Union Berlin attacker Sheraldo Becker (c.) has been in incredible form for the Bundesliga leaders - scoring six times and making three more goals in seven league games so far. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga
Union Berlin attacker Sheraldo Becker (c.) has been in incredible form for the Bundesliga leaders - scoring six times and making three more goals in seven league games so far. - © DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga

Bundesliga top scorer's race: Union Berlin's Sheraldo Becker leads surprise list of contenders


Union Berlin were surprise league leaders going into the September international break and their attacker Sheraldo Becker is the surprise name at the top of the scoring chart. He’s not the only one, though, with star names like Sadio Mane and Christopher Nkunku playing catch-up.

Every so often a striker who dominates defences year after year comes along. In the 1960s and '70s it was Bayern Munich legend Gerd Müller, who finished as the Bundesliga's leading scorer seven times throughout his record-breaking career.

More recently it was Robert Lewandowski, who lifted the Torjägerkanone prize once with Borussia Dortmund and six times with Bayern. The Poland captain followed his single-season record of 41 league goals in 2021/22 with 35 last term, but without him the race for this year's end-of-campaign award is wide open.

bundesliga.com assesses the early-season contenders…

The surprise frontunners

Patrik Schick - who finished in between Lewandowski and Erling Haaland last term with 24 goals - only has two for Bayer Leverkusen this time around. Former Liverpool star Mane struck three times in his first three games but has dried up since, while 2021/22 Bundesliga Player of the Year Nkunku has four but failed to score in September.

All of that means that two very talented but sometimes unheralded attackers currently head the scoring chart.

Sheraldo Becker

Club: Union Berlin
Age: 27
Games: 7 (7 starts)
Goals: 6
Minutes per goal: 87

Becker set the tone for Union's unbeaten start by sending over a brilliant left-wing cross for Jordan to head home a debut goal against Hertha Berlin on the opening day. He then poked home the second in that 3-1 derby win, and would later be named Bundesliga Player of the Month after finishing August with four goals and two assists. Quickly forming a deadly strike partnership with USA forward Jordan, Becker swept with his left foot in the Matchday 3 victory over RB Leipzig before striking twice in the 6-1 hammering of Schalke. The speedy Suriname international - clocked at a joint-league-high 22.35 miles per hour (35.97 km/h) - began September by expertly steering home from a Christopher Trimmel free-kick in the 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich in week five. A carbon copy of the first goal of the season followed in the 2-0 Matchday 7 victory against Wolfsburg, with Union's No. 27 crossing for Jordan to get his third goal of the campaign. Becker beat the offside trap to calmly add the second, meaning he already has six goals - from only 17 shots - to go with three assists.

Watch: Sheraldo Becker under the tactical microscope

Niclas Füllkrug

Club: Werder Bremen
Age: 29
Games: 7 (7 starts)
Goals: 5
Minutes per goal: 124

Füllkrug previously demonstrated his undoubted top-flight potential by getting 14 goals for Hannover in 2017/18. Injuries badly disrupted his career after that, but a career-best 19 league goals in the 2021/22 season - albeit in Bundesliga 2 - suggested he could still make an impact at the highest level. That suspicion proved well founded, since it took only 21 minutes for Füllkrug to get Bremen's first goal of the campaign in the 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg. The former Nuremberg frontman needed just four minutes to score in the 2-2 draw with VfB Stuttgart a week later before he added a late penalty in the 4-3 loss against Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 4. Only two players have fired off more shots than promoted Bremen's main main (24), and his attacking intent paid off again in week five. Füllkrug downed Bochum late on with a diving header and another well-taken spot-kick.

The chasing pack

One obvious name - Nkunku - pops out in the next line of goalscorers, along with two fiendishly clever attacking midfielders.

