Robert Lewandowski realised a childhood dream in the summer of 2014 when he joined FC Bayern München
Robert Lewandowski realised a childhood dream in the summer of 2014 when he joined FC Bayern München

Leading the Bayern line

Even when he was born on 21 August 1988, Robert Lewandowski's parents - both former professional athletes themselves - perhaps had an inkling their son would go on to become a top-class sportsman.

'Most exciting Polish player in years'

Bearing foreign journalists in mind for the future, they avoided any Polish tongue-twisters such as Andrzej or Grzegorz, choosing to name their son the more internationally user-friendly Robert.

After working his way up through the Polish leagues, Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp was sufficiently impressed with the then 21-year-old that he sanctioned "the most difficult transfer that we've ever put together" for "the most exciting Polish player of the last ten or 15 years" in 2010. Lewandowski's progress into BVB's first team was initially hampered by the impressive form of fellow forward Lucas Barrios, but an injury to the Paraguayan international gave him his big chance and did not look back.

The 2011/12 campaign really saw Lewandowski emerge centre-stage and his 22 league goals were integral to the Yellow-Blacks' retention of their Bundesliga crown. The icing on the cake came in the form of a season-ending hat-trick in the 5-2 DFB Cup final victory over FC Bayern München. Lewandowski also boasts success on the international front and since marking his debut for Poland in September 2008 with a goal, has gone on to become an established first-choice for his country, scoring against Greece on home soil in the opening game of UEFA Euro 2012.

Instant hit in Bavaria

If possible, 2012/13 was an even better season for Lewandowski. He finished on 24 league goals and also bagged a dozen in the Champions League, including four against Real Madrid CF in the semi-final first leg. He suffered defeat to Bayern in Wembley's final, but bounced back to become the Bundesliga's top scorer of the 2013/14 season with 20 goals.

He agreed a transfer to Bayern in the summer of 2014 and his debut season has also been one of success. He netted home and away against former club Borussia and, looking to respond to that disappointment in 2013, has helped the club to the last four of the Champions League, where the Reds face FC Barcelona.