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Dortmund's Polish aces in pole position for EURO

Published: Monday 27 February 2012, 21.55CET
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp says "Poland will have three perfect footballers by the time EURO kicks off" as his trio of players from across the border continue to impress.
by Felix Steuber
Dortmund's Polish aces in pole position for EURO
Two of Dortmund's – and Poland's – stars, Robert Lewandowski and Lukasz Piszczek (L) ©AFP/Getty Images
Published: Monday 27 February 2012, 21.55CET

Dortmund's Polish aces in pole position for EURO

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp says "Poland will have three perfect footballers by the time EURO kicks off" as his trio of players from across the border continue to impress.

If seven straight wins have left Borussia Dortmund well placed to successfully defend their Bundesliga title, the club's sublime form also gives cause for hope across the border in Poland.

Poland will have three perfect footballers by the time EURO kicks off
Jürgen Klopp
We don't have to communicate much when we are on the pitch together, we already know what the other player will do
Jakub 'Kuba' Blaszczykowski

It is no coincidence Dortmund's hot streak has come when their three Polish internationals have enjoyed an extended run together in Jürgen Klopp's team. This was most evident in Sunday's 3-1 home win against Hannover 96, as Robert Lewandowski scored twice with the assists coming from Jakub 'Kuba' Błaszczykowski and Łukasz Piszczek.

The performance had their coach purring. "It was obvious they were all in good shape but against Hannover they took it to another level," said Klopp, whose side are now four points clear in Germany. "Judging by their displays, I would say they are close to 100%. I'm very fond of these types of players."

The timing could barely be better for ambitious Dortmund – and likewise for Poland. "I can promise Polish fans that Kuba, Robert and Łukasz are still to reach the top of their game," Klopp added. "Poland will have three perfect footballers by the time EURO kicks off." It is a hope shared by the trio. "We want to take this form with us to the national team," said midfielder Kuba, whose country face Portugal on Wednesday in the first game at the new National Stadium Warsaw.

"We don't have to communicate much when we are on the pitch together, we already know what the other player will do," added the right-footer, who has been with Dortmund since 2007. Previously an undisputed regular, Blaszczykowski found himself benched earlier this season yet bounced back to emerge as an ideal replacement for the injured Mario Götze. "My confidence has increased a lot in the last few weeks," the 26-year-old former Wisła Kraków man said.

Ever a threat, his contribution has not gone unnoticed by Klopp. "He is an exceptional player with outstanding talent," the coach recently observed. Kuba is also one half of Dortmund's dynamic right flank with Piszczek filling in at full-back. Originally a striker, Piszczek – also 26 – joined Dortmund from Hertha BSC Berlin in 2010 and soon became a fixture in the side, earning a new contract until 2016.

However, it is probably the youngest of the three who has received the most attention. Lewandowski has scored 16 Bundesliga goals in 23 games this term, also supplying eight assists – all of this after he endured a difficult spell last season following his switch from KKS Lech Poznań. In a system that features only one centre-forward, the 23-year-old was second choice behind Lucas Barrios, yet when the Paraguayan got injured, Lewandowski seized his chance.

Having won the Polish Cup and league championship with Lech Poznań, followed by last year's Bundesliga, the No9 certainly has a thirst for trophies. "Defending the title with Dortmund would be great and reaching the German Cup final is another of my goals," he said.

Grand plans are also afoot for UEFA EURO 2012. With expectation levels rising among the Polish public, especially after being drawn in Group A with Greece, Russia and the Czech Republic, Lewandowski predicts: "We should be able to reach the quarter-finals."

The 23-year-old is a doubt for Wednesday's friendly against Portugal, the first match at the new National Stadium Warsaw, after being substituted late on with a thigh injury on Sunday. Lewandowski, who did not train on Monday, said: "I felt a pain in my muscle and I'm not sure whether I'll play. I think the doctors will make a decision on Tuesday."

Last updated: 22/03/12 8.18CET

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