Serhou Guirassy is the top scorer in Europe's big five leagues so far this season, but who will fill the injured striker's record-breaking boots at VfB Stuttgart?
The 27-year-old - who has netted an unprecedented 14 goals in the opening eight Bundesliga games this term - picked up a hamstring injury during Stuttgart's 3-0 victory against Union Berlin on Saturday. Die Schwaben subsequently confirmed that Guirassy would be out of action "for a few weeks."
The instinctive reaction around Germany and the world was that Stuttgart's soaring form would be knocked by September's Bundesliga Player of the Month limping off at the end of the first half in Berlin. The way in which his side turned in two more goals in the second period raised confidence that the flying start, which has taken them to second in the table, might continue - and indeed there are a number of men in the club's ranks eager to fill his gigantic goalscoring boots.
bundesliga.com runs through their most likely options...
Watch: All 14 of Serhou Guirassy's Bundesliga goals so far this season
Deniz Undav was Guirassy's direct replacement as a substitute in the German capital, and has certainly not shied away from goalscoring responsibilities since his arrival on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer. The striker who developed in the German regional leagues and was playing in the third tier as recently as 2020 has smashed three goals, despite only appearing off the bench this season. He netted both goals in clinical fashion in a 2-0 win at Cologne before sinking a hefty header for his side's third in Berlin. Staggeringly, having scored three goals in 134 minutes of action this season, Undav's minutes-per-goal ratio of 44.6 is even better than Guirassy's (46).
Silas also got on the scoresheet to net his third of the season against Union with a blistering run on the break. Having registered the joint-fastest speed of all players in the Bundesliga so far this term, the Congolese international - who has been frequently deployed either as a centre-forward or a winger in the past - might just provide the kind of unpredictable weapon to bamboozle opponents who had been preparing to counter the goalscoring might of Guirassy.
Watch: Guirassy, Undav and Silas all score as Stuttgart beat Union Berlin
Stuttgart's other attacking talents have shown a willingness to chip in with key goals so far this season, too. Chris Führich, who is mostly deployed as a winger, and attacking midfielder Enzo Millot have formed what's been called a new magic triangle to support Guirassy, and the loss of the centre-forward to injury might just encourage them to attack opposing goals more directly in the coming weeks.
The pair both have two goals to their name already this season. Two delightful darts inside and finishes in a 5-0 win over regional rivals Freiburg helped endear Führich to Stuttgart fans - and also to new Julian Nagelsmann, who handed him his first international appearance on his debut as Germany coach against the US national team. Millot served up a similarly delightful solo goal in the Freiburg rout.
Watch: Führich and Millot score as Stuttgart beat Freiburg 5-0
Summer signing Wooyeong Jeong had his first taste of Bundesliga action since returning from international action at the Asian Games on Matchday 8. He certainly seems to be brimming with confidence, having scored a tournament-leading eight goals to help South Korea win gold. He also delivered the cross for Undav to head the third during his late cameo appearance.
A clash at home to Hoffenheim on Matchday 9 will provide the first glimpse of how Stuttgart cope during Guirassy's injury hiatus. While he would have preferred his talisman to stay fit - Guirassy is the only player in Europe's top five leagues this century, other than Cristiano Ronaldo (2014/15), to score 14 goals in the first eight matches of a season - Sebastian Hoeneß can shuffle his pack safe in the knowledge there are several players capable of stepping out of his shadow and onto the scoresheet.
Guirassy and Undav working in tandem for Stuttgart
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