When FC Bayern München star Robert Lewandowski leads Poland out against Switzerland in the Round of 16 at UEFA EURO 2016 on Saturday he will come up against a Bundesliga-based defence - Johan Djourou, Fabian Schär and Ricardo Rodriguez - each of whom he plundered goals against in the 2015/16 Bundesliga season. Can he break his Euro duck against familiar foes in Saint-Etienne? bundesliga.com takes a closer look…
Poland progressed from Group C undefeated alongside Germany, though their two goals so far - scored against Northern Ireland and Ukraine - were converted by former Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Augsburg man Arkadiusz Milik and Borussia Dortmund-owned Jakub Blaszczykowski respectively. Despite leading scoring in qualifying with 13 strikes, Lewandowski is yet to register a shot on target in 270 minutes of football in France. However, his national team coach Adam Nawalka is unfazed.
'Not a problem'
"That Lewandowski hasn't scored yet is not a problem whatsoever," said the former Poland midfielder. "He is putting in a lot of hard work and has had a big influence on our wins and how we have played… I think he'll score in the next match."
Watch: All 30 of Lewandowski's Bundesliga goals in 2015/16
When Nawalka looks at Switzerland's likely team sheet at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard this weekend he is likely to feel vindicated in such an assertion. Lewandowski got the first of his Torjägerkanone-winning 30 league goals in 2015/16 against Hamburger SV, giving Djourou the slip in the box to score the second goal in a 5-0 victory. The 28-year-old went on to tally three goals in two games against HSV, managing the same against Schär's TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
Lewandowski's nine-minute, five-goal haul against Rodriguez's VfL Wolfsburg will live long in the memory, and when one factors in the Pole's goal against Stephan Lichtsteiner's Juventus in Bayern's 6-4 aggregate win in the UEFA Champions League in March, all-told Lewandowski scored an incredible 14 goals against Switzerland's first-choice back four last season.
Watch: Relive Lewandowski's five-goal haul against Wolfsburg
Perhaps the Swiss defence is greater than the sum of its parts? Rated 15th in the FIFA World Rankings, Switzerland were undefeated in Group A, conceding just a single goal - a penalty against Romania - to qualify for the knock-out stages alongside hosts France. They will also take solace from the fact that goalkeeper Yann Sommer had a 100 percent record against Lewandowski last season, even if Bayern managed four goals from other sources in two games against his club, Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Weight of history
Poland have the better head-to-head record against Switzerland, winning three of their nine meetings to date, with the lone Swiss victory coming back in 1976 - the year before 58-year-old Nawalka made his international debut.
Lewandowski now has over double the caps Nawalka managed in his career, and the coach is full of admiration for his star player. "He's incredibly important for us," he concluded. "He's a player who can help us. It's just a matter of time…" With form past and present on his side, it is difficult to disagree.