Munich - The 2014 FIFA World Cup has grabbed the attention of football fans around the globe, but while FC Bayern München’s stars are shining on the world stage, closer to home the Bundesliga titleholders kicked off their pre-season preparations in style by unveiling their new No.9 Robert Lewandowski.
Big shoes to fill
“After four years at Dortmund it was time to take the next step in my career,” explained last season's Bundesliga top goalscorer, before underlining his unwavering desire to strive for improvement and, above all, excellence. “I learnt a lot from [Borussia Dortmund head coach] Jürgen Klopp, but I think [Bayern tactician] Pep Guardiola can still show me a thing or two.”
Already touted as one of the most feared strikers in world football, the Polish international is hoping to earn his place alongside the club’s greats such as Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummennigge. “I know what it means to play for FC Bayern,” said the 25-year-old. “Every season we're expected to win trophies, but I’m confident we’ll be able to do just that. Bayern are a top club.”
With a record of scoring 103 times in 187 appearances in all competitions for former club Dortmund, the two-time Bundesliga champion needs little introduction, and he is now eager truly to establish himself at the pinnacle of his profession with the side that completed a domestic double last season. “FC Bayern are the standard setters,” admitted Lewandowski. “I joined this club because I knew I could improve as a player here.”
Though Pep Guardiola’s preferred style of play suggests he favours a nominal forward as opposed to a traditional striker, Lewandowski could provide the final piece of the Catalan’s possession-based hybrid puzzle. “His style of play is flexible and multi-faceted,” enthused sporting director Matthias Sammer. “His performances for Dortmund were exceptional even after the deal was done [in January]. That’s the wood that champions are carved from.”
Lewandowski is well aware that he will “need time to adapt” to Guardiola’s style of play, with Sammer keen to impress upon the assembled media that the record titleholders wouldn’t be expecting “miracles”, but would instead be easing him through the transition “step-by-step”. However, born of his footballing education at BVB, such is the confidence of the complete striker that he doesn’t believe “it'll be a big problem meeting Pep's expectations”.
'Ready to start winning titles'
Heralded as “one of the world’s best strikers” by club CEO Rummenigge, the 25-year-old often proved to be a thorn in Bayern’s side, notably in Dortmund’s 5-2 DFB Cup win back in 2012, but is now ready to turn the tables. “It’s a new chapter in my book,” said Lewandowski, who benefitted from not having to travel to Brazil this summer. “I feel really good. I had a lovely holiday and now my batteries are fully charged.”
The opening game of FC Bayern’s 2014/15 campaign pits Lewandowski against his former club in the DFL Supercup on 13 August , and true to his ambitious nature the Pole can’t wait to get started. “It will be an incredibly special game for me,” concluded Lewandowski. “I had four fantastic years in Dortmund, but now I’m ready to give my all for FC Bayern München and win titles.”
James Thorogood reporting from Säbener Straße
Find out even more about Robert Lewandowski's first day at his new club on the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: