'He released that striker's instinct in me' – Lewandowski praises former boss Klopp
The Polish goal-machine played under the German at Borussia Dortmund and says the former BVB boss helped him to realise his potential
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski has credited former boss Jurgen Klopp for enabling him to develop into one of Europe’s most feared strikers.
Klopp signed Lewandowski as a 22-year-old from Polish side Lech Poznan in the summer of 2010.
The Poland international would spend four successful seasons at Signal Iduna Park, with Klopp building a Dortmund side that competed both at home and abroad.
Lewandowski won the Bundesliga title in his first two seasons at the club before lifting the German Cup in his third.
He was also part of the side that was beaten by Bayern Munich in the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley.
Lewandowski was one of the continent’s top strikers by the time he left for Bayern Munich in the summer of 2014, having scoring 103 goals in 187 appearances for Dortmund.
He has since gone on to win a further eight major trophies at Bayern, including four consecutive Bundesliga titles, and earn more than 100 caps for Poland.
Reflecting on his career so far the 30-year-old has praised Klopp, who left Dortmund for Liverpool in 2015, for turning him into the player he is today.
“I think what I learnt from him is the belief that I could play at the highest level. He released that striker’s instinct in me,” Lewandowski told Goal and DAZN. “I didn’t know that I still had so much potential inside of me. He saw something in me that I couldn’t see.
“When we spoke about it and I heard this for the first time, it really meant a lot to me. I have to be thankful to him because of what we achieved together at Borussia Dortmund. We grew together, and it’s led me to where I am today.”
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Bayern host Klopp’s Liverpool in the second leg of their Champions League tie on Wednesday with the score goalless after last month’s meeting at Anfield.
Lewandowski is predicting the return encounter to be just as tight; placing even more pressure on forward players such as himself to take any chance that comes their way.
“In the Champions League at a stage where you only have two games, fear is always in the back of your mind,” he added. “We will play very offensively but both teams have strong defences so it won’t be easy to create many chances. If there is one opportunity you have to be prepared to take it and I hope that we will be ready.”