Stuttgart's formidable striker, Simon Terodde, has been the top scorer in each of the last two Bundesliga 2 seasons, and was the second-top scorer in the season before that. A proven goal-getter at that level, but can he replicate his form in the top flight? If his story until now is anything to go by, you’d be brave to bet against him.
Many of the Bundesliga’s best strikers have spent time in Germany’s second division. The likes of Kevin Volland, Max Kruse and Nils Petersen have all scored goals at that level. However, none have had as much time in the league as Terodde, or the struggle to reach this point that the 29-year-old has had.
Watch: Terodde on the top-flight challenge
Making it the hard way
Terodde is the definition of a late-bloomer and also has an underdog story that is the epitome of hope in football. Having signed his first professional contract with Duisburg, following a record season with the club at youth level, Terodde suffered a meniscus tear and missed the entirety of his first professional season.
He missed a trial at Union Berlin, was sent on loan to Fortuna Düsseldorf, but missed the majority of the season due to a broken rib which infected one of his lungs. Both teams were promoted from the third division, with Terodde only making eight appearances in the campaign.
He did not earn his first minutes in the Bundesliga until November 2010 with Cologne, at the age of 22. At the time, Terodde was mostly sat on the bench for the Billy Goats' second team, in the fourth division, and once called his dad to say “I’m going to stop playing football.
“I went to school and studied to become an industrial mechanic and then concentrated on football. My father and his best friend spoke to me and told me to bite my tongue until I get my chance.”
Watch: Stuttgart's top 10 goals of the 2016/17 season
Since his starting debut in Bundesliga 2 in July 2011, he has scored over 10 goals in four of his six seasons in the German second division with Bochum, Union Berlin, and last season with Stuttgart. He became the first player since the first two seasons of Bundesliga 2 to score 25 goals in consecutive campaigns.
“I am proud to have played over 200 games in the second division,” said Terodde. “It isn’t just any other league.”
Having turned down offers from England, as well as other teams in the Bundesliga, Terodde has remained at Stuttgart heading into the club’s first season back in the top league. The big questions is, though, can he perform as well on the biggest stage in Germany?
Peaking at the right time
The most recent goal-scorers at second division level to make a successful jump to the top-flight are Guido Burgstaller, Florian Niederlechner, Bobby Wood and Vincenzo Grifo. All four of them scored over 10 goals in the season before heading to the Bundesliga.
It appears that Bundesliga clubs are taking a chance on proven second-division players now more than ever. Niederlechner, Grifo and Petersen all came up with Freiburg. Wood and Burgstaller were signed by top-flight giants Hamburg and Schalke respectively.
The timing of Terodde’s arrival in the Bundesliga could not be more perfect, in terms of the recent success of players in his position, and his personal form reaching a career-best over the last two seasons. If the success of Burgstaller in his first season with Schalke, for example, is anything to go by, then the even-more potent Terodde is set for big things.
At 29, the argument that Terodde is in his prime can easily be made. But you can never be sure how successful an unproven quantity will be once it is tested at a level that it has never seen before. Terodde, in the Bundesliga, is exactly that: but if history is anything to go by, then expecting Terodde to give up when things first start going against him would be foolish of Bundesliga fans and defenders.