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Lewandowski: 'Last thing we want is having to play Ireland with a knife to our throat'

The Boys in Green will be looking for the in-form Polish striker to do them a favour at Hampden Park tomorrow night.

Lewandowski on the receiving end of a challenge from Scotland's Gordon Greer.
Lewandowski on the receiving end of a challenge from Scotland's Gordon Greer.
Image: Alik Keplicz

POLAND STRIKER ROBERT Lewandowski says he fears Scotland will aim to kick him off the park in their crucial Euro 2016 qualifier at Hampden Park tomorrow.

The Bayern Munich hitman, whose side then face Ireland in their final fixture on Sunday, was subject to some fearsome challenges in the reverse fixture in Warsaw last year and expects more of the same treatment on Thursday.

“I expect the Scots will play very aggressively and not necessarily in accordance with the rules either,” Lewandowski, whose side drew 2-2 with Scotland in Warsaw, said.

“We have to give as good as we get. We cannot be frightened of them. We are playing away, but it is important we keep hold of the ball and win possession.

“If we can play well defensively, we will win. The last thing we want is having to play our final game against Republic of Ireland with a knife to our throat.”

Lewandowski has scored 29 goals in 70 appearances for his country, including hat-tricks against Georgia and Gibraltar in this qualifying campaign.

It’s all down to us. We know Hampden will be a difficult place to go and win, we are well aware of this. You don’t get anything for free at this level,” he added.

“But if we win, we qualify for Euro 2016. We must keep a cool head, be calm and above all not be afraid. If we do that we will be fine.”

Adam Nawalka, who has recalled Artur Sobiech after impressing while leading the line for German side Hannover over the past month, should have a full strength squad to choose from.

Soccer - UEFA Euro 2016 - Qualifying - Scotland Training - Mar Hall Hotel McGhee with Scotland boss Gordon Strachan. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Meanwhile Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee says they don’t fear Lewandowski as they prepare to take on Poland.

Scotland have to avoid defeat if they are to cling on to the hope of finishing in third place to clinch the Group D play-off spot.

The Scots, who haven’t qualified for the finals of a major tournament since 1998, could still face elimination even if they beat the Poles, if Ireland beat Germany in Dublin but then do not beat Poland in Warsaw on Sunday.

Poland, who sit two points behind leaders Germany in second place, could clinch their place in the finals with a win against the Scots and will look to Lewandowski to get the goals to fire them to France.

The Bayern Munich forward is Europe’s in-form striker with 12 goals in his last four games for the German giants.

However, McGhee insists Scotland have not singled him out for special treatment in the crunch clash at Hampden.

“We have total respect for him, a fantastic player,” he said. ”We feel we have to match them in every area.

“Lewandowski is the guy they hope will get goals for them so we have to pay him attention.

“But we have players in form as well, players who scored at the weekend.”

McGhee pointed to the fact that Scotland strikers Leigh Griffiths, Steven Fletcher, Chris Martin and Jordan Rhodes all scored for their respective clubs last weekend as reasons to be positive.

I watched the games and saw Martin, Fletcher, Griffiths scoring goals and that’s encouraging because we know that’s going to bring them here full of confidence,” he added.

“Poland are dangerous, they will feel they can score, but I don’t think we intend to do anything different than we’ve done until now. We’ll still be very difficult to beat.

“If they’re going to do better than us they’re going to have to do well.”

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan will be without Kevin McDonald and Charlie Mulgrew for the fixture through injury while James Morrison is suspended.

- © AFP, 2015

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