Robert Lewandowski has spoken in glowing terms about his relationship with Jurgen Klopp, saying the now Liverpool boss was the “bad teacher” who ignited him towards greatness.
After finding life difficult from his teenage years, Lewandowski began scoring regularly for Znicz Pruszkow and Lech Poznan, which earned him a move to Borussia Dortmund in 2010.
In a recent interview with the Players’ Tribune, Lewandowski revealed how his relationship with Klopp developed: “Jurgen was not only a father figure to me. As a coach, he was like the “bad” teacher. And I mean that in the best sense of the word,” he said.
“Let me explain. Think back to you when you were in school. Which teacher do you remember the most? Not the one who made life easy for you and never expected anything from you. No, no, no. You remember the bad teacher, the one who was strict with you. The one who put pressure on you and did everything to get the best out of you. That’s the teacher who made you better, right? And Jurgen was like that.
“He was not content to let you be a B student, you know? Jurgen wanted A+ students. He didn’t want it for him. He wanted it for you.
“He taught me so much. When I arrived at Dortmund, I wanted to do everything quickly: strong pass, one touch only. Jurgen showed me to calm down – to take two touches if necessary.
“It was totally against my nature, but soon I was scoring more goals.
“When I had that down, he challenged me to speed it up again. One touch. BANG. Goal. He slowed me down to speed me up. It sounds simple, but it was genius, really.”
Lewandowski and Klopp played four amazing seasons together at Dortmund, with Lewandowski plundering 103 goals in 187 games as Klopp guided the Black and Yellows in grabbing two Bundesliga titles and a DFB-Pokal Cup. Lewandowski ultimately left Dortmund in 2014 to join rivals Bayern Munich on a free transfer but it is clear that the striker looks back fondly to his time at Dortmund.