He was born in the same city as Jürgen Klinsmann and once lined up alongside Timo Werner, but until recently Streli Mamba was playing in Germany's fifth tier. On Matchday 12 of the 2019/20 Bundesliga campaign, he scored two goals in front of over 80,000 fans at Borussia Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park.
Who is he? Where has he been hiding? bundesliga.com has the answers...
Country: Germany/ DR Congo (uncapped)
Although Mamba has Congolese roots, he hatched out in Göppingen, the Baden-Wüttemberg town that gave the world legendary Germany striker, Klinsmann. He slithered into the VfB Stuttgart youth set-up at 14, but never made it beyond the club's U17s. Between 2011 - when he snaked his way to the Kaiserslautern U19s - and his breakthrough summer 2016 transfer to Energie Cottbus, Mamba played for five different teams: Homburg, Göppinger, Grunbach, SSV Freiburg and Sandhausen II.
A career in the backwaters of German football beckoned, but after scoring 22 goals in 77 appearances in Germany's Oberliga (fifth division), Mamba found his bite in the colours of Energie Cottbus, striking 19 times to help the club win promotion to the 3. Liga via the 2017/18 play-offs. He earned a move to Paderborn on the back of an 11-goal 2018/19 campaign, and duly scored in each of his first three competitive outings for the club. Not even a six-game barren run could hiss off the 5'9" right-footer.
On 22 November 2019, he made headlines with his first top-flight brace - his third and fourth Bundesliga goals - in a venomous display away to German heavyweights Dortmund (3-3). Mamba celebrated each effort with his trademark, serpent-like hand trick. So there's really no need to hold back, folks - embrace the punnage!
Plays a bit like: Timo Werner
Mamba has the whole turbo-charged instinctive striker thing going on that has enabled RB Leipzig and Germany star Werner to reach 200 Bundesliga appearances at the tender age of 23. Like Werner, he's also effective through the middle and coming in off the left-hand flank.
Did you know?
Unlike Werner, Mamba admits he lacked top-level desire as a youngster. The two played together in the Stuttgart U17s, but when Werner became the youngest Bundesliga debutant in the club's 120-year history five months after his 17th birthday, Mamba was barely getting a look-in at Regionalliga outfit Homburg.
"I just didn't have the necessary hunger," Mamba admitted in an interview with spox.com. "I had to watch as guys like Timo Werner got their breakthrough, whilst I was still in the lower leagues. My friends used to tell me I should pack it in and find an apprenticeship, but I never lost sight of my goal to become a professional. I told myself, if I don't make it as a pro by the time I'm 25, I'll give up."
Happily, Mamba met his self-imposed deadline. He was 23 when he helped fire Cottbus into the 3. Liga, and turned 25 shortly after moving to promoted Bundesliga outfit Paderborn the following summer.
Watch: Streli Mamba could barely believe his eyes after scoring twice in Dortmund!
What they're saying
"The stadiums, the lights, everything, the Bundesliga is a world away from the 3. Liga. I know how far I've come." - Mamba
"With his pace and quality in the one-on-ones, Mamba is a perfect fit for us!" - former Paderborn sporting director, Markus Krösche