In usual circumstances it would be both encouraging and exciting for Germany’s national coach Joachim Löw to see two German strikers in Stefan Kießling and Kevin Kuranyi lead the way in this year’s race to finish top of the Bundesliga goal scoring charts. Conversely, the fact Löw has historically been unimpressed with both individuals could leave the national coach with a conundrum come the summer.
The issue will certainly be one to consider carefully with the lack of form amongst his other striking options a concern. The solitary other German striker currently in double figures this season is Mario Gomez with 10 goals, but he is likely to miss the next three weeks of action with a calf strain. Interestingly the last nine years has seen just one German striker, that being Miroslav Klose, finish top goal scorer outright.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Kießling currently fronts this season’s race on 14 goals, whilst Kuranyi has notched 13 times for FC Schalke 04, shooting their teams to third and second in the division respectively. If it is to be current leader Kießling that goes on to win the award this season then he could successfully force his way into the national side just in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Kießling is on course for his best season yet
Having only claimed two additional international caps since his first back in 2007, it would be a huge thrust forward in a career defining period for the 25 year old. It is already set to be the strikers most productive campaign of his career after only netting 12 times last season. Despite his tall and gangly appearance Kießling has only netted 3 times with his head, the other 11 coming with his favoured right foot. Although at 6ft 3inch he does provide an aerial threat that has helped him to five assists so far this season. Ultimately however, Kießling will be judged by his goals and as an ever present in the Leverkusen side so far this year he is set to get plenty more opportunities to add to his tally.
Kuranyi’s 13 goals have come in 3 less starts than Kießling’s 14, showing a better goal to game ratio. Whilst most will be buoyant by the form of Kuranyi it remains up to the German boss whether it is time to go back on his word and forgive and forget after the striker walked out on his country in a game against Russia in 2008. Despite words of sorrow, Kuranyi has subsequently not been selected for the national team since, and reaching the top of the goal scoring charts for the first time in his career may be the biggest apology he can make.
Kuranyi has a lot of making up to do
Despite scoring double figures in every season since 2003 the striker who was originally born in Brazil to a Panamanian mother has never quite hit his potential. Though with FC Schalke 04 very much in the Bundesliga title race this season he could well make it impossible for Löw not to select him for South Africa.
Both German strikers will be hotly pursued by 23 year old Edin Džeko who is just behind them on 12 for the season. Having banged in the goals that fired VfL Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title last season Džeko is well placed to make a drive to be this season’s top marksman. It is testament to the Bosnian’s attitude and application having been raised amidst The Balkan War that he is now one of Europe’s most sought after goal getters.
Dzeko is set to be one of Europe’s finest
Comfortable finishing with both feet and standing well over six foot, on his day Džeko can be a formidable opponent. Now with his troubled days behind him and with one of the brightest futures in the sport a few more Bundesliga goals this term could line up a big move and further honours.
However, whilst it is Džeko that harbours the biggest striking talent in the division it appears that Kießling and Kuranyi are more likely to benefit from the form of their teams and the service from players around them. Kießling’s deadly partnership with Eren Derdiyok could well take Bayer 04 Leverkusen to the top of the scoring charts come the end of the season, but don’t be surprised to see Kuranyi also make his point. Indeed German fans will be hoping ahead of the World Cup that the recent rarity of a countryman topping the Bundesliga goal charts can provide the national side with an attack reminiscent of past years, even if Löw still needs some convincing.