The Bundesliga’s strikers are on fire. Robert Lewandowski, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Chicharito, Anthony Modeste and Vedad Ibisevic have all scored five goals already this season. bundesliga.com asked former world-class forward Karl-Heinz Riedle to take a closer look at the goalgetters following in his footsteps.
Riedle, who won the FIFA World Cup with Germany and the UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, feels Lewandowski and Aubameyang have their noses slightly in front in the race to become leading scorer…
bundesliga.com: Karl-Heinz Riedle, five players are on five goals after just six matches. How do you rate the top strikers in the Bundesliga at the moment?
Karl-Heinz Riedle: They’re all really good players, with different characters and strengths. At the end of the day, though, I’m certain that one of the two big guns – Robert Lewandowski or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – will secure the Torjägerkanone [awarded to the leading scorer]. They play for the teams that score the most goals and they’ll benefit from that. Chicharito is a real poacher who scores most of his goals in the area and he’s doing a fantastic job for Bayer 04 Leverkusen. He was definitely a great signing. Everyone knew how valuable Vedad Ibisevic would be for Hertha Berlin as soon as he rediscovered the form he showed at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and VfB Stuttgart. And Anthony Modeste is also a good player who scores regularly.
bundesliga.com: Is Lewandowski the most complete striker among the five candidates?
Riedle: Yes, I can’t find any weaknesses in his game. He’s extraordinarily skilful, great in the air and on the ground. He knows which runs to make and he’s quick. There isn’t a more complete striker around.
bundesliga.com: What makes Aubameyang special?
Riedle: He’s by far the quickest and he’s not far off Lewandowski. He offers more on the counter-attack than Lewandowski, who’s able to hold the ball up better. The FC Bayern München man is in a class of his own, although Auba is almost the complete player.
bundesliga.com: What are Chicharito’s main qualities?
Riedle: He knows how to be in the right place at the right time. He’s not like the other two. He’s not as quick, but he has the perfect nose for goal. That’s his greatest strength.
bundesliga.com: Anthony Modeste has been scoring regularly for 1. FC Köln since summer 2015 now.
Riedle: He’s physically very strong and not without skill, but he’s not as good as the others. He needs more chances to score, but he’s still a very good player, and very important for Köln.
bundesliga.com: Is Vedad Ibisevic benefitting from Hertha Berlin’s good form at the moment?
Riedle: I think so yes. He’s a good centre-forward but like Modeste, he’s not at the level of Aubameyang or Lewandowski. His main asset is his coolness in front of goal. He brings a lot of experience as well.
bundesliga.com: It is noticeable that there is no German striker on this list. Do you think Mario Gomez will play a role in the top scorer’s race?
Riedle: We’ll have to see. I hope he scores again soon and is able to show everyone what he can do, but he’s in a difficult situation right now and with every week that he doesn’t score, the pressure on him grows. Gomez is one of those players who needs a break or a good run early on when he joins a new club. Then he’ll start delivering good performances and he’ll blossom if he’s loved by the fans. He needs that break as soon as possible, and once he has it, we’ll see a different Mario Gomez to the one we’re seeing now.
Interview by Tobias Gonscherowski