Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has hailed Jürgen Klopp for the influence he had on his career, as he prepares to plot his downfall later this month.
The pair co-produced two of the most memorable seasons in Borussia Dortmund's recent history, as they won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012. They were separated in 2014 when Lewandowski moved to Bayern, but a bond was formed over those years which Lewandowski says he will never forget.
He will try to ignore it for 90 minutes on 19 February, though, when Bayern travel to Anfield to face a Liverpool side currently coached by Klopp in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 clash.
"I'm really looking forward to [meeting Klopp again]," Lewandowski told UEFA.com. "He was a coach who also had a very big influence on my career and I can only be thankful to him. What we did together at Dortmund and the progress we made has brought us to where we are.
"I'm delighted I was able to get to know such a coach and such a person as Jürgen because he's amazing – both as a coach and a person. I learned so much from him and that means a lot."
Under Klopp, Lewandowski fired in his first 74 Bundesliga goals and earned his first Torjägerkanone, while the pair both tasted their first Champions League final together in 2013.
It was a pivotal time in both of their careers and Lewandowski admits he learned so much from it.
"I think what I learned from him is the belief I could play at the highest level," Lewandowski said. "He had this influence and it helped me take the next step. He made me realise that I had more potential than even I had imagined. He could see something in me that I couldn't see."
Klopp has since reached another Champions League final, losing to Real Madrid last season, and Lewandowski expects him to get his Liverpool players spitting blood in their pursuit of another final – which is why the Pole will ensure Bayern are on their guard.
"I know all too well what his body language is and how he can really motivate the team and that's the next point that I learned from Jürgen: seeing how he impacted on the team, his team talks and also his body language," Lewandowski said.
"He makes you alert and willing to do more. He lives like one of us; one of the players and is 100 per cent motivated, and when you have lots of youngsters in the team like I was at Dortmund, this is something very important."