Patrik Schick ranks alongside Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland as one of the three best strikers in the world today, according to Bayer Leverkusen managing director of sport Rudi Völler.
Schick sits second in this season's Bundesliga scoring charts, with 18 goals in 17 appearances. Bayern Munich's Lewandowski (23 goals in 20 starts) and Borussia Dortmund No.9 Haaland (16 goals in 14 games) are top and third respectively.
"Is Patrik Schick in the world-class category alongside Robert Lewandowski and Erling Haaland? You only have to look at the Bundesliga scoring charts, where he's right between the pair," said Völler, a scorer of 132 goals in 232 Bundesliga appearances, and 1990 FIFA World Cup winner with Germany.
"He scored as many goals as Cristiano Ronaldo at the Euros, so was already in the world-class category, but has only got better with us this season. He has a lot of qualities: heading the ball - he's the best at that of the [aforementioned] three. His pace. His left football is brilliant. He's a centre-forward who can really play and also hold up the ball."
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The statistics add weight to Völler's effusive words.
Since making the switch from Roma - via a loan spell with Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig - Schick has scored 31 goals in 57 competitive games for Leverkusen. A club record 16 of them fell during the first half of the current Bundesliga campaign, including four in one second-half blitz against Greuther Fürth.
With a further two efforts in three outings since the restart, the 26-year-old has also set a new gold standard for single-season Bundesliga goals by a Czech national, superceeding Jan Koller and Pavel Kuka (both 16). He's even outdoing Lewandowski in the minutes-per-goal department 74 to 75. Only Haaland has proved more efficient (72) than the Bundesliga's December 2021 Player of the Month.
Had Schick not missed three league games through injury, it stands to reason he'd be in an even more favourable position to deny Lewandowski a fifth successive Bundesliga Torjägerkanone, with 14 rounds of fixtures remaining.
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No matter who claims the prize come May, Völler says the Bundesliga should be proud to be the home of the world's three best strikers.
"There aren't three centre-forwards of that calibre in England, Spain or Italy, are there?" he said. "They're all here."
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