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Will the Bundesliga have a fourth World Cup Golden Boot winner to celebrate in 2022, after Thomas Müller, Miroslav Klose and Gerd Müller? - © DFL 2022
Will the Bundesliga have a fourth World Cup Golden Boot winner to celebrate in 2022, after Thomas Müller, Miroslav Klose and Gerd Müller? - © DFL 2022
bundesliga

The Bundesliga's top 5 Golden Boot candidates at the 2022 World Cup

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As one of the top three best represented leagues at the 2022 World Cup, the Bundesliga is not exactly short of top scorer candidates. bundesliga.com runs the rule over its most likely Golden Boot winners, including Jamal Musiala and Niclas Füllkrug...

Jamal Musiala

Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Germany
Group opposition: Japan, Spain, Costa Rica

Musiala has been turning heads week in, week out at Bayern, so it stands to reason he'll do the same in a Germany shirt. With 12 goals and 10 assists across all competitions, the 19-year-old has been the record champions' leading light in attack so far in 2023/23. He's also had a direct hand in more goals than any Bundesliga player (nine of his own, plus six assists), despite operating in attacking midfield.

Competition for places is fierce - Thomas Müller, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Mario Götze and Kai Havertz will all be involved in some capacity at the finals - but Hansi Flick, who handed a 17-year-old Musiala his professional debut with Bayern, doesn't plan to hide the twinkle-toed teen's light under a bushel.

"With every dribble, he creates a different game situation and opens up the opponent," the Germany head coach said after Musiala contributed to two goals in the 3-3 UEFA Nations League draw with England in September. "That's what sets Jamal apart."

Watch: The best of Musiala

Serge Gnabry

Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Germany
Group opposition: Japan, Spain, Costa Rica

Gnabry also has form on his side. The Bayern forward scored six times in the final six Bundesliga fixtures of the year, including a hat-trick against Werder Bremen. He did so operating as a right-sided winger, but could assume a more central role for Germany in the absence of Timo Werner.

It's a position Gnabry knows well from his time under Joachim Löw. The former VfB Stuttgart, Arsenal, Bremen and Hoffenheim attacker scored eight of his 15 goals of the post-2018 World Cup cycle when deployed as a central striker, compared to two in nine as a winger since Flick was appointed coach last summer.

Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry (c.) will hope to cook up a storm at the World Cup with Germany. - IMAGO/IMAGO/ActionPictures

"It's difficult to say which position I prefer," admitted Gnabry in an interview with Goal. "I have a little more fun through the middle because that's the position I always played in my youth, but on the wing, whether right or left, I also feel good. The main thing is that I play offensively."

Niclas Füllkrug

Club: Werder Bremen
Country: Germany
Group opposition: Japan, Spain, Costa Rica

Gnabry guarantees goals wherever he plays, but the emergence of Füllkrug as a potential to successor to the great Miroslav Klose could see the Bayern man set up shop in the attacking wide areas. The Germany newcomer has been handed the fabled No.9 jersey, after all.

"Niclas deserved the goal. He had two or three other shots. You could sense his presence up front as soon as he was on the pitch," said Flick after Füllkrug stepped off the bench to mark his senior international debut with the winning goal in Germany's World Cup warm-up against Oman.

Watch: Niclas Füllkrug - October Player of the Month

It was Füllkrug's 11th goal of the season, adding to his 10 in 14 Bundesliga matches for Bremen. The 29-year-old former youth international is the highest-scoring German in 2022/23, the second most trigger happy (46 goal attempts) and, as a no-frills fox-in-the-box, the only player of his type in Flick's squad.

Six is the average Golden Boot-worthy tally of the modern era, while four of the last six winners were centre-forwards who reached at least the quarter-finals. Even a string of second-half cameos - as evinced by his debut splash in Muscat, where Füllkrug also had an effort ruled out for offside - could yield a bumper crop of goals.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Club: Bayern Munich
Country: Cameroon
Group opposition: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is of a similar ilk to Füllkrug. Tall, strong, selfless and, when he needs to be, selfish. In the words of Bayern teammate Gnabry, "he's the best target man in the world!"

On current form, Choupo-Moting is certainly right up there with the best of them. In 16 appearances in all competitions this season, the 33-year-old has hit 11 goals, six across his last six in the Bundesliga among them. Robert Lewandowski's former understudy is now Bayern's main man.

"We know we can rely on Choupo, he's a great player," enthused Bayern tactician Julian Nagelsmann following one of the Cameroon forward's now customary star turns. "When he's fully fit, we know exactly the qualities he has."

If Choups has the service to feed on at the World Cup, Cameroon have every chance of getting out of a group that includes Neymar's Brazil and a Bundesliga-heavy Switzerland ensemble. Despite the injury-enforced absence of Bayern and Senegal star Sadio Mane, a first African Golden Boot recipient remains a distinct possibility.

Andre Silva

Club: RB Leipzig
Country: Portugal
Group opposition: Ghana, Uruguay, Korea Republic

Leipzig's Andre Silva goes up against African opposition in the form of Ghana in Group H. The Portugal front man will also have the chance to strut his stuff in matches with Uruguay and the Korea Republic, most likely in the role of Cristiano Ronaldo's back-up.

Silva is yet to score at a major finals, but he does have 10 goals in 16 World Cup qualifying appearances to his name. He's also got his mojo back domestically, having produced five goals and five assists across 13 games since the start of October. For reference, Ronaldo has scored just three times for Manchester United this term.

RB Leipzig and Portugal striker has been scoring goals at the highest level for years. - IMAGO/kolbert-press/Burghard Schreyer/IMAGO/kolbert-press

"I noticed Andre hadn't had the best time of things at Leipzig, but he's giving everything in training, he scores all the time and has really tried to show why he deserves to be starting games," explained Marco Rose, whose appointment as Leipzig head coach has coincided with Silva's return to form. "When he gets those chances, he has to take them."

Happily, that's something that comes naturally to Silva, who has 53 goals in 105 Bundesliga games, including a single-season club record 28 in the colours of former employers Eintracht Frankfurt (2020/21). Plan A, B or C, he's one heck of an option for the 2016 European champions.