Jamal Musiala

Club: Bayern Munich
Games: 6 (5 starts)
Goals: 4
Minutes per goal: 104

In his fourth year since breaking into Bayern's first team, Musiala's best return is six league goals for a season. The gifted Germany international was already a third of the way to that tally by the end of Matchday 1 after he opened the campaign with two second-half efforts in a 6-1 demolition at Frankfurt. Musiala's speed of thought is up there with his speed over the ground - he's been recorded moving at 21 miles per hour (34 km/h) this season - which makes him a very hard player to mark. Wolfsburg found that out to their cost when the record-breaking Man of the Matchday for week two wriggled home to smash home right-footed in a 2-0 win. Musiala showed similar sharp footwork to find space and score with his left foot in the 2-2 draw with Stuttgart on Matchday 6. The former Chelsea youngster also netted in the Supercup success against Leipzig.

Watch: Jamal Musiala starred against Wolfsburg

Daichi Kamada

Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Age: 26
Games: 6 (5 starts)
Goals: 4
Minutes per goal: 110

Kamada was a key cog in the Eintracht team that won the 2021/22 UEFA Europa League, with the five goals he got on the way to European glory matching his best Bundesliga tally from two seasons ago. The Japan international has started the current campaign well too, scoring twice in the DFB Cup first round before getting his first Bundesliga goal in the 1-1 draw at Hertha on Matchday 2. He whipped in a free-kick in another draw with Cologne the following week, and - set up by the impressive Randal Kolo Muani for a second time this season - nodded in the opener in a 4-0 Matchday 5 triumph over Leipzig. Kamada got his second goal of September when his deflected free-kick in the 3-1 victory over Stuttgart helped the Eagles to their third league success of the season on Matchday 7.

Daichi Kamada has often been jumping for joy with Eintracht Frankfurt of late. - IMAGO/Bjoern Reichert/IMAGO/Jan Huebner

Christopher Nkunku

Club: RB Leipzig
Age: 24
Games: 7 (7 starts)
Goals: 4
Minutes per goal: 157

Nkunku was the standout performer in the Bundesliga last season, taking the Player of the Year honours ahead of Lewandowski after not only getting 20 goals but also setting up 13 more for his teammates. The France international scooped the Player of the Month prize a record four times in 2021/22, and he got off to a flyer this term too with three goals in three games across all competitions. Having scored in the Supercup, Nkunku registered Leipzig's first league goal of the season after just eight minutes of their 1-1 draw in Stuttgart. He also burst through to score in the 2-2 draw with Cologne a week later, before leading Leipzig past Wolfsburg on Matchday 4 with a penalty and a close-range finish.

Watch: Christopher Nkunku struck twice against Wolfsburg

The best of the rest


Club: Union Berlin
Age: 26
Games: 6 (6 starts)
Goals: 3
Minutes per goal: 147

The Swiss Super League's top scorer in 2021/22, Jordan has found the Bundesliga to his liking as well. Becoming an instant Union hero with a near-post header against Hertha in the derby, the USA forward repeated the trick with another glancing effort against Wolfsburg that kept his side top of the table. In between he found the corner in the home win over Leipzig - all three goals have put Union 1-0 up - a game in which he also got one of his two assists for the season.

Watch: Jordan - a star in stripes

Sadio Mane

Club: Bayern Munich
Age: 30
Games: 7 (6 starts)
Goals: 3
Minutes per goal: 162

Mane started his Bayern career in spectacular fashion with a goal in the 5-3 Supercup victory over Lepizig. The Senegal star was on the mark again in the opening-day victory over Eintracht, and he also helped himself to two goals in the 7-0 thrashing of Bochum. Bayern have since won two from two in the UEFA Champions League but have surprisingly struggled during a four-game winless run in the Bundesliga. It's surely a matter of time, though, before the 10-in-a-row champions and their African Player of the Year start scoring freely again.

Watch: Sadio Mane is part of a new-look Bayern attack

Also on three goals: Kerem Demirbay (Bayer Leverkusen), Marius Bülter (Schalke), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg), Karim Onisiwo (Mainz), Michael Gregoritsch (Freiburg), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg)