Augsburg’s Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason (l.) believes there’s no better goalscorer in the Bundesliga than Robert Lewandowski (r.) of Bavarian rivals Bayern Munich. - © Getty Images
Augsburg’s Icelandic striker Alfred Finnbogason (l.) believes there’s no better goalscorer in the Bundesliga than Robert Lewandowski (r.) of Bavarian rivals Bayern Munich. - © Getty Images

"Robert Lewandowski is the best, Erling Haaland a natural talent, Roberto Firmino a team player" - Augsburg's Alfred Finnbogason

No one can hold a candle to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, but Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino are right up there for Augsburg striker Alfred Finnbogason.

Lewandowski is the Bundesliga's record foreign goalscorer; Haaland netted a record seven goals in his first three Bundesliga appearances; and Firmino made a name for himself at Hoffenheim before winning the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League with Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool. By contrast, Finnbogason's career has been relatively modest, with the Iceland international yet to win a major trophy, but he has still produced 34 goals in 79 Bundesliga appearances, despite a raft of injury set-backs.

Speaking to, Augsburg's 'Finnbo' weighs up his favourite front men, the remaining months of the 2019/20 season and much more besides... Do you see yourself as a traditional centre-forward? How would you describe your style of play?

Alfred Finnbogason: "I think I'm quite versatile. I've played in many systems, both as a lone striker and with two strikers. I think it is a good quality for a player to be able to play in different systems. Since I have been here, I've mostly played as a number nine, but I also like to play with two strikers, so I think a good description is maybe a nine-and-a-half." What does a striker typically need to bring to the table to be successful in today’s game?

Finnbogason: "Of course, as a striker, you will always be judged on your goals, so it’s important to score goals and get assists. It's also very important to be present for the team when you play for a team like Augsburg. When I came here I was told: here you will not be judged on goals, but on how hard you work for the team. I think that always comes first, because you are the first defender in the team. You have to work really hard, and sometimes that makes the attacking job more difficult, because you put a lot of work into the defensive part when you play for a side like Augsburg."

Finnbogason (l.) got his first taste of Lewandowski (r.) even before joining Augsburg, as the Bayern man scored two goals in Poland’s 2015 friendly win over Iceland. - imago sportfotodienst/imago/Newspix In your opinion, who is currently the best striker?

Finnbogason: "I think in the Bundesliga, Lewandowski is the best striker, for me. For years he has shown his class again and again. In Europe there are many strikers who are really, really good, and nice to watch. For example [Roberto] Firmino. I think he does it differently to other players. He’s an unbelievable team player and every pass has thinking behind hit. He’s a very smart player, so I also like to watch him play." What do you make of Dortmund’s new signing, Erling Haaland?

Finnbogason: "I think everybody is really excited about him. I saw him play a few weeks ago, against us in Augsburg, in his first game. Before that I had only seen some clips of him in the Champions League, and I think everybody who has seen him play in the Bundesliga is very, very impressed. He has almost everything that a striker needs: speed, strength, good finishing, and also smart runs. He is sort of a natural talent, and it is good that we have some good players coming from Scandinavia for the coming years." Who do you think will come out on top in the title race this season?

Finnbogason: "My favourites from the start were RB Leipzig, I think they have a really, really good squad, and good players on the bench who can also come in and change games. Even though they have dropped some points in recent weeks, I still think they will be champions. If they are not champions, it will probably be Bayern Munich."

Watch: Haaland's debut hat-trick against Finnbogason's Augsburg It was your 31st birthday when you set up the winning goal with a back-heel in the Matchday 20 win against Werder Bremen. Was that your best birthday present ever?

Finnbogason: "Close to it, of course. First of all, it was great to be back playing in the WWK Arena. I was out for a few weeks and it is always difficult to be on the sidelines because you sometimes get a bit isolated. It was great to be back and to be able to celebrate the victory on my birthday in a very, very important game for us. That made it an extra special day." After injuring your shoulder, how fit would you say you currently are?

Finnbogason: "The shoulder is fine, I don’t feel it at all. I just need a bit more match practice, and that increases with every game. I'm not worried, because I've been here before and I know that with every game I will feel better and more confident that I'm getting closer to being at 100 per cent." Mentally, how do you deal with the numerous injury setbacks you have faced in the past?

Finnbogason: "I think it's always a bit of a mind game. There's nothing more frustrating, of course, than not being able to do your job. In the last three years I have been quite unlucky, for whatever reason, be it too many games or not being fully prepared when I come back. It could be down to one of many different reasons, why I have had a few injuries in recent years, but I like to look ahead and I’m optimistic for the future. I was feeling really good before I got this injury and I'm looking ahead and hoping the injuries are behind me, so I can start enjoying playing football."

Watch: Finnbogason helped Augsburg come from behind to beat Bremen in his first home game since November Augsburg are safe in mid-table at the moment. Are you using the teams above or below you as a yardstick?

Finnbogason: "I think the first thought when you play for Augsburg is always to get away from the zone below us. Now, on the weekend, we put a little distance between ourselves and Werder Bremen and the teams below us, but we’ve seen how quickly it can change. Cologne have won five of their last six games, and all of a sudden they aren’t even close to being in the relegation spots. It’s very important to stay focussed on what we are doing well and not get lost in thinking that we will play in Europe. Of course we would love to do that, but first we have to take care to be assured at the back, and if we do that it will be possible to start looking up the table." Augsburg host Freiburg on Matchday 22. What do the two teams have in common?

Finnbogason: "Freiburg, Augsburg, Mainz - I see a lot of similarities between these clubs, because most of the time we are the clubs expected to go down or be in the bottom half. But, when one or two of these clubs have a good season, they can fight for the European places. We’ve shown it, Mainz have shown it, Freiburg also. There are always some teams that provide a surprise in the league, and we want to be one of those teams. I think we have the quality in the squad to be one of those teams, and there is still a long way to go for us, but we want to show that we can be one of the teams to be a surprise this year." If you had to persuade your Icelandic compatriots to watch the Bundesliga, what would you say to them?

Finnbogason: "The Bundesliga has never been as exciting as this year. You have many different teams playing at the top, you have Leipzig, Bayern, Dortmund, Gladbach, all with very good and exciting teams. I think in the Bundesliga you see the most goals, and fans want to see goals, so tune in to the Bundesliga!"