Aubameyang, Lewandowski, Modeste and the history of the Bundesliga's topscorer race

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Robert Lewandowski and Anthony Modeste are in a three-way shootout to become this season’s Torjägerkanone – the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer. But how does this race compare to previous years?

Three strikers have hit more than 20 goals after 25 games for the first time in the Bundesliga’s history, meaning that this year’s race to win the Torjägerkanone award is one of the most exciting yet.

Borussia Dortmund’s Aubameyang leads the way on 23, with Cologne’s Modeste a goal behind and last season’s winner Lewandowski on 21.

Watch: Where the top three goalscorers stand following Matchday 25

The merry-go-round

It has been difficult to finish top of the pile of late - Lewandowski is the only man to have done so more than once in the past 18 seasons.

The prolific Pole was the league’s leading marksman in his final year at Borussia Dortmund as he got 20 goals in the 2013/2014 campaign.

Last season he was pushed hard by Aubameyang but the Gabon international failed to score in Dortmund’s final two matches and ended on 25 goals.

Lewandowski, on the other hand, struck three times in Bayern Munich’s last two games to lead the way with 30.  

With nine games to go, Lewandowski might need to better that total this season if he is to join Bayern pair Gerd Müller and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Bayer Leverkusen’s Ulf Kirsten as the only players  to finish as topscorer at least three times in their career.   

Watch: See how Lewandowski joined the 30-goal club last season

The surprise winners

Relatively big names like Miroslav Klose, Giovane Elber, Luca Toni, Mario Gomez and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar have been crowned top scorer since Kirsten was best of the bunch twice in a row between 1996 and 1998.

But there have also been some standout winners who played for less-fancied teams. How about attacking midfielder Marek Mintal in the 2004/05 campaign? The Slovak’s 24 goals helped Nuremberg escape relegation and also saw him outperform Bayern’s Roy Makaay (22) and Leverkusen’s Dimitar Berbatov (20).

Theofanis Gekas made a stunning impact on his arrival in Germany two years later. Loaned out by Panathinaikos to recently-promoted Bochum, the Greek helped his new team to eighth in the table with a league-high 20 goals.

In the 2014/2015 season, Alexander Meier missed the last seven games through injury but still topped the charts. The Eintracht Frankfurt talisman plundered 19 goals in 26 games – two more than Lewandowski and Arjen Robben managed for league winners Bayern. 

Watch: Check out Alexander Meier's top five goals from the 2014/15 campaign

The race within a race

Sometimes internal competition is all that is required. That was the case in the 08/09 campaign, when Grafite and Edin Dzeko enjoyed an incredible season at Wolfsburg.

Dzeko’s tally of 26 goals in 32 games would have been enough for the Bosnia and Herzegovina international to lead the pack in all but one of the preceding 23 seasons.

His Brazilian strike partner Grafite, though, netted 28 times in 25 matches. That total included a sensational backheeled effort – later voted goal of the year - in a 5-1 thrashing of defending champions and tital rivals Bayern.

Both frontmen scored in a 5-1 win over Werder Bremen on the final day as Felix Magath’s men won the title by two points – the Wolves becoming German champions for the very first time.

Grafite and Dzeko also broke the record for the highest goal tally between two players in a Bundesliga season. Their combined total of 54 was one more than Bayern duo Gerd Müller and Uli Hoeness had managed 36 years previously.

Watch: See Grafite's wonder goal in the 5-1 victory over Bayern Munich

The runaway winners

The 1972/1973 topscorer's race was a much more clear-cut affair. Müller ended with 36 that year, one of seven occasions he emerged as the league’s topscorer.

The season before that no one came within 17 goals of Müller as the man who is still the Bundesliga’s all-time top goalscorer set the current single-season record of 40 goals.

The sharpest shooter at the end of the first ever Bundesliga season was also a runaway winner. Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler netted 30 times in the 1963/64 campaign.

Watch: bundesliga.com's tribute to Gerd Müller on his 70th birthday in 2016

The joint winners

The topscorer’s title has also been shared nine times. In 1974 Müller finished level with Jupp Heynckes, then of Borussia Mönchengladbach, and again in 1978 with Dieter Müller of Cologne.  

Elber’s goals helped Bayern win the title in the 2002/03 campaign but the Brazilian’s season-tally of 21 was matched by an unlikely player – Bochum’s Danish-born Spanish international Thomas Christiansen.

Tony Yeboah ended level with Ulf Kirsten on 20 goals in 1993, despite four of the Ghanaian’s strikes for Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a 5-2 win over Bayer Uerdingen – a result that was later overturned because the Eagles had fielded an ineligible player.

With only two goals separating Aubameyang, Modeste and Lewandowski, this year’s race could be just as tight.

Head here for a pictorial overview of the Bundesliga's top scorers in 2016/17!