Leverkusen - Stefan Kießling made it a century of Bundesliga goals in Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
The 49th entrant into '100 club', Kießling's milestone strike was arguably one of his easier goals to date, laid on a plate for him by Sebastian Boenisch and simply tucked into the empty net from close range. As the old adage goes, though, it doesn't matter how it goes in as long as the ball crosses the line.
"The main thing is that it went in," said the 29-year-old. "It was an important goal. I'm happy about reaching the 100-mark, but at the same time I'm disappointed and annoyed that we drew. I can't be happy about the point."
Patrick Herrmann's late equaliser for Gladbach may have left a sour taste in the mouth, but there can be no doubt that Kießling is in the form of his life. Not only did he finish 2012 as the calendar year's leading marksman with 25 goals, he's also joint-top of the current Bundesliga scorers' chart, along with Bayern's Mario Mandzukic and Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, on 14.
The prolific Kießling couldn't spare Leverkusen a third successive match without victory in the Borussia Park, but Dortmund's 4-1 defeat at home to Hamburger SV leaves the Werkself just a point behind the Yellow-Blacks in third and in pole position to seal a return to the UEFA Champions League. They reached the last 16 of Europe's premier club competition last season, but have spent this term in the UEFA Europa League.
Yet Kießling expects more from the only side to have beaten runaway leaders Bayern in the Bundesliga this season. "Our morale is great, but we're just not being clinical enough and we're giving away unnecessary goals. That's what we have to change if we want to improve," he stressed.
"A bit older"
Of course, improvement is something the Franconia-born forward, who opened his Bundesliga account at 1. FC Nuremberg in March 2003, knows all about. A further twelve goals later, he was on the move to Leverkusen and the rest is history.
"I'm already 29 and so I feel a bit older," joked Kießling when asked what it feels like to join club 100. "Especially when I flick through the match programmes and see my name in there amongst the statistics." Like a fine wine, though, he is maturing with every passing game. At his age a recall from Germany coach Joachim Löw hasn't been forthcoming as yet, but he is certainly doing his utmost to give the Bundestrainer food for thought.