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Lewandowski credits Klopp for releasing the “striker’s instinct” in him

Borussia Dortmund v Werder Bremen - Bundesliga
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Robert Lewandowski gave former boss Jurgen Klopp the credit for helping him become one of Europe’s most lethal forwards ahead of Bayern Munich and Liverpool’s Champions League clash.

Klopp was the man who first brought a 22-year-old Lewandowski over to Germany in 2010, when he sealed a deal to sign the young Pole for Borussia Dortmund in a reported €4.5m fee from Lech Poznan.

Lewandowski then spent the following four years playing under Klopp at Dortmund, where he quickly developed into one of the Bundesliga’s most potent strikers on the back of scoring 102 goals in 186 matches.

Two Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal and DFL Supercup came Lewandowski’s way at  Signal Iduna Park along with a Champions League final appearance in the 2012/13 season, which Dortmund narrowly lost 2-1 to rivals Bayern Munich at Wembley.

A year later and Lewandowski left BVB in favour of a free transfer to Bayern in the summer of 2014, where his reputation as one of Europe’s deadliest strikers has only grown since.

The 2016/17 Bundesliga Player of the Year has gone on to score an incredible 180 goals in 229 matches and has won the league crown in all four of his seasons at the Allianz Arena.

Nonetheless, Lewandowski hasn’t forgotten the impact Klopp had on him in their time together at  Dortmund as he prepares to face the German’s Liverpool team on Wednesday night.

“I think what I learnt from him is the belief that I could play at the highest level. He released that striker’s instinct in me,” Lewandowski told Goal and DAZN.

“I didn’t know that I still had so much potential inside of me. He saw something in me that I couldn’t see.

“When we spoke about it and I heard this for the first time, it really meant a lot to me. I have to be thankful to him because of what we achieved together at Borussia Dortmund. We grew together, and it’s led me to where I am today.”

After surpassing Claudio Pizarro as the Bundesliga’s all-time foreign scorer in Bayern’s 6-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday, Lewandowski will be hoping to get on the scoresheet for a third successive game against Liverpool on Wednesday night.

The aggregate scoreline between Bayern and Liverpool is 0-0 with the return leg of their Champions League last-16 tie to begin at 9:00 PM (CET) in Munich.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 18: Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich warms up during the FC Bayern Muenchen Training Session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Liverpool and FC Bayern Muenchen at Anfield on February 18, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)