Kevin Behrens has opened the 2023/24 Bundesliga season with four goals from two games, taking himself to the top of the goalscoring charts and Union Berlin to the top of the table.
Age: 32 (born: 3 February 1991)
Club: Union Berlin
Stats and facts
Allied to his assist for Sheraldo Becker as Union beat Astoria Walldorf in the DFB Cup first round, the No.9 - who wears a No.17 for Die Eisernen - has had a goal involvement of one every 49 minutes he has played in all competitions this season.
Some of the above might be attributed to statistical noise with the current campaign so young, but with Union signing David Datro Fofana and Kevin Volland from Chelsea and Monaco respectively this summer, the odds on them being outshone by a 32-year-old striker might have been quite long.
Watch: Highlights of Union's opening day 4-1 win over Mainz
Behrens was signed from Sandhausen two seasons ago, but his first steps in professional football were taken with hometown team Werder Bremen, whom he joined in 2008 at the age of 17.
They never gave him a first-team chance, despite his 10 goals in 24 games with their reserves in 2010/11, and he spent the next decade bouncing around the lower reaches of German football.
His goalscoring record was impressive with multiple clubs, though - 10 goals in 26 league games with Wilhelmshaven, 17 in 40 with Hannover's reserves, eight in 28 for Alemannia Aachen, three in eight with Rot-Weiss Essen and 35 in 78 with Saarbrücken, before his 2018 move to Sandhausen. Another 20 in 68 there and Union took a calculated risk.
It may be premature to talk about Germany recognition, but Hansi Flick's side are better stacked in almost every area than they are at No.9, and another northern native in Niclas Füllkrug made a similar journey last season, winning his first senior cap whilst top-scoring in the Bundesliga…
Plays a bit like: Niclas Füllkrug!
While many of Germany's attacking options are hybrid forwards like Timo Werner or Kai Havertz, Behrens and Füllkrug are classic strikers. Both are around the 6'-tall, but use their positioning and timing to win the majority of their aerial duels. Behrens averaged 10 per game last season - a European best among players in his position - and all four of his goals this term have been headers.
Did you know?
Kevin may be no relation to former Nuremberg mainstay Hanno Behrens, but he does come from a sporting family. German volleyball and beach volleyball player Kim van de Velde - who was a European Championship runner-up with partner Cinja Tillmann in the latter discipline two years ago - is his younger sister.
What they're saying
"If you look back over the last few years, you can say that I've actually always improved. I've gotten faster when it comes to understanding the game. My first touch is better. I believe that I can assess situations better and faster. As a result, I'm often in a better position than I was a year or two ago." - Behrens on blossoming into his 30s
"He's a great guy, also in the dressing room, always ready for a bit of fun. Our first aim is still to survive in the Bundesliga. We won't change, or do things differently to save face." - Union head coach Urs Fischer on keeping faith with his evergreen star
"I'll put it this way: At 25, my chances would definitely be higher!" - Behrens when asked by SportBild about possible Germany recognition
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