Connect to share and comment

Football: Dortmund determined to keep 'Lewangoalski'

PlacardEnlarge
(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

His four goals in the Champions League rout of Real Madrid and expiring contract make striker Robert Lewandowski a hot target for Europe's top clubs but Borussia Dortmund are hoping to keep him -- for now.

The 24-year-old contract expires in June next year and he has already said he will not be signing an extension, having joined Borussia in 2010.

His record haul against Real at Signal Iduna Park in Wednesday's 4-1 first-leg win made him the first player to score four goals in a Champions League semi-final and left Dortmund on the verge of their first Euro final since 1997.

Having announced Germany star Mario Goetze will join rivals Bayern Munich in July, Dortmund are understandably eager to keep "Lewo" and halt the dismantling of the team which won the Bundesliga two years in succession until this year.

"It's our explicit wish that he will stay with us," said Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, with Lewandowski carrying a reported price tag of 20 million euros ($26 million, £17 million) for the final year of his contract.

"We can almost dispense with the transfer fee, it would be a completely inferior sum and that is of no interest to us.

"First of all, we want to speak to Robert. Unlike Mario, he has no release clause."

Goetze has actioned a clause allowing him to join Bayern for a reported 37 million euros but Lewandowski's contract has no such condition.

As such, Dortmund can expect at least another season from their striker, who has scored 34 goals this term, including 23 in the Bundesliga, where the Poland star has found the net in each of his last 12 league games -- a new club record.

Reports in the German media suggest Lewandowski already has a deal to join Bayern and Watzke was blunt when asked whether the striker will follow Goezte to the Allianz Arena this July.

"That would surprise me greatly," he told German Sky Sports television, with Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge having said they will not negotiate with Dortmund for Lewandowski.

Coach Jurgen Klopp is also planning on having the Polish striker for another season.

"I don't get the feeling that Robert is about to take flight, " said Klopp. "And we certainly won't send him away."

Lewandowski's quartet betters both Ivica Olic's hat-trick in Bayern's 2010 Champions League semi-final win at Lyon in 2010 and Alessandro Del Piero's triple for Juventus in 1998.

He finished one short of Lionel Messi's Champions League record of five in a single match -- against Leverkusen in 2012 -- while he matched Bayern's Mario Gomez four goals in last season's 7-0 rout of Basel in the last 16.

Klopp says he expected to see plenty of replays of Lewandowski's four goals, which included an eighth-minute opener, then a second-half hat-trick inside 15 minutes.

"When I walk through the BVB museum, I think they'll be showing Lewo's goals for a few years yet to come," the coach said.

"He's quality, because of his mentality and how cool he is under pressure. One of his most important goals for us was the one against Ajax (a 1-0 home win in the group stages).

"He had three options and he took the third one -- the most difficult -- to win us the game."

A footballing nomad, Lewandowski has already played for five clubs, working his way up from Polish fifth-tier side Delta Warsaw in 2004.

He proved his goal-scoring mettle at first division side Lech Poznan in 2008-09 with a table-topping 20 goals, then 18 in 2009-2010, as Lech won their first title in 17 years.

In June 2010 he signed a four-year deal with Dortmund for a Polish record fee of 4.5 million euros.

After a first season in the shadow of Paraguay's Lucas Barrios, he took his chance when injury ruled the latter out and the nickname "Lewangoalski" was born.

ryj/phz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130425/football-dortmund-determined-keep-lewangoalski