Bayern Munich and Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowski is arguably the best out-and-out number nine in the world. Season upon season the 29-year-old has been deadly in front of goal.
Lewandowski has also proven deadly for Poland, as he is his country’s all-time record goalscorer with 52 goals in 93 appearances. He became Poland’s record goalscorer in qualifying for this summer’s World Cup, scoring 16 goals in qualifying. Not only did it propel the Red and Whites to the finals, it was also a record tally in European qualifying.
No doubt Lewandowski will be one to watch when the World Cup starts in just under a week’s time, as Poland are in a group alongside Senegal, Colombia and Japan in Group H, on paper the most open group in Russia.
Not lived-up to expectations at tournaments
International tournaments should have been Lewandowski’s chance to reinforce his reputation as one of the world’s best strikers. However, Russia 2018 will be Poland’s first World Cup appearance since 2006.
However, Adam Nawalka’s side has qualified for the last two European Championships. Big expectations were placed on the shoulders of the highly-rated Lewandowski at both tournaments.
However, the striker struggled to make an impact in both. The Bayern star has just one tournament goal to his name, having scored his teams opening goal at Euro 2012.
In fact, at Euro 2016, he failed to have a shot on target until the knockout stages against Switzerland, which is incredible for a player of his quality.
Normally a contender for the Golden Boot
The fact that Lewandowski has scored over 40 goals in each of the last three seasons in club football and top scored in qualifying should make the striker one of the main contenders to win the Golden Boot in Russia.
However, Lewandowski is odds of 33/1 to win the award this summer. Those odds are mainly based on Poland’s chances of advancing deep into the competition.
The Eastern European country is unlikely to get to the latter stages of the competition, which means that the number of games that Lewandowski is likely to play at the finals is restricted. That obviously means less chance of scoring goals.
There are other factors to Lewandowski’s long odds, such as the quality of his rivals at the World Cup. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are always going to be favourites to win the award at big tournaments.
The likes of Messi and Neymar also have a more talented supporting cast to aid them in their efforts to win the coveted award. Poland has a decent team but do not have as many players capable of creating chances as Argentina or Brazil. Whether Lewandowski’s struggles in his previous tournament appearances have had an effect on the odds is unclear.
Poland a good chance to qualify from Group H
While Poland are unlikely to make the latter stages of the competition, they have a good chance to make it out of their group. Poland are favourites alongside Colombia in Group H to make the knockout stages in Russia.
Lewandowski and co. impressed in qualifying, but they have done in previous campaigns too, so qualifying is not always a good gauge of a team’s tournament chances.
The forwards goals were the key to Poland securing their spot at this summer’s finals. If ever there was a man that carried one nation’s hopes on his shoulders then it is Robert Lewandowski. He is Poland’s talisman, icon and seven-time Player of the Year.
The Bayern Munich star is also the complete striker, whose ability to find the net is arguably the best in the world. Lewandowski does not need to produce on the world footballs biggest stage to prove his scoring prowess.
However, if his national side is to have any hope of making the latter stages of the World Cup this summer then Lewandowski has to show up and be at his best.