Munich - FC Bayern München striker Robert Lewandowski is currently the most in-form front man in world football. In the first of a two-part exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, he insists Bayern face a fight to win an unprecedented fourth successive league title, and explains how he is trying to keep his head while all around are losing theirs over his record-breaking goalscoring form.
The prolific former Borussia Dortmund forward has hit an unprecedented purple patch at the start of the 2015/16 campaign having scored 16 goals in 10 competitive appearances for Bayern, sending Bundesliga records tumbling and leaving team-mates, opponents and fans breathless.
Despite the excitement his feats are generating, the 27-year-old is keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground and, talking in an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, discussed the secret behind his success, the importance of not letting his form go to his head, and whether or not the Bundesliga title race has already reached a conclusion.
bundesliga.com: Hello Robert Lewandowski, or would it be better if we called you 'Superman' or 'Terminator'?
Lewandowski: [laughs] Who calls me that?
bundesliga.com: Certain Polish newspapers were referring to you that way in light of how many goals you've been scoring. Which role suits you better?
Lewandowski: I'll tell you something. The biggest challenge for a professional sportsman is to never feel that way. The minute you don't manage to do that, you'll be reminded that you're not that special in the very next game. It's much better to be a down-to-earth human being who does his job to the best of his abilities.
bundesliga.com: Does that mean that the man who is firing in goals for fun and being praised the world over can't really enjoy his form?
Lewandowski: Maybe that's the case, but let me counter with a question of my own. Have you ever seen a footballer, who after eight Matchdays, breaks out in celebration and goes partying?
bundesliga.com: 1-0 to you! But all fun aside, how do you distance yourself from all the hype?
Lewandowski: By doing just that, distancing myself from it. The only thing I'm concentrating on is the path I'm treading. The next game is the next challenge. When you're playing a game every couple of days, you can't fill your head with all the fantastic praise and headlines. Furthermore, my goals are always the goals of my team.
bundesliga.com: It's hard to believe that you manage to constantly remain calm and collected?
Lewandowski: My experience of the situation helps. I had a run of form similar to this at Borussia Dortmund, too. I think I scored something like 12 goals in 12 consecutive games, including in the UEFA Champions League against Real Madrid. But I noticed it back then as well, every game starts all over again, so it starts from scratch. It's a thought process that helps me a lot.
'Won't make same mistakes'
bundesliga.com: So there's no secret behind your success?
Lewandowski: Perhaps it's the realisation that lots of little things that you've got to pull together are the ones that count. Football isn't just limited to playing football. For instance, when I was 18, I realised I was lacking the strength to be able to play at a higher level. Especially important for me is the recovery process, because football is work and I've got to fight for space and chances. That works best when I'm feeling good.
bundesliga.com: Do you feel like you're at the pinnacle of your career?
Lewandowski: How do you define 'the pinnacle'? Perhaps that's the case, but that's not what it's about for me. I'm 27 years old and am trying, if this is the peak, to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. Moreover, winning trophies is part of being at the top of the game.
bundesliga.com: Last season, everyone talked of FC Bayern's costly complacency after clinching the title so early…
Lewandowski: …if that was the case then we now know not to allow ourselves to make the same mistake this year.
bundesliga.com: For a lot of people, the 2015/16 Bundesliga title race is pretty much done and dusted...
Lewandowski: I'm of another opinion. We might have an advantage at the moment, but I don't believe teams like Borussia Dortmund, VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer 04 Leverkusen don't stand a chance. The Bundesliga remains a challenge for us.