Nürnberg's Josip Drmic is fast making a name for himself as one of the Bundesliga's most prolific marksmen
Nürnberg's Josip Drmic is fast making a name for himself as one of the Bundesliga's most prolific marksmen

Josip Drmic: 1. FC Nürnberg's Swiss chocolate

Nuremberg - Some unfamiliar faces have emerged off the shoulders of Mario Mandzukic atop the Bundesliga scorers' charts this term, not least 1. FC Nürnberg's Josip Drmic.

Swiss roots

The 21-year-old forward trails his 17-strike counterpart by just one goal in the race for the Torkanone going into Matchday 29, having found the net more often this calendar year than any other player in the German top flight (ten), which begs the question: where on earth has he been hiding?

A Swiss national of Croatian descent, Drmic began his playing career at FC Zürich in 2001. After impressing in the youth and reserve ranks, the Lachen native was later awarded his senior debut, albeit as a substitute, against Neuchâtel Xamax, nine years later on 6 February 2010. Although it was another two years before he belatedly opened his Swiss Super League account - in a 1-1 away draw against FC Luzern on 4 February 2012. It was well worth the wait.

In the season that followed, Drmic's goalscoring exploits earned him his first senior call-up to the Swiss national side in an eventual 2-0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying win over Albania on 11 September 2012. Having scored 19 goals in 39 games in all competitions, Nürnberg quickly pounced, tying the 5' 11" striker down to a four-year deal in July 2013.

Bundesliga beginnings

In August of the same year, Drmic netted his first Bundesliga goal in the Matchday 2 draw with newly-promoted Hertha Berlin. Further <a href='Hinrunde efforts followed against SV Werder Bremen, Eintracht Frankfurt, VfB Stuttgart, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Hannover 96, but it is his post-winter goals surge that has really caught the eye; not least those of opposition coaches, who crave a striker of a similar ilk to Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski.

Much like the aforementioned, soon-to-be Bayern star, Drmic is a dab hand when it comes to drifting between the lines. What's more, whether it be with his favoured right foot, left peg, head, inside or outside the box, der Club's diamond in the relegation rough is not in the slightest bit afraid to have a go and has proven an undeniably sound investment for a side sat just one place above the drop zone, notching 16 goals in 27 Bundesliga appearances so far this term.

Invaluable asset

The numbers carry even more weight in the context of Nürnberg's almost constant battle against the drop. To date, Gertjan Verbeek's 15th-placed strugglers have amassed just 26 points from the 84 on offer in 2013/14, whilst netting only 34 times all season, with man-of-the-moment Drmic having a say in no less than 17 of their lowly overall points' return and accounting for 47 per cent of their meek number of goals scored. The 21-year-old even took his net-busting spree onto the international circuit earlier this year, notching his first two international goals in a 2-2 draw with Croatia on 6 March 2014.

Those stats alone suggest Drmic must surely be a shoe-in for a place in Ottmar Hitzfeld's World Cup squad this coming summer, but according to the much-lauded striker himself, club comes before country every time. "All my focus is on FCN," he told bundesliga.com after grabbing a match-winning brace against Stuttgart on Matchday 27. "I want to give the club my absolute all. We've still got points to play for and I'm going to be there all the way [...] I only want to focus on my game and the relegation battle with Nürnberg."

Christopher Mayer-Lodge