It'll come as no great surprise to learn that Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi have the best goals-per-minute ratio of all non-No.9 forwards in 2019, but get this: Werder Bremen's Milot Rashica is hot on their coat-tails.
Werder's leading marksman scored twice at the weekend to take his tally to six goals for the 2019/20 Bundesliga season, with all strikes falling in his last eight appearances. Rashica has played in nine league games all told, totalling 751 minutes.
The 23-year-old also scored eight times in 17 outings during the second half of 2018/19, and is currently averaging a goal every 123 minutes.
Only Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe (one goal per 83 mins) and Barcelona's Messi (one goal per 86 mins) have fared better in 2019. PSG forward Neymar shares the same ratio with Rashica, albeit scoring two fewer league goals since the turn of the year. Manchester City's Raheem Sterling completes the top five (one goal every 127 minutes).
Rashica, who missed a handful of matches through injury earlier in the campaign, is Werder coach Florian Kohfeldt's first-choice to lead the line, but is best categorised as either a 'false No.9' or 'forward'.
Like Rashica, false No.9s are usually converted midfielders. The role entails dropping deep to pull opposition defenders out of position, dribbling, creating and taking chances, and replaces the traditional central striker in most formations.
A modern-day forward, meanwhile, plays between midfield and attack and is typically more versatile than a classic centre-forward such as Bremen teammate Claudio Pizarro.
Rashica, a 25-time international with Kosovo, has registered 16 goals and eight assists in his 44 Bundesliga appearances since moving to Bremen from Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnhem in January 2018. He is contracted to the north German club until June 2022.
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