Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz believes that playing up front in the absence of injured teammate Kevin Volland is helping him become even more of a goal threat.
The 20-year-old, who usually plays as an attacking midfielder, scored a brace for the second game in a row as Leverkusen beat top-four rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 on Matchday 27, following on from his double in the 4-1 thrashing of Werder Bremen.
Asked about his positional switch at full time on Saturday, Havertz told bundesliga.com: "I have a free role because I don't feel like I have to stay between the defenders. I can drop back into midfield, which has always been my game, so not a great deal has changed, other than me becoming even more dangerous in front of goal and needing to get into the penalty box more. That suits me very well."
Watch: Havertz: "I'm becoming even more dangerous"
It certainly does. Havertz has scored five goals in his three games moonlighting as a striker and has done so in a variety of ways: two headers, two with his weaker right foot and one penalty.
Indeed, his haul against Gladbach means he has now registered an incredible nine goals and six assists in his last 10 competitive outings for Die Werkself.
Volland has been out of action since mid-February with a foot injury, leading head coach Peter Bosz to reshuffle his side in subsequent matches, eventually preferring Havertz in the lone striker's role to Lucas Alario against Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 25.
The Germany international was at the tip of a 4-2-3-1 formation that day and netted the opener in a 4-0 win. Now, following the resumption of play after coronavirus-enforced suspension, he has continued to operate as a striker – and looks set to continue in the role with Volland unlikely to return any time soon.
"We all know he's an extraordinarily talented player," said Bosz of Havertz in April. "He's still got a lot to learn, but when you're playing so well at such a young […] he's a very special player."
Leverkusen face Wolfsburg on Matchday 28 on Tuesday, before a trip to Freiburg on Friday to round out a tough 'Englische Woche'.