Robert Lewandowski has recalled making a training-ground bet with Jurgen Klopp upon arrival at Borussia Dortmund – which eventually backfired on his manager.
Klopp brought Lewandowski to Dortmund in the summer of 2010 after watching him bag 21 goals in 34 appearances for Polish club Lech Poznan the previous season.
The striker’s £4million move to Signal Iduna Park proved a complete success, with his return of 103 goals in 187 appearances helping Dortmund clinch two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal and also reach the Champions League final.
Nevertheless, his debut campaign did not exactly go to plan, as a tally of nine goals in 43 outings shows.
But Klopp quickly came up with a genius tactic to get Lewandowski firing again, although it eventually left him out of pocket…
“I once made a bet with Jürgen Klopp,” the Poland superstar said in his post for The Players Tribune.
“It was 2010, and I had been a few months at Borussia Dortmund.
“Honestly, it was so tough. When I arrived I could barely speak a word of German. I knew danke. Thank you. I knew scheisse. The weather was rainy and grey. And with Klopp, the intensity in training was very, very high.
“I was desperate to make my mark, and Jürgen wanted to challenge me.
“So in the first few months we made a little bet.
“If I scored 10 goals in a training session, he’d give me 50 euros. If I didn’t, I’d give him 50 euros.
“The first few weeks, I had to pay up almost every time. He was laughing. But after a few months, the tables turned. I was the one raking in the cash.
“So one day he said, ‘Stop! O.K.! That’s enough. You’re ready now.’
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“But in truth, I wasn’t. Matches are very different from training.
“That season, I was often coming off the bench. I played more in the second half of the season, but then as a number 10, behind the striker. My favourite position was as a number 9.
"Still, I have to say thank you to Jürgen for those six months. I learned so much about how to play deeper and how players were supposed to move behind the striker.”
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