Munich - He may not have enjoyed as much first-team action as he had hoped for in the current campaign, but the numbers suggest Mario Gomez is still one of the best strikers in the Bundesliga's and Bayern's history.
Making it count
missed the early part of the season due to injury, and his place in the first-team has been somewhat usurped by Mario Mandzukic. When called upon, however, he responded to his coach’s instructions and proved that, as a goalscorer, they don’t come much better than the former VfB Stuttgart man.
In last weekend's 2-1 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen, fans and doubters alike were reminded that he has not lost an inch of a poacher's touch that has seen him net a stunning 80 goals in the previous two seasons in all competitions. With the score at 0-0, up stepped Gomez to break the Leverkusen resistance, with a truly stunning solo effort one should add, to put his team in front just before the break and pave the way for a ninth straight club victory in 2013.
Scoring on each of his last six starts, he also has a better scoring rate than both Mandzukic and Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski, the league's top scorer this term. Those two may lead Gomez in the overall standings, but their goals-to-games ratio (a goal every 108.9 and 105 minutes respectively) is still some way short of the German international’s of 75.9. After his injury early on this campaign, there isn’t a much better way to show just how much of an asset he remains.
Although Jupp Heynckes may be reluctant to read too much into the numbers, the head coach is well aware of the 27-year-old's outstanding statistics. "Mario's finishing is phenomenal," the 67-year-old said after the win in Leverkusen. "He would be in the upper ranks of the scoring charts had he not been injured."
At his current scoring rate, it seems more superlatives will follow for the 27-year-old. With his goal in the BayArena last weekend, he now has 71 goals in just 108 appearances for FC Bayern and the second-best rate of scoring in the club’s history behind the legendary Gerd Müller. ‘Der Bomber’ found the net every 114 minutes in his 365 goals, but Gomez is hot on his heels on 115 minutes.
At the relatively young age of just 27, he is well on the way to becoming one of the most prolific finishers ever seen in the German top flight. His strike to beat Bernd Leno was his 134th Bundesliga goal, which took him past another former Bayern, and Stuttgart, legend in Giovane Elber.
As with all goalscorers, Gomez might be described as a confidence player, and luckily for the club it appears his confidence is sky-high at present. With such an abundance of riches up front already in the form of Mandzukic and veteran goal-machine Claudio Pizarro, Bayern are well served indeed in their quest to seal a first-ever club treble this season.