BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
As Scotland supporters watch Robert Lewandowski’s recent form with a mixture of astonishment and alarm, one of his compatriots behind enemy lines believes he has sussed out the Poland talisman’s recipe for success.
Hearts defender Blazej Augustyn was a teammate of Lewandowski in the Poland under-19 set-up and insists the striker, plying his trade for Znicz Pruszkow at the time, was not a stand-out performer.
However, that all changed when he met Anna Stachurska, a sporting star in her own right after claiming a bronze medal in the Karate World Cup of 2009.
As well her own athletic feats, she is renowned for her blog – ‘Healthy Plan By Ann’ – which offers advice on nutritious eating, positive thinking and fitness regimes.
And Augustyn believes her decision to revolutionise Lewandowski’s diet has satisfied his appetite for goals.
The 27-year-old has scored 10 goals in his last three matches, leaving Scotland with the onerous task of somehow shackling the Bayern Munich forward at Hampden next Thursday.
“I am not surprised at how he has improved because he is a good guy,” Augustyn recalled. “He was always looking at ways he could improve.
“And then he met his wife – and I don’t know what things she does for him – but it works . . . I mean food!
“She is famous for her cooking in Poland. She makes things without Gluten and talks about what she cooks on her blog.
“Sometimes she won’t say anything about what he has had to eat before the game, it is a secret.
“It’s always nice to see a guy you played with get to that level. I have many different friends who are playing at a high level and I am always happy when they do well.
“We played with him for the youth teams. He wasn’t as good then as he is now but he has grown up a lot since then.”
Augustyn, who boasts three caps for the Poland under-21 side, harbours ambitions of playing alongside Lewandowski at next summer’s European Championships.
The former Bolton, Legia Warsaw, Catania and Gornik Zabrze has seen his career hampered by fitness woes – including two separate cruciate knee ligament injuries – and missed six weeks of this season with an achilles problem.
However, Augustyn has no doubt he can force himself into Poland manager Adam Nawalka’s thoughts if he can stay fit for the rest of the season.
“I was always close to being called up but my injuries affected those chances,” he continued. “If I can play well here every week for one season then they will look at me, at least.
“I don’t like to talk about what might have happened if I had not been injured in the past, that’s in the past. But, looking forward, I know if I stay fit and play games I can go [to Euro 2016].”
While Augustyn acknowledges “the losers may have to do press-ups” in the Hearts dressing room following Poland’s clash with Scotland next week, his focus is solely on the Jambos’ encounter against Kilmarnock this afternoon.
And he believes the capital club, who are looking to register their first league win since August 22, will take confidence from last week’s 0-0 draw at Celtic Park.
He added: “We have to be optimistic right now because good teams from all over Europe go to Celtic and lose goals – so we did well. We defended as a team and even the strikers helped us a lot. Now we have to play like that against all the other teams.”