Munich - Stefan Kießling could join a select band of centurions on Saturday when he leads the Bayer 04 Leverkusen attack at SC Freiburg (18:30 CET).
The former 1.FC Nuremberg striker has 99 Bundesliga goals to his name, and is on course to join a list which includes legendary figures such as Gerd Müller, Jupp Heynckes and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
The Bundesliga's top goalscorer boarded the train with his team mates in Leverkusen, heading for the Black Forest where where he could put the cherry on top of his goalscoring gateau. The 29-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Friday, has scored more often than any other Bundesliga striker in 2012, and is now just one goal away from a century of top flight strikes.
"100 goals would be something special," said the German striker to the Express. "Only Ulf Kirsten has scored more for Bayer, and there aren't many around in the Bundesliga who will come close to it. I hope to break the 100 mark against Freiburg - that would be good for the whole team." It would also enhance the reputation of the prolific forward, who may well be hearing from Germany coach Joachim Löw when he names his squad next Friday for a friendly against France on 6 February.
Freiburg keeping things real
Freiburg wouldn't be as pleased though. They already trail Leverkusen by nine points, although head coach Christian Streich insists his side should barely be mentioned in the same breath as their illiustrious opponents. "We are not a top club in Germany," he said. "The top clubs are Borussia Dortmund, Bayern, Bayer Leverkusen or Schalke. We've done well given what our opportunities are, and we've always been able to match our opponents, but the rest is all dreaming which risks being misled because it's not the reality."
Streich, whose side defended sixth position by drawing at 1. FSV Mainz 05 last weekend, is more concerned about what is going behind his side. "We could have lost that game," he said. "We only have three points more than 12th place. We have 27 points and we're pleased with that, but we have nothing to do with the top of the league. If we play the way we did in the first half against Mainz, then we'll get beaten by Leverkusen."
Getting beaten is not Streich's cup of tea. "We want to prevent that," said the 47-year-old, who is set to welcome Jan Rosenthal back into his starting XI following a recent suspension. Oliver Baumann's recent performances in the Freiburg goal have earned him plenty of plaudits and he's bound to make life difficult for Kießling, Andre Schürrle and Co., which is why Leverkusen's coach Sami Hyypiä is under no illusions. "It's going to be a very tough match for us," he said.
Freiburg: Baumann - Hedenstad, Krmas, Diagne, Sorg - Schuster, Flum - Schmid, Caligiuri - Rosenthal, Kruse
Leverkusen: Leno - Carvajal, Wollscheid, Toprak, Boenisch - Bender, Reinartz, Rolfes - Castro, Kießling, Schürrle