstyles. Do you prefer to be a “silent” star?
– Yes. I don’t just think about what is happening now, but I also watch what will happen in ten or twenty years. I look at the world a little wider. Other people’s problems are also my problems. If you just look around, the beauty of life is simplicity. It is not only about the present, but also about the future.
– You stopped celebrating goals in the style of “Pistolero”, and now clench your fists. Why and where did this gesture come from?
– Spontaneously changed my celebration, my friends liked it. There is no big story behind this .
– How do you rate the 2020/21 season for Bayern?
– Perfection never happens. But difficult moments show character. This season we have shown it in matches with “Gerta” (1: 0), “Borussia” Dortmund (3: 2) and “Bayer” (2: 1). The character led us to the championship.
– One title with the team is enough for you?
– The only thing that is offensive at the end of the season is that due to an injury I had to hold the Champions League quarterfinals against PSG, sitting on the couch. I could not do anything and help the team in any way.
– Could Bayern have reached the semifinals if Lewandowski was on the field?
– I would definitely fight for it to the end. And if that weren’t enough, it would still be better for than just sitting and watching the team in such games. Not being able to be and help them hurts.
– You came to Munich in 2014 to win titles and, above all, the Champions League. Since then, you have become the champion and three-time winner of the German Cup seven times, and in 2020 you took the Champions League. You won all titles with your team. So your work with Bayern Munich is over?
– I have not yet decided on this.
– Doesn’t it get boring at some point to always be the champion and score the most goals in the league?
– Not for me.
– At the upcoming European Championship, Poland will play in a group with Sweden, Spain and Slovakia. What are your country’s chances in the tournament?
– First of all, we must be in good shape and just show a good game. The whole country is looking at us.
– Do you, the current top scorer, have a new goal – to score more goals in this tournament?
– I know that I have to give our team a lot of energy so that the team plays well. Collective performance comes first.
– Lionel Messi scored 50 goals for Barcelona in 2011/12, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 48 for Real Madrid in 2014/15. What are you missing to reach such a mark?
– For this I need four more games that are in Spain. This is a big difference.
– Gerd Müller has scored 365 goals in the Bundesliga. In the past five years, you have scored an average of 31 goals per season. Now you have scored 277 goals. After some calculations, you will need three more seasons in Germany to get ahead of Müller. Are you ready to catch up with Gerd here too?
– I have not yet thought about the 365 goals of Gerd Müller. This goal is so far away, and still not in my head and plan.
– Are you already looking forward to the next award – the Golden Boot?
– The gap is good. The fact is that 18 teams play in the Bundesliga, I have four matches less than my opponents from England, Spain, Italy and France. That is why I am proud of my position. The fact that the number 4 is in front of my double-digit number of goals is something special. You can savor this result.
– In addition, you have already received the “bombardier cannon” for the sixth time. Gerd Müller brought her seven times. Do you still have something to compete with?
– (Laughs) I didn’t know that Gerd Müller won it so often.
And you what do you think about Robert Lewandowski personality and his accomplishments ?