Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: Robert Lewandowski hoping to hand Dortmund a glittering parting gift

 

There are a few managers who might have signed Robert Lewandowski. But for the Icelandic ash cloud that cancelled his flight, he might have joined Sam Allardyce at Blackburn. He was offered to Roberto Martinez at Wigan, who since Lewandowski had three agents representing him, was unsure what precisely was on the table.

After he had played the game of his life, becoming the first man ever to score four goals in a European fixture against Real Madrid and the first in any European Cup semi-final, his representatives became busier.

After the 4-1 rout of Madrid in the Westfalenstadion, he would never be worth more. He had been called by the Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, and invited by Lionel Messi to play alongside him in a benefit game. Lewandowski was 24 and his contract with Borussia Dortmund had 14 months to run. The club had known for some time that it would not be renewed. His manager, Jürgen Klopp, had described the loss of Mario Götze, perhaps the single best young talent in German football, as “like having a heart attack”. He had long known that Lewandowski would leave.

However, when it was disclosed that he was thinking of joining Götze at Bayern Munich, the thought of the Bundesliga’s best striker pairing up with the club that had just won the championship with a goal difference of plus 80 was met with alarm.

The Dortmund general manager, Hans-Joachim Watzke, the man who steered the club from the edge of bankruptcy to the championship, reportedly told Lewandowski that he could go anywhere provided it was not to Munich. Lewandowski’s stock answer is that he will decide his future in the summer, although the fact that his agents – he is now down to two – have been invited to Bayern’s post-match party did not go down well on the Ruhr.

Yet that is not to say Lewandowski will not shine at Wembley. The last time he faced Bayern in a final – last season’s German Cup – he scored three times. Those goals, like all his important ones, were dedicated to his father, who played judo for a living and died of a stroke when Robert was 16. His mother and sister played volleyball. His fiancée, Anna Stachurska, won bronze in the karate World Cup and looks glamorous enough to feature in the next James Bond film. Sport is in his blood.

In the build-up he has been defiant: “I know precisely what I need to motivate myself,” he said. “Reading quotes from other people doesn’t count for anything. Once I lift the cup in London, everything will become clear. We are the worst opponents Bayern could have.”

His position is not that different from Kevin Keegan’s when he went into the 1977 European Cup final knowing it would be his last match for Liverpool. Keegan so tormented Berti Vogts that the defender decided to abandon Borussia Mönchengladbach’s post-match party, which had become a wake, to pay his respects.

Many have hesitated over buying Lewandowski but those who have signed him have always been rewarded. When Lech Poznan’s manager, Franciszek Smuda, paid a visit to Znicz Pruszkow, the Third Division club where the then 20-year-old was plying his trade, he turned to the man who had tipped him off and shouted: “You owe me petrol money.” Smuda eventually signed Lewandowski and made rather more than petrol money – £3.6m – when Klopp, having delayed a bid by a year because he thought the forward too fragile for the Bundesliga, brought him to Dortmund.

Lewandowski’s first professional contract was worth 1,500 zloty a month – about £280. If he looks grasping now, he has come a long way from Leszno, the village 17 miles west of Warsaw where he grew up.

After making it big, he drove back to Leszno. The car had a big ribbon around it and was a present for his mother. Dortmund are hoping for a farewell gift of their own, also with ribbons coloured yellow and black.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence