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'His qualities are rare'

Hat-trick man Lewandowski makes the difference

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Robert Lewandowski picked up the object of desire after the final whistle. The Poland captain had just netted three times in the 3-0 win away to Schalke, almost single-handedly firing FC Bayern to their first victory in the nascent Bundesliga campaign. It was no surprise that the striker wanted to take the ball home as a memento of this special evening.

"I'm very glad I scored again," said the 31-year-old, who demonstrated the entire range of his skills in Gelsenkirchen. After drawing a fine save from Schalke keeper Alexander Nübel, he netted a penalty to put Bayern ahead. He mastered a much more difficult task when he doubled the lead after the restart, curling an unstoppable free-kick into the top corner of the net. Lewandowski put the game to bed with a quarter-hour to go, sidestepping an opponent before crashing home. "In and around the box he has qualities like hardly anyone else," coach Niko Kovač said in praise of the forward.

Only Gerd Müller boasts a higher yield

Lewandowski had bagged a brace in the somewhat unlucky 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin. He is the first player in the club's history to score all of Bayern's first five goals in a Bundesliga campaign. In the 57-year history of the German top tier, only Gerd Müller achieved a higher yield after two matchdays when the FCB legend scored a whopping six goals in the first two games of the 1977/78 campaign.

"Five goals mean a superb start for him of course, we're all glad," declared captain Manuel Neuer, whereas Saturday's hero was modest: "A player can win a match on his own, but we win titles as a team," commented Lewandowski. But if Lewandowski stood out, it was not because his team-mates did not stand tall, which is why Kovač said: "It's crucial for us to set him up. The qualities he has aren't very common in the Bundesliga or on an international level. Lewy needs players who feed him. That's what they did today, and I hope they'll do it in the upcoming weeks too," said Kovač.

The 47-year-old has more options in attack thanks to new signings Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Perišić. Both made their Bundesliga debut on Saturday, coming on as subs against Schalke. They might be starters next weekend, when Bayern take on FSV Mainz in the Bundesliga. The match will also reveal whether Robert Lewandowski can score Bayern's sixth Bundesliga goal this season.

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