Clinical, prolific, instinctive. When Nike were discussing locations to launch the Hypervenom 3 they looked towards their newly assembled squad of Hypervenom players for inspiration, attackers who define what the silo represents. Rashford, Cavani, Kane, Higuain – all lethal in the box. But the man with the most career goals to his name? Robert Lewandowski. We found ourselves in Munich.
In the week where he'd lace up the Hypervenom 3 for the first time to score a brace (including a sublime last minute winner) in a 2-1 victory over Freiberg we sat down with the Bayern Munich striker to chat about how he makes his money – putting balls in goals and trophies in cabinets. Lewandowski is the goalscorer, the main point of attack, the threat. With that in mind, it's nine questions for the big number nine...
Robert, first thing's first – what do you think of the new Nike Hypervenom 3?
I think they're amazing. They are very comfortable and as a striker that's a very important thing. They're lighter than the previous generation boot too, and again, for a striker like me that's always a key feature. I like to be responsive and quick out of the blocks so it's all good. The colourway is great too, I love a bright boot, I think most strikers do. They definitely stand out.
When did Nike first show you the boot?
I first saw the project maybe six months ago, could have even been longer. I was given an all black prototype in the summer to test throughout pre-season to get used to and also to provide feedback to Nike about the new technology. It's always exciting when you get a parcel delivered from Nike with a mystery pair of boots inside. I've been wearing them in training but now I'm happy I can wear them in games.
Wherever you've been in your career you've consistently scored goals. Is finishing something that's come naturally to you or is it something you work hard on?
As a striker the fans expect you to score the goals. My main objective when playing is to help the team, it just so happens that in my position scoring the goals does that. I'm not a striker that just likes to wait upfront for the ball, I like to get involved and help my teammates. I've always been good at putting the ball in the net, it's as much down to your anticipation and movement as it is down to actually striking the ball. You can work on some of that in training but it's more about reading the game, your teammates and defenders in a match situation.
Do you approach each game a little differently now that you're a little bit older and a proven goalscorer?
For the striker every new season is a new challenge, it doesn't matter how many goals you scored in the previous season. Every new season it is like you are starting all over again, like it's your first ever season and you need to prove yourself. You cannot afford to start a game thinking about how well you did in the last game or the last season. As soon as you stop giving everything and perhaps rely on reputation thinking that will lead to success, you'll stop scoring goals, stop playing well and stop winning. You have to stay sharp mentally and physically, to be ready to score when an opportunities arises.
Do you still get the same feeling when you score a goal now as you did when you were a teenager starting your career?
Yes, I will never get bored of that feeling! It's so difficult to describe it. How one split second of action, something that you do instinctively can make 60,000 people in a stadium go crazy. When the ball hits the net and you hear that wall of noise it's still as emotional and as exciting as it was when I scored my first goal in professional football. Nothing can match the adrenaline rush of scoring a goal in a big match in a full stadium. Seriously, nothing.
Why would anyone want to be a defender?
Yeah! I don't know! Although when you're a striker and you don't score for a few games there is a lot of pressure. The fans expect you to score goals, so when you don't score for a few games your performances become transparent. The fans and media judge you by how many goals you score, not necessarily your other work on the pitch. Maybe it's different for defenders, maybe there is less pressure. Pressure doesn't particularly bother me though, I know if I keep doing the right things the goals will come. Some games you're just unlucky, but that's what is great about playing for Bayern Munich – if you're not scoring, there's lots of other player that can.
Which players in your career have you had the best understanding with on the pitch?
At Bayern Munich there's so many intelligent players. Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller to name just a few. I've played with these three for a very long time. Douglas Costa too. Every player is a little bit different, you learn what to expect from each player in different situations and of course the longer you play with them the better the understanding. Those players always know where I'm going to be. It's instinctive. They always know when or where I will make a run and when to play the ball.
Each season, when you play in the Bundesliga and Champions League you come up against the same defenders. Do you have to keep changing your game to keep these defenders guessing?
Yeah absolutely. The Bundesliga especially is very tactical defensively, you know that these defenders are watching your every move in your previous games so you can never become predictable. Sometimes it's very difficult to play against them because you don't have space and you don't have time to think about what you're going to do with the ball. You have to play quick and think even quicker.
The Hypervenom is designed for the number 9. The number you wear for Bayern Munich and Poland. What does that number represent for you?
It represents the person who loves to score the goals. When I think of the number 9, I think of the top goalscorer. I've always worn the number 9 since I was about 7 years old. I remember watching some of the players who also wore it when I was growing up and I wanted to be just like them. The number 9 has such a presence on the pitch, it's powerful. Even now when there are so many random numbers out there. Being given the number 9 is like the manager telling you that you're the main striker, the one he trusts to get the job done.
View the full recap from the Nike Hypervenom 3 Munich Launch Event here.