Robert Lewandowski, Erling Haaland and Andre Silva have been nominated among others in the Attackers position for the Bundesliga's Team of the Season, in association with EA SPORTS.
“He can do everything, he’s a complete striker,” said Frankfurt veteran Makoto Hasebe of his teammate last year. “He’s a fantastic footballer, is good in the air and has a good shot. He’s a brilliant forward.” He is not alone in his praise for the Portugal international, who has not only developed into Frankfurt’s main goal threat this season, but also become one of the most feared players in the Bundesliga.
The 25-year-old plundered 25 league goals across the first 31 matchdays, averaging one for every 100 minutes on the pitch, thereby making a significant contribution to the Eagles’ superb form and push for a top-four finish. Not only that, but he is the most unpredictable of all the Bundesliga’s forwards, netting 56 percent of his goals with his right foot, 12 percent with his left and 32 percent with his head.
After a disappointing 2019/20 by his own high standards, Leon Bailey has roared back to his best this season while providing his best scoring return in a Bundesliga campaign while donning a Bayer Leverkusen shirt. The 23-year-old Jamaican has been a key cog in Die Werkself’s attack, which saw Leverkusen go unbeaten through the first 12 games of the season. Bailey scored four goals and provided five assists in that run and has since added five more goals and three more assists to his tally.
Alongside Moussa Diaby, Demarai Gray, Karim Bellarabi and Florian Wirtz, Bailey's pace and trickery on either wing has provided the perfect support for leading strikers Patrik Schick and Lucas Alario. Only Wolfsburg's Ridle Baku has made more sprints this season, while his 85 crosses and team-leading 58 shots show how integral the winger has been to his side's attack no matter where he lines up. Bailey has also once again dazzled with some of the season's best goals, including his December Goal of the Month winner against Hoffenheim.
Serge Gnabry began 2020/21 with the same intent as he ended the last when helping Bayern Munich win the sextuple, scoring a hat-trick on the opening night in an 8-0 win over Schalke. That set the benchmark for Bayern's campaign, while Gnabry has continued to provide the quality in attacking production that we've come to expect from the 25-year-old. His nine goals after 31 Matchdays mean he is one strike shy of reaching double figures in the Bundesliga for the fifth straight season in the top-flight.
Gnabry has missed seven top-flight games this season due to injury, while competition for places with the arrival of Leroy Sane at the start of the season could have derailed the Germany international, but that's not been the case. He's even added to his remarkable record for his country, scoring 15 in his 19 international appearances so far.
While Lewandowski has been breaking all of the Bundesliga's longest standing records, Erling Haaland has taken up the duty of mopping up the rest in his first full Bundesliga season with Borussia Dortmund. The Norwegian striker has reached 25 Bundesliga goals after just 26 league appearances so far in 2020/21, while three scoring statistics stand out in particular. Haaland has scored 16 times away from home - the most by any BVB striker in a single season - and he is also the only 20-year-old in league history to register 38 goals, and those coming in just 41 outings. Then you add the fact that Haaland has scored two or more goals in a game on 10 occasions this season.
Haaland's goals are one thing, but then you add to the fact that Dortmund's No.9 has registered both the first and second-fastest speeds of this current campaign, with his 22.39 mph (36.04 km/h) sprint against VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 28 proving the fastest. "I've never seen anyone like Haaland at this club," said captain Marco Reus earlier this season. "He's unique. He's still very young. He's developed massively over the past six to nine months. He's become really good with the ball at his feet and with a defender at his back." It's fair to say that Haaland has only continued to get better through this season, and more is expected to come in the future.
Watch: All of Haaland's goals so far in 2020/21
To be clear as the sixth-highest scorer in the Bundesliga in your debut season in the league is no mean feat, but it's exactly what Sasa Kalajdzic has accomplished with VfB Stuttgart in 2020/21. Seven of the 23-year-old's 14 goals this season have been headers - more than any other player in the Bundesliga this season, and between Matchdays 19 and 25, the tallest player in the league at 6'5" scored in seven straight games - a new Stuttgart record.
Kalajdzic was swiftly rewarded for his performances with a maiden Austria call-up in October 2020 and has since responded with three goals in his first five international appearances for his country. Despite his impressive height, Kalajdzic has also shown he has good feet for a man of his size, with four assists alongside his goals. If his first season is anything to go by, Kalajdzic will once again be a force to be reckoned with for Stuttgart in 2021/22.
