Liverpool boss Klopp was a ‘father figure’ to the Polish marksman, who developed leaps and bounds at Dortmund
|Robert Lewandowski.||Photo: Christopher Neundorf, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0|
Robert Lewandowski has come a long way since first appearing on the Bundesliga scene with BVB Dortmund in 2010, on the back of two successful seasons at Polish side Lech Poznan.
Klopp was actively involved signing the Warsaw-born striker for just 4.5 million euros.
He scored a whopping 103 goals in 187 matches for Die Borussen from 2010 to 2014 – winning two Bundesliga titles in the process, a feat that would have been audacious to think about considering the fact he scored nine goals in 43 appearances during his first season at the club.
Lewandowski has opened up on his relationship with the German tactician, who he feels played a key role in the progress of his goal-scoring career.
He said: "Jürgen was not only a father figure to me. As a coach, he was like the “bad” teacher. And I mean that in the best sense of the word. He was not content to let you be a B student, you know? Jürgen wanted A+ students. He didn’t want it for him. He wanted it for you.
He taught me so much. When I arrived at Dortmund, I wanted to do everything quickly: strong pass, one touch only. Jürgen showed me to calm down — to take two touches if necessary. It was totally against my nature, but soon I was scoring more goals. When I had that down, he challenged me to speed it up again. One touch. BANG. Goal. He slowed me down to speed me up. It sounds simple, but it was genius, really.”
He revealed Klopp’s uniqueness came about with his trustworthiness and empathetic nature. Something that Lewandowski keeps close to his heart.
Lewandowski said: “Jürgen never forgot that we were humans first and footballers second. I realise that my conversation with Jürgen was like one of those I wish I could’ve had with my dad. One of those I had not been able to have in many, many years. I could talk to Jürgen about anything. I could trust him. He is a family man, and he has so much empathy for what goes on in your private life.”
Liverpool’s Klopp was instrumental in the transfers and development of several young players during his time at Dortmund, such as Mats Hummels, Lukasz Piszczek, Aubameyang, Gundogan and Kagawa, among many others.
Lewandowski hit new heights in 2019/20, scoring a staggering 55 goals in 47 caps in the treble-winning season with Bayern Munich.
You can find his thoughts in full here named ‘The Move’, on The Player’s Tribune.