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'A little bit funny'

Lewandowski faces FCB team-mates

There have been plenty of light-hearted exchanges between Robert Lewandowski and his FC Bayern team-mates. “Everybody was issuing their battle cries in a semi-humorous manner. At the end of the day we agreed to wanting a draw like last time - and then I added that we’ll win this time,” joked Thomas Müller with a broad grin on Thursday. “So we agreed to a draw with a win for Germany.”

And World Goalkeeper of the Year Manuel Neuer backed up his team-mate with a smile on his face. “He hasn’t beaten me once in all ten training sessions,” said the skipper who has not conceded a single goal in the last 658 minutes of Bundesliga action. But when Lewandowski and Neuer first faced each other in the Bundesliga it was the Pole who came out on top.

“I remember very well scoring my first Bundesliga goal against Schalke when Neuer was between the sticks,” said the Poland international recalling his goal in the 3-1 win for Borussia Dortmund against Schalke 04 over four years ago He scored six goals in 13 league matches against Neuer.

Good strike rate

The international fixture is Poland against Germany, rather than Lewandowski against Neuer or other past or present team-mates, the striker insisted. But the game is still special: “The match against Germany will be a little bit funny. I know a lot of players in the team, I spend time together with some of them and I’ve won trophies with some of them. Now I’m up against them on the pitch,” declared the 26-year-old. Lewandowski has played alongside seven members of the current Germany squad for FC Bayern or Borussia Dortmund.

23 goals in 62 internationals, 78 goals in 138 Bundesliga games is the tally of the new Bayern striker who netted four times in Poland’s 7-0 win against Gibraltar in the opening Euro 2016 qualifier. In spite of a brief barren run at the start of the season the front man has made a “wonderful” start to his Bayern career according to sporting director Matthias Sammer.

In contrast to his four-year term at Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski has had to adjust his game. It is all much tighter against more defensive opponents but the impressive striker is now finding his feet. He is very skilled technically, dangerous in front of goal and he is valued by his team-mates. “Robert is really on top form. We know he’s back on track. Robert is tough to handle but we’ll come up with something,” explained Neuer.

Deadly in front of goal

Joachim Löw also sounded a warning ahead of Saturday’s match in Warsaw. “Robert Lewandowski is an exceptional footballer and one of the three best strikers in the world,” said the Germany coach. “Few people understand how he holds onto the ball under pressure. He is deadly in front of goal and is an incredibly good footballer.” Jérôme Boateng believes his team mate is “possibly the best striker in the world.”

Games against Lewandowski are nothing new, explained Boateng, who often featured for Bayern against the Pole when Lewi was still at Dortmund,. It will be “a completely new feeling” for Mats Hummels to meet up with his former Dortmund team-mate. “I’ve never played against Lewi,” said former Munich man Hummels in the expectation of a “really intense encounter.”