Lewandowski ready to shoot down Germany

Poland's Robert Lewandowski gestures as he celebrates scoring a goal against Montenegro during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match in Warsaw September 6, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

PARIS: Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is tipping Germany to win Euro 2016, but it will not stop the Bundesliga star trying to shoot down the world champions when the sides meet Thursday.

Lewandowski proved his reputation as one of the world’s best strikers as he finished top scorer with 13 goals in qualifying for the European Championship finals.

Poland’s 27-year-old captain arrived in France on the back of a stellar season at Bayern Munich, netting 42 goals in all competitions for the Bavarians.

Poland have only beaten Germany once in 20 meetings, when they out-thought die Mannschaft 2-0 in a qualifier in Warsaw in October 2014 with goals from Arkadiusz Milik and Sebastian Mila.

But after beating Northern Ireland 1-0 in their opening match at Euro 2016, Lewandowski wants to again down their neighbours to put Poland in the knock-out phase and top of Group C.

“For me, Germany are the favourites for the whole tournament, but anything can happen. We have to stay calm and be confident against them,” said Lewandowski.

“No fear, no stress — we also need to have some fun (against them.”

There is nothing more the ambitious striker would like than to claim his first goal of these finals against the world champions.

Lewandowski’s face bore the marks of some rough defending from the Irish back four as Milik’s single goal gave Poland victory on Sunday in Nice.

No-one knows the Germany side as well as Lewandowski.

The Bayern ace will face his club’s centre-back Jerome Boateng and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at the heart of the German defence at the Stade de France.

He regularly plays against die Mannschaft’s stars for his club in Germany’s top-flight.

“The know me very well, but we all know each other well,” he said.

Germany have always got the better of Poland at major finals.

Lukas Podolski scored both goals against the country of his birth when the Germans won their Euro 2008 group stage match in Klagenfurt.

And an injury-time Oliver Neuville goal sealed Germany’s 1-0 win over Poland, also in the group stages, in Dortmund at the 2006 World Cup.

Germany beat Poland 3-1 at home last September in their qualify campaign for France last year, to avenge the away defeat, but the Poles will not settle for a draw.

“Try to get just one point? No way,” said Sevilla midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak.

“Such an attitude would mean a lack of respect to ourselves and to our fans. We only go for three points.”

Arsenal’s Wojciech Szczesny remains doubtful for the game against Germany as the Polish goalkeeper suffered an injury against Northern Ireland and did not take part in Tuesday’s training session.

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