In a recent interview with the Daily Mail, Robert Lewandowski discussed in detail what it felt like to finally win the Champions League with Bayern Munich, completing what was another historic treble with the club. He also spoke about the complexities attached to this season due to the severely truncated nature of the schedule caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Even for someone who’s in as immaculate shape as Lewandowski, the season carries its own set of physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
Lewandowski lost to Bayern in the 2013 Champions League final when he was with Borussia Dortmund and he’s come close to reaching the final a few times with Bayern before last season. In a season that saw him leading the scoring chart in the Bundesliga, Champions League, and DFB-Pokal, Lewandowski finally won the Champions League, albeit in the bubble style tournament in Portugal in August. “To get our hands on it was something amazing. That was the night [the final] when I knew I had got the thing I had been dreaming my whole life about. It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed to win it. The only thing that matters is winning it,” the prolific number 9 said of beating Paris Saint-Germain in the final.
He might not have been the first player to pull this move, either, but Lewandowski revealed that he took the Champions League trophy to bed with him. After all, this was the trophy he’d been dreaming about winning all of his life and we’re quite certain his wife Anna gave him a pass for this one: “It was a very long night of celebrations and everyone wanted the trophy. I took it with me to bed! It was in my room and, for a few hours, my trophy.”
Part of being able to resume football matches was having the players and staff members agree to strict coronavirus guidelines and protocols, which included restrictions on who they could have human contact with. This proved to be a difficult emotional task for most players and staff members because they had to go through long periods without being able to see their friends and family members. Lewandowski said it was certainly a difficult adjustment to make when football was allowed to resume. “It has been a big challenge to work perfectly in this situation. It is important to meet your friends, your family. In this situation, you cannot.”
The situation also required a strong, collective mentality from everyone in the squad and it was clearly evident that Bayern was on the same page en route to winning the treble. It was especially difficult, Lewandowski said, without the support of fans in the stadium(s): “It is a big challenge for our mentality. It was a difficult situation, playing without fans, without atmosphere in the stadium. It wasn’t just the specific nature of football. It was also in our private life. This was something new. We didn’t want it, nobody did.”
Even though Lewandowski is in superhuman shape, the quick turnaround from last season to this season has presented a physical challenge like no other seen before in Europe’s top flights. “After this season when we closed in Portugal and opened the new one, with such a short time to prepare, it is very hard —very hard for the body,’ the Poland international explains. Every player, every team. It’s going to be impossible to compare this season to last year or next year. This is so hard. So many games, such a hard time and then the European Championship straight away. You have to think about your body and, in March, how it will be. Will we be ready when the most important games are coming? But you are a professional footballer and you have to adapt,” he explained.
The Polish ace has already found the back of the net 12 times in the Bundesliga this season having already been rested for one of their matches, which was the 2-1 over FC Köln. He’s also provided 4 assists in the league and has scored 3 goals in the Champions League. Even with the truncated schedule and immense physical challenges, he’s off to a flying start and on pace for yet another remarkable season leading the line for Bayern.