Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst looks like the natural successor to the club's prolific former frontmen Edin Dzeko and Bas Dost, but what else is there to know about the goal-hungry Dutchman?
bundesliga.com shines the spotlight on the latest Eredivisie export making a name for himself in the German top flight…
Country: Netherlands (three caps)
Weghorst began his career in the Dutch second division with Emmen, where a return of 21 goals in 65 games earned him a move to Eredivisie side Heracles Almelo in 2014. After netting another 20 goals in two seasons with Heracles – helping them qualify for Europe for the first time in their history – he enjoyed a successful two-year stint with AZ Alkmaar. Having notched 31 goals and 10 assists in 60 top-flight outings for 'The Cheeseheads', and won his first caps for the Netherlands national team, he was soon on his way to the Bundesliga when Wolfsburg swooped in summer 2018.
The arrival of the serial goal-getter has been a godsend for the Wolves, who only netted 36 times throughout the whole of 2017/18 – eight fewer than the 44 they have managed after 26 games of the current campaign. Weghorst opened his Bundesliga account in the Matchday 2 win over Bayer Leverkusen and has never looked back, making something of a habit of scoring against the big guns (Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Hertha Berlin). He netted his first career hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf in March – setting up the other two goals for good measure – which pushed his season tally up to 12 goals and five assists in 26 outings.
Watch: Weghorst had a hand in all five goals as Wolfsburg thrashed Düsseldorf
Plays a bit like: Edin Dzeko
At a shade under 6'6", the towering Weghorst has long been compared with former Wolves striker Dost (also 6'6"), who followed a similar career path via Emmen and Heracles. But rather than being an out-an-out goal poacher like his fellow Dutchman, the 26-year-old probably has more in common with another hero of the Volkswagen Arena, 2008/09 Bundesliga winner Dzeko.
Like the Bosnia and Herzegovina striker, Weghorst is happy to get stuck into challenges, hold up play and – when necessary – pass to teammates in better scoring positions. The hulking striker has won over half of his challenges this season, while he has an incredible work rate: no player in the Bundesliga has made more than his 871 sprints, even if he isn't the quickest of frontmen. Though not as two-footed as Dzeko, Weghorst has scored with 12 of his 51 shots on goal, and teed up another 89 for his teammates. Meanwhile his excellent link-up play with Daniel Ginczek is more than a little reminiscent of Dzeko's formidable partnership with Brazilian forward Grafite.
Did you know?
Weghorst's rise to the top does not quite fit into the 'rags-to-riches' narrative of many footballers – his family run 130 gas stations in the north-east of the Netherlands. And if things hadn't worked out in football, the Borne native might have had a different sporting destiny – he once beat three-time world champion Michael van Gerwen in a leg of darts, hitting two 140s along the way. Luckily for the Wolves – and Mighty Mike – he has trained his killer eye to find the back of the net rather than the bullseye…
What they're saying
"At the start of the season, my objective was to score 12 goals, so things are going well. Every day I'm trying to get better, and improve in areas where I can still develop. I'm on the right track. I would like to play in Europe, that's important for me." – Weghorst
"It's always the same for strikers: they have to score goals – they can't just run. So it's great for Wout. He runs a lot, he's tireless and it's nice he got his reward with the hat-trick. It'll give him even more confidence. If he can keep it going, it'll be great, although that will only work if the team does its job. A lot of things contributed to a top performance. It's a shame he wasn't called up for the Netherlands. He really impressed today, and they'll have seen it back home." – Wolfsburg coach Bruno Labbadia following Weghorst's hat-trick prior to the international break
"He runs a lot for the team and has a really strong mentality. I can't think of another player who is so crazy, in a positive way!" – Wolfsburg teammate Admir Mehmedi