In what is his sixth season in the Bundesliga, this may well be the best Andrej Kramaric we have since in his time with Hoffenheim. The club's all-time top scorer has equalled his best-ever scoring return for a Bundesliga campaign with 17 goals from 25 outings, coming from at a snip of just under five shots per goal. The Croatia international - who has also yet to commit a single foul this season - came flying out of the blocks at the start of 2020/21, scoring seven times across his first four league appearances with the rest of his goals coming sporadically throughout the campaign.
Kramaric also etched his name further into the history books this season by becoming the record Croatian goalscorer in the Bundesliga, eclipsing former Hamburg, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg striker Ivica Olic’s previous tally of 72. "I wish that he will soon break the 100-goal mark," said Olic, with Kramaric now on 79 in the German top-flight. "Andrej is a top striker with an incredible nose for goals, a super technician, with quick movement and is an enormous challenge for opposition defenders. He is now entering his prime as a footballer. I wish for him that he can play through to the end of this season without injury. Then he will score a lot more goals."
Former Borussia Mönchengladbach, Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen star Max Kruse made his return to the Bundesliga this season with Union Berlin, heading into the club’s second top-flight season after a dream debut campaign. The 33-year-old has proven in 2020/21 that he still has what it takes to not only perform at the highest level, but also lead a new team to another successful season along the way.
Kruse hit the ground running on his return to his home country with six goals and five assists in his first 10 games. Injury kept him sidelined for 12 games through to the start of 2021, but Kruse returned with four goals in his first three outings after making his return. If not for that stretch of absence, the former Germany international could have added a lot more to his 10 goals and five assists in 19 league appearances.
Crowned as the FIFA Best Men’s Player in the World at the end of last year, Lewandowski needs no introduction. The 32-year-old has made a habit of making the extraordinary look routine, and he is one of the few players in world football you expect to score every game. Indeed, his haul of 36 league goals after 31 rounds of matches – scored in just 26 appearances due to injury – is the highest total since 1972/73 when Gerd Müller hit the same tally – and Lewandowski could well break the single-season record of 40 set by Müller the previous year.
“All you can do is pray that it won't be his day,” said VfB Stuttgart defender Borna Sosa of the Poland international earlier in 2020/21, speaking for defenders everywhere. “He also scores the half-chances. That's the difference between him and other strikers and why he's number one and others aren't.” Averaging a goal every 61 minutes he’s on the pitch, there’s rarely a game that isn’t Lewandowski’s day.
Watch: All of Lewandowski's goals so far in 2020/21
Despite his season being brought to an end by a cruciate ligament injury at the end of March, Silas Wamangituka did more than enough to earn his nomination for the Team of the Season through his 25 league appearances this campaign. The electrifying winger scored 11 goals and provided four assists to steer VfB Stuttgart well clear of relegation in their first season back in the Bundesliga, and Silas' first campaign in the top-flight.
The 21-year-old's 741 sprints came at a snip of 30 per game, which have made him nearly impossible to defend against. Silas led his side to a 5-1 drubbing of Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park, and also scored one of the goals of the season against Mainz, dribbling from one penalty area to the other in the process. "He and a few others have huge potential," said head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. "They're keeping their feet on the ground and giving it 100 per cent every day in training. The potential Silas and several others have knows no bounds."
For Wout Weghorst, the 2020/21 season has been the best ever. The Dutchman became the fourth player to reach 20 goals after Lewandowski, Haaland and Silva and reached that mark for the first time in his Bundesliga career. The 28-year-old has also chipped in with seven assists, meaning he has contributed to the same number of goals this season as Bayern Munich's Thomas Müller, and stands on 53 goals scored in his 97 Bundesliga games so far for the Wolves.
Much like his hard-working defensive teammate Ridle Baku, Weghorst does much more for the team than just the basics of his goal-scoring prowess. Despite being the second-tallest outfield player in the league at 6'4", Weghorst has also won the second-most aerial duels of any forward in the league (114), as well as completing the second-most intensive runs (2472) and third-most sprints of any player in the top-flight (828). For a big man who is the target man in the Wolfsburg attack, there's a lot more to Weghorst than meets the eye. Be it his work rate, build-up play or passionate commitment each and every time he steps on to the pitch, Weghorst has been a must-watch player this season.
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