We are not even halfway through the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, yet Borussia Dortmund striker Paco Alcacer has already set a new all-time record for the most goals by a substitute in a single campaign.
On Matchday 16, the Spain forward came off the bench in Düsseldorf to net his 10th 'Jokertor' of the campaign – Joker is the German word for a substitute, and Tor means goal – although his record-breaking achievement wasn't enough to prevent BVB from suffering their first defeat of the Bundesliga season at the hands of Fortuna.
Alcacer's well-placed header from Lukasz Piszczek's cross moved him ahead of former VfB Stuttgart man Ioan Viorel Ganea and Freiburg's Nils Petersen in the all-time list. Both men struck nine times from the bench, in 2002/03 and 2016/17 respectively, though unlike the BVB sharpshooter they needed a full season to reach that mark.
Even if the mood was one of disappointment in the Dortmund camp on Tuesday night, Alcacer's achievement is nothing short of exceptional. The former Barcelona striker has now notched a league-leading 12 goals despite making just four starts, and is currently averaging a goal every 39 minutes!
"I know what Paco is capable of," explained coach Lucien Favre back in October, when the 25-year-old came off the bench to stun Augsburg with a second-half hat-trick. "He hasn't played the full 90 minutes in over three years, but he's got a real feel for the game."
That is certainly true of a player who has now scored in all seven league games this season in which he has been brought on as a second-half substitute. In fact, he has only failed to net in two of his 11 appearances, against Wolfsburg and Schalke, and on both occasions he was included in Favre's starting XI.
Dortmund's mettle is likely to be given a serious test on Friday as they welcome second-placed Borussia Mönchengladbach to the Signal Iduna Park, only three days after suffering that defeat in Düsseldorf. But if there is one man the Black-Yellow faithful can rely on to get things back on track it is surely their Spanish supersub Alcacer, the Bundesliga's top scorer and first-ever Joker to hit double figures in a single season.
"I'm loving it at Dortmund," said the man himself, not long before making his summer loan deal from Barcelona permanent. "I'm scoring goals, we're playing well and there's harmony in the team. That's what matters most, even more than me scoring goals."