What if Robert Lewandowski joined Blackburn instead of Borussia Dortmund?
With the Bundesliga back in action, we are kicking off our What If series with one of the world's top strikers at Bayern Munich...
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 25/05/20 4:16pm
It could have been so different for Robert Lewandowski had events 10 years ago unfolded a little differently.
What actually happened...
In April 2010, Blackburn Rovers came close to signing Lewandowski, only for a freak natural event to scupper the deal.
An eruption from Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokull produced an ash cloud so huge it grounded flights across Europe and prevented Lewandowski from travelling to Lancashire.
Borussia Dortmund pounced and the Poland striker eventually opted for the Yellow Wall over the Red Rose after Rovers baulked at Lech Poznan's £4m asking price.
What if he'd swapped the Ekstraklasa for Ewood Park? Here's what could have happened...
"He's got absolutely everything needed to become the next Kevin Davies," says Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce, presenting his new striker to the media before the start of the 2010-11 season.
The 21-year-old sitting next to Allardyce grins awkwardly for the cameras.
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Lewandowski, fresh from another impressive season in Poland, has just signed a three-year deal with Blackburn after rejecting the opportunity to join bigger clubs in Europe.
Despite rumoured interest from Borussia Dortmund, Lewandowski opted for Rovers after being convinced by the enthusiasm of Allardyce and the lucrative contract on offer in England.
After surviving his first Premier League press conference, Lewandowski heads home and spends the evening watching DVDs of Bolton highlights from the previous decade - keen to impress his manager, studying the likes of Davies, El Hadji Diouf and Kevin Nolan.
It appears to have an effect, as the striker promptly collects four bookings in his first five games.
His first two goals for Blackburn fittingly come in a 3-0 win over Bolton in the world-renowned A666 derby, as Rovers climb to sixth place in October.
Seven more follow before the end of the year, with Lewandowski firmly in the running for top scorer alongside Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester City's Carlos Tevez and another surprise contender in West Brom's future Deadline Day star Peter Odemwingie.
Four months into the campaign, Indian poultry giant Venky's complete their takeover of the club and retain Allardyce as manager after the team's promising start to the season.
Hoping to get the fans on side with a marquee signing, the new owners launch a bid to recruit Ronaldinho in the January transfer window. The Brazilian, sensing his time with AC Milan is coming to an end, agrees to join Rovers on a six-month deal.
However, the move falls through at the final stage and Ronaldinho returns to his boyhood club Gremio to see out the remainder of his career.
With no time left in the window to pursue Plan B - a loan deal for Manchester City's mercurial talent Mario Balotelli - Blackburn are forced to continue their push for Europe without a star signing.
Despite the setback, Rovers continue to exceed expectations - largely thanks to an unlikely partnership between Lewandowski and local lad David Dunn.
The pair both score twice in a 4-2 aggregate win over Liverpool in the semi-finals of the League Cup, setting up a Wembley meeting with West Ham.
However, it ends in tears for Rovers and Lewandowski when the Hammers win 4-0, in what would later become known as the famous 'Carlton Cole final'.
The Premier League becomes the sole focus of the campaign a fortnight later when Rovers, unable to cope with the threat of human slingshot Rory Delap, lose to Stoke in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Blackburn bounce back to go seven games unbeaten in the league, a run which includes wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, and sees Lewandowski named Player of the Month for April.
They head into the final day of the season needing to win at Newcastle to snatch fifth place and a Europa League spot from Allardyce's former club.
With the game locked at 1-1 heading into added time, Lewandowski volleys a Morten Gamst Pedersen corner in off the bar, sending the travelling support into delirium.
Lewandowski wheels away in celebration after securing the Golden Boot, while Allardyce runs down the touchline with a single finger pressed to his lips, channelling his inner Jose Mourinho.
Things soon turn sour though as neither Allardyce nor Lewandowski remain with Blackburn long enough to experience their European adventure.
Shortly after the euphoria of St James' Park, Allardyce leaves to become England manager while Lewandowski angers Blackburn fans by forcing through a move to Italian giants Juventus.
A bitter end to the most memorable one-season spell in Premier League history.
Look out for our next What If with a Manchester United goalkeeper changing the course of Jose Mourinho's career.....