Munich - Despite being the Bundesliga's most prolific striker in the current calendar year, Bayer 04 Leverkusen forward has been off Germany coach Joachim Löw's radar for some time.

However, after hitting his 19th league goal in 2012 to put his side on course for an historic 2-1 victory away at FC Bayern Munich on Sunday, Kießling may have fired his way back into the international reckoning.

Ever since UEFA EURO 2012, the national team boss has made a habit of naming just one striker in his squads. With Bayern's Mario Gomez out injured and Lukas Podolski redefined as an attacking midfielder, Lazio veteran Miroslav Klose has been given sole responsibility for leading the nation to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Another chance


Serious injuries to Cacau and Patrick Helmes have admittedly left Löw’s options limited, but the Bundestrainer was at the Allianz Arena to witness the 28-year-old's predatory instincts first hand and may now struggle to find arguments against giving the Leverkusen frontman another chance.

Kießling earned his first Germany cap under Löw on 28 March 2007 but was made to wait another two years before making his next appearance. While the lanky No11 was part of Germany's 2010 World Cup squad, the line between Kießling and Löw has since gone dead, with the forward stuck on six international caps.

Neuer-beater


The statistics more than justify calls for Kießling's return to the national set-up. To put his 19 goals this year into context, last season's top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has hit the net 17 times in the same period, while current leading scorer Mario Mandzukic has hit twelve, Gomez just ten.

As if that were not enough, Kießling has the enviable knack of being able to find a way past Manuel Neuer with regularity. Löw regards the Bayern shot-stopper as the best goalkeeper on the planet, yet Kießling has beaten the Germany No1 five times, a feat matched only by former VfL Wolfsburg striker Grafite. While Kießling proclaimed he was "delighted to have broken the curse" of Leverkusen's 23 years of winless trips to Munich, his display may also have brought another more personal barren spell to an end.

A further sign of Kießling's rising confidence levels came in Leverkusen's 3-2 DFB-Cup win over Arminia Bielefeld in midweek. Although his exquisite touch to Lars Bender did not result in a goal, it was arguably a move he would not even have dared try in 2011. Leverkusen and perhaps even Germany fans can get used to more of the same in the months to come.

Ben Gladwell