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Poland's Lewandowski on the Germany game

"You can bring down any wall," Robert Lewandowski told EURO2016.com as his Poland team prepare to take on a Germany side featuring a skein of his past and present club-mates.

Robert Lewandowski in training ahead of the Germany game
Robert Lewandowski in training ahead of the Germany game ©AFP/Getty Images

Captain Robert Lewandowski drew a blank in Poland's Group C opener against Northern Ireland, but he displayed his battling qualities nonetheless in a 1-0 victory. The centre-forward will need to show them again with Germany the opposition in Saint-Denis tonight and, as he told EURO2016.com, the pressure is building on him to score.

EURO2016.com: It took Poland seven attempts to win their first EURO finals game; was it a huge relief to finally get there?

Robert Lewandowski: We are happy to have broken that duck. Maybe it's the start of something new. But we know it's just a win, and in the longer run it doesn't mean that much. We were glad after the game, but now we are focusing on the next one.

I usually dedicate my first important victories or first goals to my father who passed away many years ago, so of course I am doing the same now. But I would also like to dedicate the victory to all the youngsters playing in Poland. We showed them that Polish players and Polish teams can do well. That is important.

UEFA.com: How happy were you with your performance?

Lewandowski: We won. Of course, as a striker, you feel a hunger to score goals, but that increased desire might be helpful as I will want to score even more. I had two or three players focused on me; I told Arek [Arkadiusz Milik] during the game to note that. Whenever I moved to another part of the pitch, it created a lot of space elsewhere. I did it because I knew how important the first game was for us. Thanks to that, Arek had more space and chances; it's a shame we only scored once.

UEFA.com: Do you feel pressure to score every game?

Lewandowski looks to find a way past old friends
Lewandowski looks to find a way past old friends

Lewandowski: No, because you need to ask: what is more important, me scoring goals or the national team winning? The two things can go together, but not in every game.

Against Northern Ireland, I didn't have any clear chances. Against Germany there might be more space – it might not be playing against five defenders like in the last match. We know Germany are tournament favourites and it will be hard to beat them, but we have done it before and we will be fighting and not giving up.

UEFA.com: Your 2-0 win over Germany in qualifying was Poland's first against their neighbours – what do you have to do in Saint-Denis to emulate it?

Lewandowski: A lot of things. We have to be consistent; we cannot be afraid; we have to do our job. We have to play cleverly and confidently as a team. We cannot be afraid to play attacking football and to score. Germany have a solid defence – a great goalkeeper and very good defenders – but you can bring down any wall.

UEFA.com: You know so many of the Germany players from your time with Dortmund and now Bayern. How helpful is that?

Lewandowski: It's hard to say. I know them and they know me. The hard thing is coming up with something new to trick a defender who theoretically knows you very well.

Is it an advantage that I know how Manuel Neuer plays? I don't know yet. We rarely train together. It's football. Sometimes I don't know whether the ball will go exactly where I want it to go; a goalkeeper doesn't know whether the ball will take a deflection or whether a player will shoot with his left or right foot. Sometimes it comes down to instinct, and that can make it very difficult for a goalkeeper to save. He might know more or less how someone shoots, but things can be different during a match.

Milik delight at Poland's winning start
Milik delight at Poland's winning start

UEFA.com: Have you been texting any of your friends in the Germany camp?

Lewandowski: No, because we are all focused on our own teams. Usually Thomas Müller and I talk a lot. We had a brief chat after the qualifiers in Warsaw and Frankfurt, but now it's history.

UEFA.com: You made your Poland debut in 2008; is this the strongest generation you have played with?

Lewandowski: I think so. It's the most structured, stable and effective side. We know what we want and every victory makes us stronger. We have a lot of good young players, which shows there has been progress in recent years. Everybody knows what they have to do – everybody is also mentally prepared and knows that, during a match, every detail is very important. We know what is at stake. There have been lots of good players in the past but something was missing.

UEFA.com: At 19, midfielder Bartosz Kapustka has been excellent; could he be one of UEFA EURO 2016's big discoveries?

Lewandowski: Let's hope so. The longer we're here, the more chance he has to show what he can do. The EUROs are quite brutal. To show how good you are, you have to accomplish something. Let's not kid ourselves that getting through our group is enough – you have to go further. That is when you can tell who has the quality.

UEFA.com: Imagine this scenario against Germany: it is 0-0 with seconds to go, and you get a penalty against Neuer, who knows from training how you take them. Would you be up for it?

Lewandowski: I'd have to be. I don't actually practice penalties with Manuel in training. But it's the EURO, the stakes are different and it's not like taking penalties in training. But if that penalty would give us a win, why not?