A Goal-By-Goal Chronicle of Lewandowski’s Heat Check Performance

What Robert Lewandowski just did in an official Bundesliga match (with refs and everything) was momentous, unforgettable, and just straight ruthless. I mean, what did Wolfsburg ever do to him? That was Genghis Khan-level cruel.

By now, you’ve likely heard all of the superlatives and stats and historic comparisons. You know, sentences that start with “Fastest player to…” or “First player since…” As far as I’m concerned, all of that is irrelevant right now. Everything Lewandowski did once he stepped on the field after halftime was too unbelievable to care about historical precedent. This was one of the — if not, the — best performances we will witness all season long. I’d like to relive Lewandowski’s instantly legendary nine-minute five-goal whirlwind by watching it back and marveling at how in the world it was even possible.

51st minute

“That’s what Robert Lewandowski does for a living.” He’s right, of course, but little did our dear announcer know how insane things were about to get.

This is a classic poacher’s goal — creep around the area waiting to sweep any loose ball straight into the goalmouth. Lewandowski’s teammates mostly made this one happen. Gotze is distributing wonderfully from the right flank, Vidal is showing off an exquisite back heel to Muller, who parries the ball to our hero. Notice how Lewandowski patiently allows the ball to reach his left foot, where he has more space to send it home.

By the way, Lewandowski had just been sent on as the super-est sub of all-time five minutes ago. Call him Pep’s Ultimate X-Factor.

52nd minute

Not much you can do about that if you’re Wolfsburg. That’s a world-class finish from outside the box — although Wolfsburg defender Dante gifts one of the world’s premier strikers waaay too much room.

Just like that, in almost exactly 60 seconds, Wolfsburg has gone from in control of a road match against the Bundesliga’s best side to down a goal. One of the swifter momentum shifts you’ll see in any sport.

55th minute

There’s the hat trick. And he hasn’t even been on the field 10 minutes. This one represents Lewandowski’s determination to play like his family is being held hostage until he nets a hat trick. Of all five goals, it’s the one that makes you shake your head and say, Man, that guy doesn’t quit. Nothing stops him from finding the back of the net — not the post, not the keeper, and not two defenders.

That’s the thing about Lewy; his goals come with such variety: blasts from 25 yards out, workmanlike activity around the net, headers, left foot, right foot, etc. He gets it done in such a wide array of styles that you don’t really have an answer for him on defense.

Before we go further, we have to acknowledge THAT PASS from Arturo Vidal. Bayern already has Wolfsburg on the run, but then Vidal slips a beauty of a through ball to a rushing Muller. As two defenders stop him in his tracks, Muller drops the ball off to Gotze on his right, who finds a wide open Lewandowski with a one-touch pass.

Also, not to pile on, but what is Dante doing here? As Lewandowski collects the ball with no one around him, Dante actually turns around to motion to his teammate. He comes off as an absentminded teenager here.

57th minute

With Douglas Costa raging down the sideline (I think he somehow passed it to himself here), Lewandowski just trails the play attentively before anticipating where Costa’s cross will land. Obviously, no one with a white jersey does the same, because Robert is wide open in the middle of the box. With a deft right leg, he slams the ball home just below the crossbar. If you were watching the game live, you officially can no longer walk away from the TV, because Lewandowski will score again the second you do.

60th minute

OK, at this point he’s just showing off. Who pulls off that volley after just scoring four other goals? This is the Steph Curry Heat Check Goal.

Again, it’s Gotze launching the ball in from the right wing to a waiting Lewandowski, who simply pivots on his left foot, slices his right leg through the air, and connects squarely, sending the ball rocketing by a helpless Diego Benaglio into the left corner. Goodness gracious.

“You just cannot be that good!” We all agree, especially Pep.


This was one of those rare moments early in the season where everything just stops. Everyone watching the game relishes the unlikeliness of what they’re witnessing. Twitter blows up in disbelief. Even the opponent seems like they have stopped playing to watch what is taking place. Lewandowski was revealing the entire arsenal of his attacking acumen. Each goal had something new on display, and it was all capped off by a frontrunner for Bundesliga Goal of the Year.

Another aspect that made this a historic moment was the early season significance of this match. This wasn’t a meaningless blowout against a cellar dweller like Hannover 96. This was a heavyweight bout between two of the best 3-4 teams in the Bundesliga, in which the favorite had been knocked down in his hometown. And a simple substitution made all the difference in the world.


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About the author: Drew Wendt


I'm the editor for SoccerPro's blogs and enjoy writing about The Beautiful Game myself. I follow US Soccer, Chelsea, and Dortmund. Since my hometown is St. Louis that means I'm left without an MLS team, but recently I've jumped onto the Sporting KC bandwagon. Non-soccer related interests include basketball, film, and music.

Website: https://www.soccerpro.com


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