Munich - Seven players from the Bundesliga have made the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013 award. Although FC Bayern München dominate the list of nominees from Germany's top flight, one Borussia Dortmund player is just as worthy a candidate as any of Bayern's array of stars.
Robert Lewandowski's current reputation as one of the hottest properties in world football is in no small part due to his considerable goalscoring exploits during the 2012/13 campaign.
The 25-year-old found the net on 24 occasions in the Bundesliga last season - only Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Stefan Kießling scored more often in the league. The Polish star also proved that he has a keen eye for a pass and, with eight assists to his name, played a part in over a third of die Schwarzgelben's Bundesliga goals last term.
However, it was in the the UEFA Champions League where Lewandowski's prolific nature truly came to the fore: he banged in ten goals in Europe’s premier club competition last season, second only to Real Madrid CF’s Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star may still be having nightmares of Lewandowski's devastating display in last year's semi-final clash between the two sides, in which he became the first ever player to score four goals in a single game at that stage of the competition.
"That’s why we love him"
"I scored four goals once – in 1990 against Erfurt," joked Dortmund head coach Jürgen Klopp after the 4-1 victory at Signal Iduna Park. "He proved how important a player he is for us. That’s why we love him." Dortmund’s 2012/13 Champions League journey may have ended with a narrow defeat to Bayern at Wembley in May, but Lewandowski's contribution in getting them there in the first place cannot be underestimated.
He has picked up where he left off last season, having scored nine goals in 12 league matches so far in 2013/14, whilst also netting the winner in BVB's Champions League victory over Arsenal FC. Dortmund’s lack of silverware last season may count against the Pole in the race for the Ballon d’Or, but you'll be hard-pressed to find an out-and-out striker who is more deserving of the grand prize than Robert Lewandowski.
The Bundesliga's other men in contention for the Ballon d'Or 2013:
See more of the Bundesliga's Polish record-breaker on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: