Bundesliga Forwards Performance
The Bundesliga tends to get overlooked by North American fans and it’s been labeled a farmers league by many fans based on the dominance of Bayern Munich. Everybody knows how strong Robert Lewandowski is performing this season as the Polish international has 14 goals in 12 games in the Bundesliga this season. I think because of the dominance of Bayern Munich and the performance by a World Class talent like Robert Lewandowski that people tend to forget about the rest of the league. This season has been exciting so far with plenty of goals and talented forwards making impacts, so today I will be taking a look at 5 over-performing and 5 under-performing forwards.
5. Andi Zeqiri - FC Augsburg
The 22 year old Swiss forward joined the club on loan from Brighton this season and there wasn’t necessarily much expected from Zeqiri heading into this year. FC Augsburg already had a couple notable forwards on the team with experience in the Bundesliga such as Alfred Finnbogason, Sergio Cordova, Florian Niederlechner and Michael Gregoritsch and it was hard to imagine Zeqiri getting that involved in this group. Notable injuries to Finnbogason and Niederlechner have kind of paved the way for Zeqiri, who only played in 9 games last season for Brighton with zero contributions. So far this season for Augsburg, Zeqiri has 2 goals and 2 assists in 9 games in the Bundesliga.
4. Jacob Bruun Larsen - Hoffenheim
The Denmark international winger is back playing for Hoffenheim after a brief loan spell with RSC Anderlecht where he scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 19 games. The 23 year old had 2 assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances during his last stint in Germany during the 2019/2020 season and he wasn’t really projected to find a key role for Hoffenheim in their fairly solid offense. In 10 games this season he has 3 goals and he has looked fairly explosive coming down the left wing in support of superstar forward Andrej Kramaric.
3. Jonathan Burkardt - FC Mainz 05
The 21 year old German striker could be developing into a superstar before our eyes as he has 6 goals and 2 assists in 13 games this season for Mainz 05 playing in the main forward role. Last season he played in 29 games for Mainz 05 but only contributed 2 goals and 2 assists and I think major clubs should begin to take notice of Burkardt. He also has 7 goals in 17 appearances with the Germany U21 team.
2. Taiwo Awoniyi - Union Berlin
The Nigerian forward made the permanent switch to Union Berlin this season from Liverpool after spending last year on loan with Union Berlin where he scored 5 goals and 3 assists in 21 games. The 24 year old only cost Union Berlin 7.15 million in the summer and so far this season he has exploded for 8 goals in 12 Bundesliga games this season. Taiwo Awoniyi and Union Berlin have enjoyed a great start to the season with a 5-5-2 record for 5th place in the Bundesliga.
1. Anthony Modeste - FC Koln
The 33 year old veteran forward was entering this season with very low expectations as Sebastian Andersson looked like the clear starter for this team during the pre-season. Anthony Modeste was making the return to FC Koln after playing the second half of last season with Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 and in 17 games between the two clubs he scored 1 goal. The season prior he struggled with FC Koln in the Bundesliga with only 4 goals in 27 games. It looked like age was just catching up to the same player that scored 25 goals in 34 Bundesliga games with Koln during the 2016/17 season. I have been amazed at the start this season for Anthony Modeste as he has 8 goals and 1 assist in 12 Bundesliga games putting him tied for third in league scoring. Modeste has always been a class act and I'm so happy to see him performing at such a high level at 33 years old.
5. Ermedin Demirovic - SC Freiburg
The 23 year old Bosnian forward entered this season with some momentum behind him after a very strong year with Freiburg last season where he scored 5 goals and 10 assists in 30 Bundesliga games. He was expected to make further progress entering this season but so far this year Lucas Holer has taken the role as the main guy for Freiburg while Demirovic has 0 contributions in 11 Bundesliga appearances. There is still time for Demirovic to get going this season but Lucas Holer has performed exceptional with 3 goals and 3 assists in 12 games and it’s hard to imagine Demirovic replacing him as the starter.
4. Florian Kruger - Arminia Bielefeld
The 22 year old was one of the main offseason additions for Arminia Bielefeld as they hope to avoid relegation for the second consecutive season and build some momentum in the league. Kruger spent last season with FC Erzgebirge Aue in the 2.Bundesliga and in 34 games with the club he scored 11 goals with 7 assists. There were some concerns about the adjustment period from the second tier Bundesliga up to the top league and so far this season he has 0 contributions in 10 games. This signing is particularly disappointing for Arminia Bielefeld who have a small transfer budget and he was one of their three main signings this offseason and Arminia is now 1-6-5 for 19th in the Bundesliga.
3. Ruben Vargas - FC Augsburg
I’ve always been a fan of Ruben Vargas and a big believer in the Swiss international winger but he has really underperformed so far this season. Every season it feels like Vargas is going to jump to the next level and really begin to perform at a superstar level but he has failed to reach that level. He has 2 assists in 10 appearances for FC Augsburg after a decent season last year with 6 goals and 3 assists in 30 games. I’m really hoping Vargas can turn this season around and help Augsburg avoid relegation this season.
2. Marcus Thuram - Monchengladbach
The past two seasons have been great for Marcus Thuram with Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga as he has 18 goals and 15 assists in 61 total league games. According to transfermarkt, he has a market value of $30.80 million; which puts him as the most valuable player on the Monchengladbach team that includes Florian Neuhaus, Denis Zakaria and Matthias Ginter. The numbers for Thuram so far this season make that statement seem almost blasphemous as the 24 year old has 0 contributions in 5 games this year.
1.Paulinho - Bayer Leverkusen
This isn’t entirely the fault of Paulinho as Bayer Leverkusen have too many talented forwards on the roster that it makes it hard to really stand out and find goals. The problem is that in 2018, Leverkusen spent $20 million dollars on the young Brazilian as they were hoping he would develop into a superstar. The 21 year old has 1 assist in 10 games this season and they are giving him opportunities in the starting line-up alongside the superstar striker Patrik Schick. Paulinho has seen his market value gradually decrease since 2018 but he is still young and Leverkusen shouldn’t completely write him off yet.