As Chelsea struggle for goals from their three strikers this season, Bayern Munich have a man who gets goals in pretty much every game he plays.
This campaign, Robert Lewandowski has managed to find the back of the net 38 times in only 32 appearances across all competitions.
It’s even more astonishing when you realise this is a goal every 72 minutes – absolutely terrifying when you’re about to come up against the Polish predator.
Close range tap-ins, guided right-foot shots, penalties, free-kicks, powerful headers, half-volleys – almost every strike you can imagine, he’s done it.
Lewandowski’s not just a jack of all trades, he’s a master of them all.
Time seems to slow when his teammates have the ball, he’s able look at the situation around him and glide into the right position, evading his opponents with stunning stealth.
“Robert Lewandowski’s a top, top striker,” Bayern teammate Alphonso Davies told bundesliga.com at the weekend.
“He can finish anything you give to him, inside or outside the box.
“Our job as a team is to support him and keep feeding him the ball.”
Chelsea should, very rightly, be worried when they host Bayern Munich in the Champions League this evening.
You could be forgiven for proclaiming his talents are natural instincts, the acts of man who just ‘knows’ aided by a pinch of good fortune and backed up by talented squad.
In fact, Lewandowski recognises the necessity of training to become better – even at the age of 31.
“Now everyone knows a lot about tactics,” he told The Guardian. “Before the game you cannot say: ‘Today, I try this move.’ That’s impossible but if your body knows this movement, this technique, in one perfect moment it’s coming.
“I am doing shooting and sometimes you could think: ‘It doesn’t matter, it’s just training.’ But no, if you focus maybe it can be easier in the game.
“If you have 20 chances in training and score 20 goals during the game maybe you are more likely to score.”
Lewandowski is also one of the only men to have his career shaped by two of the greatest coaches of the modern era.
Given Guardiola’s tactics at Barcelona, Lewandowski wondered whether he would have to adapt due his old school centre-forward styling but instead he continued his personal war with the back of the net.
He added: “When Pep came to Bayern Munich people thought that we would be playing without a no.9. For me, that was like: ‘Maybe I should try to play in another style.’
“I learned a lot from Pep. We spoke a lot about tactics and for me that was something new. I knew that if I could play for Guardiola with his mind and his ideas – about tactics, about strikers – that it would be good for me.
“In modern football it’s very difficult to play without a striker. I’ve not seen that for a few years.”
Klopp, as well as helping him tactically, is credited with moulding Lewandowski’s personality and releasing the ‘striker’s instinct’ in him, insisting he didn’t know he had such high potential.
Lewandowski lavished praise on the current Liverpool boss: “He is an amazing guy. It doesn’t matter what he says: you believe him. Everything is from the heart.
“Before I had a lot of problems with my body language – being more a part of the game and training. My body language was the same. Sometimes you have to be more angry. For me that was never going to happen.
“I had to change. That was under Klopp. He told me sometimes he didn’t know if I was angry or happy.
“Nobody likes changing something in yourself. That was not easy. But I knew if I wanted to be a better player and move to the next step in my career I had to start.”
He’s challenging one of the greatest strikers in history with his Bundesliga record this season.
Lewandowski became just the second player to score 23 goals in 22 league games, with the first being ‘Der Bomber’ Gerd Muller.
And with his strike two weeks ago he became the first male player to score 40 goals this campaign in all competitions, and has scored hat-tricks in the league, Champions League and European Championship qualifying.
Back in November he was even tipped to break another Muller record of scoring 40 league goals in a season.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in November after an 11-game scoring streak: “You can’t do any better.
“I thought Gerd Muller’s record was for eternity. But I think Robert is the first player who could get close and put it at risk.
“It’s amazing that he scores one to three goals in each game, and of a quality to take your hat off to.”
Incumbent Bayern boss Hansi Flick is the man currently benefiting from the complete Lewandowski, and he’s most impressed by the all-round qualities the striker possesses – not just the 11 goals he’s netted in his past 10 games.
“Robert at the moment is playing in the form of his life, he’s top-fit and full of confidence,” Flick told reporters this week.
“He has a real run at the moment, and we hope that he will continue that here in the last 16 against Chelsea.
“As a leader up front he is very important for us, but he can also show that he can put the opponent under pressure. It’s very important he is positive.
“At the moment he is absolutely brilliant, but he’s also a team player tracking back and covering in defence. I don’t know how many goals he’s scored this season off-hand, but he’s right up there.”
Opposite number Frank Lampard is also very aware that when the striker is purported to be in the ‘form of his life’, it really does mean quite an exceptional standard is being set by the Pole.
The Chelsea boss said: “Form of his life means something special about Lewandowski because of how well he’s been playing in Europe, consistently, over the last, I don’t know how many, years.
“His goalscoring, everything about him from afar; he’s just top-class. Having the chance to watch quite a lot of Bayern in the build-up, that shines through.
“He’s a huge threat, he’s not the only threat but he’s the spearhead. Our levels have to go up. When you get to the knockout stages of the Champions League, the levels have to go up everywhere.”
It often seems startling when conversations take place about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that Lewandowski isn’t always included in the mix.
His goal scoring is truly phenomenal even when you just look at the statistics he’s put up and don’t take into account his style and finesse.
With Bayern Munich, he has a truly astounding 153 goals in just 182 Bundesliga matches – in a country where the top flight only has 18 teams, reducing his ability to score.
In the same time, since August 2014, Lionel Messi has 195 strikes in 194 games, while Cristiano Ronaldo has 176 goals in 179 league appearances.
Lewandowski isn’t quite there but is extremely close to the levels of two superstars who are considered possibly the greatest ever.
In 2019, though, he only ranked eighth in the Ballon d’Or list, while in 2018 he didn’t even make the top 30, and was ninth in 2017 – all three were 40-goal seasons.
There is a strong case he deserves far more respect than he gets, while his nationality has perhaps decreased his ability to be considered a player at the highest stage.
Even so, he’s managed 61 goals in 112 matches for Poland, and at 31 is already the 22nd highest scorer on the international stage with only Ronaldo (99), Messi (70), and Indian striker Sunil Chetri (72) ahead of him who are currently active.
Being part of a stunning 7-2 victory against Tottenham in north London will certainly have helped him boost his profile in England, although many here do consider him a modern great, possibly due to the country’s love for a classic ‘no.9’.
Now, though, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge he has the chance to ram it home – although it’s more likely he’ll guide it home with precision.