Lewandowski desperate for long-awaited Cech mate

Football - Arsenal v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group F - Emirates Stadium, London, England - 20/10/15 Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski Reuters / Dylan Martinez Livepic

LONDON (Reuters) - Robert Lewandowski is more determined than ever to get a goal when Bayern Munich face Arsenal in their return Champions League game because he has never scored against their keeper Petr Cech.

The 33-year-old Czech international, who denied Lewandowski with two outstanding saves in the second half of Arsenal's 2-0 win over Bayern in a pulsating Group F match on Tuesday, has thwarted Lewandowski on four occasions -- three times in internationals and again at Arsenal.

"I have never yet managed to score a goal against him," Poland striker Lewandowski, who had scored 22 goals in his last 16 matches for club and country, told Reuters.

"Not a single goal. And that is despite facing him when Poland have played the Czech Republic at international level as well. It is one of those quirks you get in football.

"He is an absolutely excellent goalkeeper. But it is good to immediately have another chance to try to beat him in the coming weeks, with Arsenal visiting Bayern, and in another Poland match against the Czech Republic next month.

"That match is only a friendly but there is a big rivalry between us and it will be an important part of both our preparations for Euro 2016."

Bayern play Arsenal on Nov. 4 in Munich, followed by the international on Nov. 17 in Wroclaw.

Lewandowski has been in blistering form this season with some stunning strikes to make him the hottest forward in Europe.

But his personal favourite is probably one of the least attractive goals of his career -- a scrambled prod over the line in the dying seconds for Poland's equaliser in their 2-2 draw against Scotland in a Euro 2016 qualifier in Glasgow this month.

"The goal in Glasgow was very special as it meant so much to the team," he said.

"It was the last kick of the match and it completely changed the mood in the squad. It gave us the platform to then complete qualification against Ireland in Warsaw."


Lewandowski, Poland's captain, is immensely proud of having secured a place at the Euros in France next year, the first time he has been part of a team qualifying for a major tournament.

His only previous participation was at Euro 2012, which Poland co-hosted with Ukraine. Poland met the Czechs in a group match, when he again failed to score against Cech in a 1-0 defeat in Wroclaw.

"It is a very good feeling to have qualified now because you already have something tangible in your pocket early in the season, with also something to look forward to at the end of it," he said.

"But we can't be satisfied with that alone. We have to challenge ourselves to keep improving."

However, it is his club that Lewandowski acknowledges as the source for his sustained improvement over the last year.

As well as his growing maturity and confidence since getting the Polish captaincy, he feels he is now reaping the benefits of joining Bayern.

"When you train every day at Bayern with the level of players we have and the level of coaching staff we have, you cannot help but become a better footballer," he said.

"I haven't got the words to express exactly how much I appreciate what I have gained from being at Bayern," Lewandowski added.

"Playing for Bayern there is a very high standard to maintain. There are huge expectations on us. You have to try to perform at a high level and win every match, every competition you play in. It is immensely demanding, but also very exhilarating."

(Additional reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Ed Osmond)

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