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Lethal Lewandowski fuelling Bayern charge

Berlin (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski’s hat-trick on Saturday brought him level in the race to be the Bundesliga’s top scorer this season and Bayern Munich’s Poland star is on fire for club and country.

The 28-year-old striker netted his fourth hat-trick for Bayern this season in Saturday’s 6-0 drubbing of Augsburg in a masterclass performance in which he also created goals for Thomas Muller and Thiago Alcantara.

“He scored three goals and set up two more, what more can I say about him?” beamed Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti after the Augsburg rout.

“I am happy to have a striker like that who scores in more or less every game.”

Lewandowski has scored eight goals in five games for Poland in 2016/17 on top of netting 36 times for Bayern in all competitions.

His hat-trick against Augsburg came after he also netted in last Sunday’s 2-1 win over Montenegro to leave Poland six points clear in their World Cup qualifying group.

He is now level on 24 Bundesliga goals alongside Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his bid to retain his crown as Germany’s top scorer.

The lean, mean goal-scoring machine is nicknamed “The Body” at Bayern and has developed into one of the world’s top strikers.

His toned physique comes from a strict diet and his pregnant wife Anna – a former karate international for Poland – is a personal trainer.

“He is the most professional player I have ever met,” enthused Pep Guardiola, Ancelotti’s predecessor at Bayern.

“In his head, he thinks about the right food, sleep and training: 24 hours a day.

“He is always there, never injured, because he focuses on these things. He always knows what is important to be in the best condition.”

There was always a top athlete lurking in Lewandowski’s DNA.

His father Krystof was a Polish judo champion, who also played football in the Polish second division, while his mother Iwona was a professional volleyball player.

His professional career started when Lewandowski finished top scorer in the third and then second divisions at Warsaw-based Znicz Pruszkow, who won back-to-back promotions in 2007 and 2008.

A move followed to Lech Poznan and he hit 18 goals to help them win the 2009/10 Polish league title in his second season.

– Record breaker –

His breakthrough came when he joined Borussia Dortmund in 2010 and injury to Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios handed him a starting berth.

“I could tell right away that he was the most interesting player to come out of Poland for 20 years,” said Dortmund’s then-coach Jurgen Klopp.

“He has all the skills you want from a striker, particularly physical strength and great finishing.

“But he also has the technique of a gifted midfield player.

“When he gets the ball in the middle of the pitch and distributes it to the wing, it’s like watching a playmaker.”

He lifted the 2010/11 Bundesliga title, then won the domestic league and cup double with Dortmund in 2011/12.

His hat-trick against current employers Bayern in the 2012 German Cup final sealed Dortmund’s 5-2 win as Borussia won the double for the first time in their history.

More success followed in 2012/13 when he became the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semi-final in a 4-1 first-leg win over Real Madrid, but Dortmund ultimately lost the Wembley final to Bayern.

When his Dortmund contract expired in June 2014, Lewandowski joined Bayern on a free transfer and after winning the league title in his first season, he excelled in the following campaign.

He broke the 30-goal barrier in the Bundesliga in 2015/16 and sent records tumbling when he scored five goals in nine incredible minutes in a 5-1 thrashing of Wolfsburg in September 2015.

If Bayern repeat their 2013 treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles this season, Lewandowski’s goals will be at the heart of their success.

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