Munich - After spearheading Borussia Dortmund to a Bundesliga and DFB Cup double in 2011/12, Robert Lewandowski hit fresh heights last term with an incredible four-goal haul against Real Madrid CF in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

That performance propelled the striker to the top of several major European clubs' summer shopping lists, but beyond his astonishing goalscoring exploits, little is known about the prolific Pole. did some digging...

Robert Lewandowski was born in Warsaw on 21 August, 1988. His father Krystof was a Polish Judo champion and his mother Iwona was a professional volleyball player, who played for AZS Warsaw. His sister also inherited the sporting genes and is now part of the under-21 Polish volleyball team.

The Lewandowskis rarely allowed other commitments to get in the way of their love of sport. Having to attend his first communion on the same day as a boys' football match, a young Robert managed to juggle the two, thanks to a bit of welcome efficiency on the part of the local priest and his father's, on this occasion, full-throttle approach behind the wheel. Naturally, the future BVB star was on the scoresheet later that afternoon.

Tragedy struck when, aged 16, Lewandowski lost his father. "His death was the toughest time for me," he told Bild. "Suddenly I was the man of the house and had to be a grown-up. The memory of my father still drives me on. When I do extra training, I tell myself: 'I am doing this for him' and that is great motivation." When Lewandowski scores, he stops and looks towards the sky in memory of his true muse.

Franciszek Smuda, former coach of Lech Poznan, twice went to check out the skills of a teenage Lewandowski, with surprising results. Smuda was so unimpressed that he told his scout: "You owe me petrol money. If I wanted to see trees I would have gone to the forest instead." Big mistake. Lewandowski put away goals for fun playing for third division side Znicz Pruszkow in the years that followed, earning himself an eventual move to Poznan, where his 32 goals in 58 league games took him to Borussia Dortmund in 2010.

Lewandowski scored eight goals in his first season in the Bundesliga, with one of those coming in the 2-0 win over 1. FC Nuremberg that secured the Bundesliga title for BVB in 2011. A year later, he was a regular in the starting XI, scoring 30 goals in all competitions as Dortmund wrapped up the domestic double. Lewandowski went up a gear in 2012/13, scoring 24 Bundesliga goals - a total only bettered by Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Stefan Kießling - while his ten goals in Europe, including a memorable four-goal salvo against Real Madrid, helped Dortmund to their second UEFA Champions League final.

When Lewandowski scored in the 3-1 win over 1899 Hoffenheim just before the winter break, little did he know it would be the start of a prolific streak of 14 goals in 12 consecutive games. The Poland international set a new a club record, but still fell some way short of Gerd Müller’s 16-goal haul (in successive matches) for FC Bayern in 1969/70.

For Karl-Heinz Riedle, who won the Champions League with Dortmund in 1997, Lewandowski's got it all. "His superior technique and strength means you can play him up front all on his own," Riedle said. "He shields the ball perfectly and then brings team-mates into play and he's a real poacher as well. He has all the hallmarks of a great player."

BVB team-mate Nuri Sahin's nickname for Lewandowski is "the body." "He's got an incredibly muscular physique that really surprised the whole squad," explained the Turkey international. Lewandowski once posted a picture of his rippling abs on his Facebook account: safe to say the sales figures for cold compresses went through the roof.

Like his goals, and his torso for that matter, Lewandowski's private life receives plenty of attention. The German media went nuts for the Poland striker and partner Anna Stachurska, a karate World Cup bronze medallist, when the two relocated to the Ruhr region, labelling them "the Polish Beckhams", but there was to be no Hello! wedding. The two instead opted for a private affair in Warsaw.

When Franz Beckenbauer dubbed him the most complete striker in the Bundesliga, Lewandowski articulated a typically modest response: "What Franz says makes me happy. It makes me a little proud. I am always working on my game, no matter how well I've played. I must always play better, score even more goals and win even more tackles. I can still improve every aspect of my game." The football world, you've been warned.

Compiled by Christopher Mayer-Lodge