Schalke have turned to Simon Terodde to help them make an immediate return to the Bundesliga, and a closer look at the 33-year-old suggests the Royal Blues have secured the services of Bundesliga 2's equivalent to Robert Lewandowski.
Terodde does have Bundesliga experience, with 10 goals in 58 German top-flight outings spread across spells with Cologne and VfB Stuttgart, but it is in the second tier where he has made a name for himself, and drawn comparisons with the world's top goalgetter.
With 153 goals in 262 games, Terodde is to Bundesliga 2 what Lewandowski is to the Bundesliga: a goal machine. Twenty-four of those came last season for Hamburg, although they were ultimately not quite enough to earn the northern club promotion back to the big time. Having swapped the Red Shorts for the Royal Blues this summer, Terodde is keen to ensure his goals earn him a fourth crack at Bundesliga football in 2022/23.
"I grew up in the district of Borken and when a club like Schalke come calling, it's hard to say no," Terodde said. "I don't want to listen to such an offer in 10 years' time, but take this chance now, in a difficult time for the club.
"I basically got the feeling that the club really value me, and that they really want me – that made it an easy decision for me."
Terodde did not waste any time showing his new employers what he is all about either, netting a hat-trick in their first warm-up fixture ahead of the new season. That is hardly surprising, though, for a player who needs no orientation advice for when it comes to finding the goal. The first five of his career came in seven appearances in the Oberliga Nordrhein for Duisburg, with whom he had netted a league-high 21 goals in the U19 Bundesliga West as an 18-year-old.
Watch: Terodde's top 5 goals
In three years out on loan at Union Berlin, he got his right boot warmed up with 23 goals in Bundesliga 2, but it was in Bochum where he sharpened his aim, scoring 16 goals in 2014/15 before moving into Lewandowski spheres a year later with 25 in 33 games. The same number of goals, from one fewer game, saw him give Stuttgart a leg-up into the Bundesliga a year later, but after struggling to emulate his heroics in the top flight, he was back on the prowl in his preferred habitat with Cologne, delivering the best season of his career: 29 goals in 33 games.
After another tilt at the top table, with three goals for Cologne, he roared back to Bundesliga 2 with 24 goals in 33 games for HSV – not quite enough for promotion, but proof – if more were needed – that Terodde is Bundesliga 2's Lewandowski, and the man Schalke can count on to fire them straight back to the Bundesliga next season.
And now nine games into the 2021/22 campaign, he's already well into double figures - the first Schalke player in either of the top two divisions to reach that mark inside eight matchdays in the Bundesliga era. It's seen him motor onto 153 career goals in the second tier and equal Dieter Schatzschneider‘s division record, which will surely be consigned to the history books very soon.