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Nine-minute man

Jonathan HardingSeptember 23, 2015

It was a spell that shouldn't be forgotten, for so many reasons but mostly because of just how special Robert Lewandowski is. DW's Jonathan Harding relives it.

Fussball Turnier-Tabelle mit Lewandowskis 5 Toren
Image: Getty Images/L. Preiss/Bongarts

Nine minutes. That's about the same time it takes to cook a batch of spaghetti, wait in line for a coffee at Starbucks or take a morning shower. On September 22, 2015, it took Robert Lewandowski the same time to score five goals - two of which showed technique as remarkable as the feat itself. It was the most number of goals ever scored by a substitute in Bundesliga history, and was the fastest time within which any player has scored as many in Germany's top flight. It was a spectacle, and in a league often discarded for having too few. And not only was it a timely reminder that Bayern is always the team to beat, but also that Lewandowski is always the striker to fear.

Wolfsburg was the second best team in Germany last year. They beat Bayern 4-1, and even ended the year as German Cup winners. It had been some year for Dieter Hecking and his side. Over the summer they may have sold their star in Kevin de Bruyne, but there have been plenty of early signs that his departure is being digested without great irritation. Defensively though, the concerns are new and very unwelcome for the Wolves. Dante's arrival was welcomed, but in truth, as most Bayern business does, it looks a shrewd move from the Bavarians.

But this is not a game from which to dissect defensive disasters - as much as I would normally be inclined to do. Nor was it the time to discuss Wolfsburg's crumbling defence or limp character. It was about one striker's skill. Like Andrew Flintoff's game-changing spell of bowling for England in cricket's 2005 Ashes series, Lewandowski single-handedly changed the course of the fixture in a short but sparkling spell. Wolfsburg was ahead and value for it. Bayern was grinding through the gears rather than slipping through them. Step forward the most complete forward in the modern game.

Off the bench - because Bayern can - Lewandowski was quickly involved. Persistent work from who-else-but Thomas Müller left the well-placed 'Lewy' with a simple finish. Number one. With a gentle caress, he barely touched the ball as he turned goalwards, but with brutal force he unleashed a shot that bent away from Diego Benaglio into the bottom corner. Number two. Fated to play a part, Dante was hapless in his attempt to keep his former teammate at bay, even with the help of the post and his goalkeeper. Number three. With many already dumbfounded, the Polish striker timed another run into the box to side-foot superbly into the back of the net. Number four. Jaws were dropping. Tweets were flying. Eyes were being scratched. And then, as it is with all moments of true disbelief, comes one more. One that shakes the reality you're already struggling to believe. With world-class technique, Lewandowski's sideways scissor kick left Beanglio grasping at air and the Polish striker in the record books. Number five. Five goals to change a game. Five goals to make a name. Lewandowski had won the game for Bayern all by himself, in a manner only two players of the modern era regularly do.

Although the opposition were also wearing white the last time the striker delivered similar heroics, Lewandowski was wearing yellow. It has taken him a while to truly find his best at Bayern, but this was the moment that all changed. Even head coach Pep Guardiola could do nothing but put his hands on his head in disbelief. Nine minutes. Just think about that the next time you're waiting for dinner to be ready.