Friday 28 October 2016

Robert Lewandowski: 'I hope Germany beat Ireland in Dublin'

Lewandowski aiming to seal Euro 2016 qualification in final group game against O’Neill’s men

Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski believes it will be party time for his Poland side - and the playoffs for Ireland - in Warsaw next month.

With the international scene on a month-long break ahead of the final Euro 2016 qualifiers in October, attention across the continent this week turns to the club scene, with Polish players in action this week in the Irish-free zones of the group stages in the Champions League (Lewandowski with Bayern Munich, Grzegorz Krychowiak with Seville, Wojciech Szczesny with Roma and Poles also involved with Dynamo Kyiv and Bayer Leverkusen) and Europa League (six clubs there have Polish players involved).

The fact that Poland could have as many players appearing in the Champions League this week as Ireland had starting in the entire English Premier League programme last weekend shows that the Poles are not, as many commentators in Ireland insist on saying, a poor side with no real quality.

With two games to go in Group D, though, their talisman Lewandowski - in Champions League action for Bayern Munich away to Olympiakos tomorrow - is already looking ahead.

Warsaw's National Stadium is certain to be full for the Poland-Ireland game on October 11th and while the group could still be in the balance that night, Lewandowski hopes that Poland can do enough from their next game, away to Scotland, to make the Ireland match an irrelevance: that means automatic qualification for Germany and Poland and a place in the playoffs for Martin O'Neill's outfit, with Scotland missing out altogether.

"Scotland have nothing to lose, they are going to attack us so we have to look after ourselves and we are going there (Glasgow) looking for a win," said Lewandowski.

"We can't rely on half-measures or permutations, we want to celebrate qualification in our National Stadium (against Ireland). I hope that Germany beat Ireland so the final game in the group will have no bearing in the table.

"But first we have to win in Glasgow and do things our own way, once we do that then we can think about celebrations."

With 10 goals to his credit in these qualifiers, Lewandowski is close to David Healy's Euro qualifying scoring record (13), but qualification is his main goal.

"Three goals in two games? That's difficult but not impossible.

"But qualifying is the priority, the record would mean nothing to me if the team didn't qualify. If my goals get us a ticket to France and I get the record, that's fine," he added.

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