Ireland and Scotland to bear brunt of lethal Lewandowski form
With Robert Lewandoswki enjoying scintillating form in front of goal for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, the Poland international marksman’s exploits will be a cruel reminder of what could shortly be in store for the Republic of Ireland and Scotland.
Both Martin O’Neill and Gordon Strachan will undoubtedly have cast their eyes over the prolific Polish hitman’s recent record-breaking run for the German champions, having incredibly struck 12 goals in his last four games across all competitions.
Such rampant form began with a record nine-minute five-goal haul against domestic title rivals Wolfsburg during a league outing off the bench, following it up with another domestic double against Mainz and a Champions League hat-trick to inflict a heavy 5-0 defeat on Dinamo Zagreb. A recent brace over former club Borussia Dortmund was just the icing on the cake in his last outing. The dynamic Pole is now 9/2 with Coral to end up as top scorer this term in Europe’s elite club competition.
Lewandowski’s sublime Die Wolfe haul included the quickest ever hat-trick in the Bundesliga, as he also became the first player to bag five goals in 24 years. These records and accolades were added to when he reached 100 league strikes faster than any other foreigner in German top-flight history.
Having also netted for Poland in Euro 2016 qualifying encounters with Germany and Gibraltar, Lewandowski has taken his season tally to an impressive 19 goals in 13 appearances for club and country, leaving Irish and Scottish defences with a near impossible task in October.
It’s Strachan’s Scots that will have the daunting challenge of thwarting the prolific Pole next in a tightly contested Group D, with Lewandowski’s nation 9/1 to edge out current leaders Germany and finish top.
A stuttering defeat in Georgia was followed-up by a defiant loss to world champions Germany in September for the Scots; results which saw Ireland edge ahead into a play-off position and potentially see Strachan’s men derailed.
Qualifying doesn’t get any easier either, with Lewandowski set to visit Hampden Park soon and reap further attacking havoc on the home defence, one more clinical outing which could ultimately end Scotland’s hopes of securing their chance to be at the France finals.
Although, there is hope for the Scots, with their Polish match-up taking place on home soil and a final qualifying game being against group whipping boys Gibraltar following the arrival of Lewandowski. But assistant boss Mark McGhee insists they do not fear the striker anyway, despite his rampaging run.
“We have total respect for him, a fantastic player,” stated McGhee. “But we have players in form as well, players who scored at the weekend.”
“I don’t know that as a team they have improved. Lewandowski’s in form and scoring goals and has proven to be a fantastic acquisition for Bayern Munich, but in general I don’t think they’re that different from a year ago than we are.
“I don’t think they have left us behind in any way.We feel we have to match them in every area. Lewandowski is the guy they hope will get goals for them so we have to pay him attention.
“I watched the games and saw [Russell] Martin, [Stephen] Fletcher, [Leigh] Griffiths scoring goals and that’s encouraging because we know that’s going to bring them here full of confidence.
“Poland are dangerous, they will feel they can score, but I don’t think we intend to do anything different than we’ve done until now. We’ll still be very difficult to beat.
O’Neill’s Boys In Green look in a far more promising position, sitting four points clear of their Celtic rivals in third-place, but final qualifying meetings with Germany and Poland mean their work is far from over.
After hosting Joachim Low’s World Cup winners in Dublin, O’Neill must set his side up for the formidable trip to Poland, where an in-form Lewandowski will be waiting to fire his nation to France.
With the Munich marksman’s enjoying a rampant last assignment against former club Dortmund, the 27-year-old’s unbelievable tally was extended further, ahead of colliding with a hopeful Emerald Isle and Scots on the international stage.
Lewandowski has truly captured the European headlines with his recent achievements, but the driven frontman isn’t taking it easy in the aftermath, with his latest comments only set to strike more fear into his upcoming international opponents.
“In the last 15 minutes [against Zagreb], I had chances to score even more,” he stated. “It doesn’t matter how many I score – I always want to get more goals.”
As Ireland and Scotland go in search of momentous October results with hope of reaching Euro 2016, their dreams could ultimately be shattered by Poland’s in-form Lewandowski, with both nations set to feel the full force of his sensational scoring talents.