KLOPP FACTOR: The gamble and talk that changed Robert Lewandowski’s career

The current photo of Robert Lewandowski is unbeatable. The Bayern Munich striker who won 5 of 5 titles in one year. The center forward who won the FIFA The Best award in the days of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The best 9 in the world.

But, to settle at the top, he had to overcome many obstacles.

He was rejected for his physical complexion and also, in his youth stage, he suffered an injury that put his progression at risk. Fortunately, and thanks to the support of his mother, he remained in the fight and was able to become a professional footballer.

In Poland, after recovering from that physical problem, things flowed wonderfully. Goals and more goals. Then, he had to take the leap of football of the highest demand. He received a lot of offers. He, on the advice of his parents, trusted his instincts. Boom. Borussia Dortmund.

The beginning was tough. But he was fortunate to meet an ideal mentor: Jürgen Klopp. Almost a decade has passed since that stage, but Lewy do not forget those years. Remember, with a special affection, a bet and a chat with the now Liverpool manager.

Of those moments that change everything.


LEWANDOWSKI’S BET AND TALK WITH KLOPP (THE PLAYERS TRIBUNE)

“I once made a bet with Jürgen Klopp. It was 2010, and he had been in Borussia Dortmund for a few months. Honestly, it was tough. When I arrived, I could barely say a word in German. He knew how to say ‘danke’. Thank you. He knew what ‘scheisse’ was. The weather was rainy and gray. And with Klopp, the intensity of the training was very high. I was desperate to make my mark, and Jürgen wanted to challenge me. We made a bet. If I scored 10 goals in a training session, he would give me 50 euros. And if he didn’t score 10 goals, I would give him 50 euros. The first weeks, I had to pay him almost always. He laughed. But after a few months, the tables changed. I was the one who was collecting the money. So one day he said to me: ‘Stop! It’s enough. You are ready now ”.

“Actually, it wasn’t yet. The games are very different from the training sessions. That season, he regularly came off the bench. I played more in the second part of the season, as number 10, behind the center forward. My favorite position was always 9. Despite that, I have Jürgen to thank for those 6 months. I learned a lot about how to play lower and how footballers are supposed to move behind the striker.

“When the second season started, I was having problems. I felt that Jürgen wanted something from me, but I didn’t understand what exactly. So after a bad defeat against Marseille in the Champions League, I went to see him. I said, ‘Jürgen, let’s go. We need to talk. Just tell me what you expect of me. ‘ I can’t remember everything he told me. My German was still not the best, but from the few words I knew, and from his body language, we understood each other. We had a great talk. Three days later, I scored a hat-trick and gave an assist against Augsburg. We won 4-0 and that was the turning point for me. It was mental, a kind of obsession. And I think it had to do with my father. “

“At that time I didn’t see it like that. But then I realized that my conversation with Jürgen was like one of those that I always wanted to have with my father (Robert’s father passed away when the striker was 16 years old). One of those that I couldn’t have for many, many years. He could talk to Jürgen about anything. I could trust him. He is a family man and has a lot of empathy for what happens in your private life (…) Jürgen never forgot that first we are human and then footballers ”.


Undefeated Data. Robert Lewandowski scored 103 goals in 187 games for Borussia Dortmund. With Klopp as DT, he celebrated 4 titles, including 2 Bundesligas.


Did you know…? Robert Lewandowski was the scorer for the last Borussia Dortmund team to make it to a UEFA Champions League final. Klopp’s memorable team from the 2012/13 season.

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