After sticking away a postage stamp free-kick in Bayern Munich's 6-1 rout of Mainz, David Alaba has revealed he has club legend Mehmet Scholl and teammate Robert Lewandowski to thank for his unerring dead-ball prowess.
At least thirteen of Scholl's 98 Bundesliga goals were free-kicks, with a further 15 coming from the penalty spot. There were probably more, but official data collection only began in the Bundesliga in 1993, by which point Scholl had already scored 16 times in the German top flight.
He retired in 2007 as an eight-time Bundesliga champion, before stepping into coaching with the Bayern U13s a year later.
About the same time, a teenaged Alaba joined the Bayern youth ranks, playing for the U17s and U19s, before being promoted to the reserve team ahead of the 2009/2010 campaign and playing under newly installed Bayern II coach, Scholl.
Alaba, who has won eight Bundesliga titles of his own since making his top-flight debut in March 2010, says he still feels the legendary Bayern No.7's influence to this day.
"I started working on my free-kicks from a young age. Mehmet Scholl was my coach in the reserve team, and he made a lot of time for me. He really helped me refine my technique."
Watch: Skip to see 00:40 to see David Alaba hit top bins against Mainz
Like Scholl, Alaba has also been know to take corner-kicks and penalties, scoring three times from the spot in the Bundesliga, and dispatching a handful more in cup shoot-outs.
He is not Bayern's first-choice penalty taker, however. That honour belongs to chief goal-getter Lewandowski, who occasionally assumes free-kick duties as well.
The Poland international's most recent dead-ball strike fell on Matchday 2, as part of a match-winning hat-trick at Schalke.
Alaba says the two players regularly put in extra hours on the training ground, in search of set-piece perfection.
"Lewy and I often stay out on the pitch during the week, practising free-kicks," explained the 27-year-old. "Twenty minutes at least - sometimes half-an-hour.
"I'm glad he scored one against Schalke, and I'm happy it worked out for me against Mainz."
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