The forgotten front two is making a comeback at Bayer 04 Leverkusen thanks to Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and Stefan Kießling.
Reaction: Hernandez and Kießling on Leverkusen's 3-0 win over Hannover
'We've got a good thing going'
"I think the combination play will continue to get better, we’re getting used to each other," Kießling said after breaking the deadlock with his fourth goal of the season at the BayArena on Matchday 19. "We know each others movements. I think we’ve got a good thing going."
To supplement the budding rapport, there also appears to be a welcome element of competition between the two goal-getters. When Kießling scored twice in the 5-0 rout of Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 16, Hernandez went one better with a hat-trick. Against Hannover, the 78-time Mexico international followed suit with a game-clinching brace.
"Everyone knows how important they both are as players," explained Leverkusen midfielder Kevin Kampl. "They’ve both got so much experience, one abroad and one in the Bundesliga. They go well together, but you mustn’t forget about the other players providing the goals like Hakan Calahnoglu and Karim Bellarabi."
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'A wonderful transfer'
There is, however, no escaping the resounding impact Chicharito has made since moving to Leverkusen in the summer. In 16 Bundesliga matches, he has weighed in with 13 of Bayer’s 29 goals. The 27-year-old was also on target twice in the earlier rounds of the DFB Cup and registered five goals in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League.
"We’re delighted how it’s panned out, that much is certain," Leverkusen managing director Michael Schade told bundesliga.com. "Chicharito is scoring so consistently. It was a wonderful transfer - others definitely envy us. There’s a real buzz around him, but we also know we rely on Chicharito. He’s really happy here. He’s irreplaceable for us."
That, of course, is not to say Leverkusen are a one-trick pony. With veteran striker Kießling playing regularly and scoring again, Die Werkself boast a two-pronged attack to rival some of the best in the business, upcoming opponents FC Bayern München’s prolific pairing of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller very much included. Make no mistake about it: traditional strike partnerships are alive and well in the Bundesliga.
Tobias Gonscherowski/ Christopher Mayer-Lodge