Borussia Dortmund’s biggest weapon in Saturday’s Champions League final against Bayern Munich is Robert Lewandowski, who will be hoping to gun down the Bavarians at Wembley before sealing a transfer to the Allianz Arena in the summer.
Having refused to sign an extension to a contract that is due to expire in June 2014, Lewandowski was already in the shop window before becoming the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semifinal in April.
His quartet of goals in the first leg against Real Madrid at the Signal Iduna Park helped Dortmund win the tie 4-3 on aggregate to set up Saturday’s all-German final, after which the Poland striker is expected to reveal his next destination.
Previously prolific in Poland with Lech Poznan, Lewandowski is now one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe, having scored a total of 35 goals for Borussia this season.
He also netted in 12 consecutive Bundesliga games — a new club record.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Real have all since been linked to the Poland hot-shot, but the strongest rumours always point back to Bayern.
After his four-goal haul against Madrid, Lewandowski’s agent Maik Barthel insisted his client will leave in June.
“We are in agreement with another club and have the right to change in the summer,” he said.
Reports say Lewandowski has agreed either to join Bayern next month or when his Dortmund deal expires in June 2014, although these have been denied in Bavaria, while Dortmund have said he is going nowhere.
“He has a contract with us until 2014 and no exit clause,” said Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, who added he would rather get 20 goals from Lewandowski next season than 20 million euros in a transfer.
“Our explicit desire is that he stays and plays for us until 2014 at the least.”
As the spearhead of Dortmund’s so-called ‘gegenpressing’ system, Lewandowski has benefited from the service supplied by the fleet-footed duo of Mario Goetze, who is out of Saturday’s final, and Marco Reus.
But his tally of 13 assists this season proves that he is not simply a poacher.
With Goetze having agreed to join Bayern in the summer after activating a release clause in his contract — something which Lewandowski does not possess — Dortmund are desperate to stop Bayern poaching another of their star players.
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp implied there is a contingency plan to replace Lewandowski in the team’s system if he does go to Bayern.
“Other mothers have other beautiful sons who can also play football. I’ll let you know if we should be nervous. Relax,” Klopp has told fans.
Reports that Dortmund are in talks with Porto's Colombian forward Jackson Martinez suggest the club are already preparing for a post-Lewandowski era. — AFP