The form of Robert Lewandowski is causing collective head scratching in Poland. While the Borussia Dortmund forward leads the Bundesliga scoring charts this season with 19 goals – three fewer than he managed in the whole of last term – the 24-year-old has not struck for his country since the opening game of UEFA EURO 2012, a 1-1 draw with Greece, nine appearances ago.
Lewandowski's international travails are the cause of much discussion in his homeland and, ahead of Waldemar Fornalik's side's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Friday, a man who knows a thing or two about finding the net for Poland has entered the debate. Włodzimierz Lubański, the nation's 48-goal all-time top marksman, told UEFA.com: "This situation is not very comfortable for Robert.
"I am not blaming him: Dortmund and Poland are different teams. Robert gets more help from midfield and the wings at his club than with the national team. That means other players have to show more than they have done in recent matches. We have a crucial game here [in Warsaw] and I hope the boys are aware how big an impact the result will have on the rest of the qualifying campaign.
We all wish Robert a goal, but let's not put too much pressure on him because that could have the opposite effect. If it doesn't come on Friday, we can wait until Tuesday when we play San Marino. Poland will definitely have more opportunities then."
The visit of Ukraine to the National Stadium Warsaw will be Poland's eighth fixture since Fornalik succeeded Franciszek Smuda after UEFA EURO 2012, a tournament they co-hosted with Friday's Group H opponents. Poland's form has been mixed – they have registered just two victories, one of them in a friendly against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – leaving Lubański unsure "whether we have made any steps forward or not".
"I would say we have played at more or less the same level [as before]," added the 66-year-old Lubański, who earned 75 Poland caps. "The thing I dislike is that I never know how they will play. They are able to show great ability but, all of a sudden, they can play very poorly, like in the last friendly against Ireland [in February] which we lost 2-0."
Poland are third in Group H, three points behind second-placed England but with a game in hand. Bayer 04 Leverkusen left-back Sebastian Boenisch, a man who has seen Lewandowski score twice against his club this campaign, is backing his team-mate to rediscover his scoring touch to fire Poland into contention for Brazil 2014.
"He is amazing in the Bundesliga this season," said Boenisch. "
Without doubt, we are speaking about the best striker in the German league at the moment. I am pretty sure he will play the same in the national team. I hope it is going to happen, starting against Ukraine. We are determined to win the game – a draw is not something we would accept."
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