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Robert Lewandowski: The Borussia Dortmund years


Robert Lewandowski is enjoying a record-breaking spell in front of goal for Bayern Munich, but it was at Borussia Dortmund where the two-time The Best FIFA Men's Player took giant strides towards becoming the best No.9 of his generation. bundesliga.com recounts LewanGOALski's BVB years...

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Lewandowski, now 33, arrived at Dortmund under a cloud of volcanic ash, in the summer of 2010.

An eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland grounded most of Northern Europe's flights, one of which was due to take the Lech Poznan striker to English outfit Blackburn Rovers.

Unable to reach Ewood Park, the Lewandowski made BVB's Signal Iduna Park his home instead. The fee? A bargain-basement €4.5 million.

Watch: Lewandowski's long road to the top

Although a 2009/10 Polish league winner and 18-goal top scorer with Poznan, Lewandowski played more of a bit-part role in Dortmund's triumphant 2010/11 Bundesliga campaign under Jürgen Klopp.

Between making his debut in a DFB Cup first-round win against Wacker Burghausen and lifting the Meisterschale on 14 May 2011, the Poland international turned out 43 times in all competitions, making 17 starts. He scored his first goal for his new employers in a 3-1 win over local rivals Schalke on Bundesliga Matchday 4, and was on target on his full debut against Nuremberg on Matchday 15, ending the campaign on nine goals and four assists.

He more than doubled that tally across each of his next three seasons in a Schwarzgelben shirt.

Lewandowski won his first two of nine Bundesliga titles to date with Jürgen Klopp's Borussia Dortmund. - imago sportfotodienst

Lewandowski featured in every game in 2011/12 as Dortmund successfully defended their league crown. Only Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (29) and Mario Gomez produced more than his 22 goals, among them a first Bundesliga hat-trick and six braces. He also propelled BVB to DFB Cup glory with a tournament-leading seven goals, including a hat-trick against Bayern in the final.

Twenty-four goals in 31 appearances the following season were not enough to stop a resurgent Bayern reclaiming the Bundesliga title, but 10 in 13 UEFA Champions League outings made the rest of Europe stand up and take notice.

Lewandowski's six goals had propelled Dortmund to a semi-final showdown with Real Madrid. Four strikes in one semi-final first leg swoop all but sealed their place in the final.

Lewandowski is the only player in Champions League history to put three or more single-game goals past Real Madrid. - 2013 AFP

Dortmund lost the final 2-1 to Bayern, and would soon lose their star striker to the freshly minted treble winners.

In January 2014, Lewandowski signed a pre-contract agreement to join the Bavarians on a free transfer, with his BVB deal up at the end of 2014/15.

He finished his Dortmund chapter with a flurry of 20 Bundesliga goals - enough for his first of six Torjägerkanonen to date - and further runners-up finishes to his future employers in the league and cup.

In 370 Bayern outings since his departure, Lewandowski has rattled off some 341 goals, adding to his 103 strikes in 187 competitive appearances for BVB, whilst breaking all manner of scoring records.

"He came as [a] class striker and leaves as [a] world-class striker," reviewed Klopp of the Bundesliga's all-time leading non-German marksman, whose apex-predator qualities were honed over four goal-filled years in Dortmund.