Krzysztof Piatek has swapped Milan for Berlin as he joins Jürgen Klinsmann’s Hertha. - © Marco Luzzani/Getty Images
Krzysztof Piatek has swapped Milan for Berlin as he joins Jürgen Klinsmann’s Hertha. - © Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Krzysztof Piatek: Who is Hertha Berlin’s new Polish striker signed from AC Milan?


Hertha Berlin have signed Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan after 18 months of scoring goals for fun in Italy’s Serie A. shines a light on the forward who’s been learning first hand from goal machine Robert Lewandowski

Krzysztof Piatek
Hertha Berlin
Poland (10 caps/5 goals)

Key stats

Born on 1 July 1995 in the town of Dzierzoniow in southwestern Poland, Piatek left his hometown for Zaglebie Lubin in 2013, netting 18 goals in 85 appearances. A move to Cracovia followed with 32 goals in 63 top-flight games before Genoa lured him to Italy for the 2018/19 campaign. It was there that the footballing world stood up and noticed the 23-year-old.

He became the first player in the club’s history to net four goals on his competitive debut as Genoa beat Lecce 4-0 in the third round of the Coppa Italia. And the goals kept on coming. In fact, he scored in each of his first seven Serie A games, becoming the first player since Gabriel Batistuta to do so. In total he bagged nine goals in that run. By scoring five in his first four he equalled the start of Andriy Shevchenko from 1999. In total he found the back of the net 19 times in 21 competitive appearances for the club before Milan came calling in January.

Piatek became one of the most coveted strikers in Europa thanks to his goalscoring feats in six months at Genoa. - Giuseppe Maffia/imago/Uk Sports Pics Ltd

There he enjoyed another run of four consecutive games with a goal and became the fastest player in Milan history to reach six goals, ahead of Nils Liedholm. He was also the first to score on his first three starts since Mario Balotelli. In total, he finished the league campaign with 22 goals in 37 games. That was one more than Cristiano Ronaldo and left him third in the top-scorer list. Amazingly, despite only playing half a season for each club, he was still top scorer in the league for both Genoa (13 goals) and Milan (nine). The striker was also the Coppa Italia’s top scorer with eight goals.

Plays a bit like: Robert Lewandowski

While comparisons with his compatriot are inevitable, Piatek prefers to see these as little more than flattery for his country’s all-time record goalscorer. The similarities are there, though, between the new Hertha man and the Bayern Munich striker. Prolific in the air thanks to his six-foot frame, Piatek is most at home inside the box getting onto the end of crosses but is equally adept with the ball at his feet. He’ll often look to shift it out of reach of defenders looking for a shot, of which 73 per cent in his first Serie A campaign came from between six and 18 yards inside the box. He averaged a goal every fifth shot in the league last season, compared to Lewandowski’s rate of one every 6.5.

Piatek (r.) joins fellow Poland international Robert Lewandowski (l.) in the Bundesliga, and there have been plenty of comparisons made between the two. - PIOTR KUCZA via images/Newspix

Did you know?

Bundesliga fans will be well used to seeing Lewandowski’s signature X celebration, but what about the man known as ‘Il Pistolero’? Translated into English as ‘The Gunslinger’, Piatek celebrates his many goals by crossing his arms and firing off imaginary bullets like a cowboy. And for those of you wondering, the man whose real name translates into English as Christoph Friday was in fact born on a Saturday.

Piatek’s shooting is often followed by a gun show as he celebrates his goals. - via images/Gribaudi/ImagePhoto

What they’re saying

"With Krzysztof we’re getting a very talented striker who’s already proven himself at the highest level in Serie A and with the national team with his goal threat and attacking quality. We now have even more quality in attack with him." - Hertha sporting director Michael Preetz

“He really does seem to be the complete package. I get the feeling he can truly become an important player, but I’m trying to whisper it rather than shout it from the rooftops.” – Former Genoa coach Davide Ballardini

“I saw him in a couple of clips, and the day after I did, I finalised a deal for him fearing someone else would take him.” – Genoa president Enrico Preziosi

“I said it about Lewandowski and I’m saying it now: anyone who doesn’t want him now will regret not buying him in a few years.” – Cracovia coach Michal Probierz