Lewandowski admires Robbie's record
A STRIKE rate of one goal in every three games for the national team is a pretty tasty return for Robert Lewandowski when it comes to the Polish side.
But even the highly-rated Borussia Dortmund man – scorer of 18 goals in 56 caps – admits that Robbie Keane's feat in scoring 62 times for his national team is something to admire in the modern era.
Lewandowski has played against Ireland twice before: the then Lech Poznan player came on as a half-time sub in a 3-2 win for Poland at a packed Croke Park in 2008, Ireland's first defeat under Giovanni Trapattoni, and he also lined out when Ireland won 2-0 at Lansdowne Road earlier this year.
But Keane's record is something he admires. "The statistics are really good, 62 goals for Ireland is impressive," Lewandowski said ahead of tonight's game.
"I know that Keane has played for Ireland for a long time, they are a strong side, but we can't concentrate on individual players, we have to focus on how we play, how to put the manager's ideas into place, and if we all play well then the team will have an easier job."
An easy job in Poznan tonight would suit the Poles, as they are struggling for form and confidence.
Shown up in their time as co-hosts of Euro 2012, they also laboured their way through the World Cup qualifiers and finished fourth – like Ireland. A 2-0 loss at home to Slovakia, a game played in Wroclaw, saw the side booed off the park and new coach Adam Nawalka is under pressure to start delivering.
"We will will approach the game with faith, we want to regain the respect of our fans and we will try to avoid the defensive mistakes we made against Slovakia," Nawalka said of the clash, and he is aware of the Irish threat.
"Eight of the Irish side play regularly in the English Premier League and we know they had a good win over Latvia last week, so we have to prepare well.
"We need to test our players, we lost in two major events as we lost out in the World Cup qualifiers and also at Euro 2012."
Nawalka is likely to freshen up his side for the game with Ireland; Southampton keeper Artur Boruc – who played at Celtic alongside Roy Keane, Robbie Keane and Aiden McGeady but didn't get to play for the Bhoys under Martin O'Neill who left just before Boruc was signed – could lose out to Arsenal man Wojciech Szczesny tonight.