Consider the top scorers in the Bundesliga and two names invariably spring to mind first: Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Download the official Bundesliga app!

The pair are blazing a trail at the top of the scoring charts, with 23 and 22 goals respectively. But what if the season had commenced only in January? The hunt for the covetedTorjägerkanone would then be led by another man; a man of great experience who was already tormenting Bundesliga defenders before Lewandowski and Aubameyang had made their professional debuts.

One hundred and counting

That man is Claudio Pizarro, SV Werder Bremen sharpshooter and the Bundesliga's all-time top foreign scorer with 187 goals. With nine strikes since the turn of the year, he has one more than Lewandowski and five more than Aubameyang since the winter break – an unrivalled haul.

The Peruvian, 37, moved onto 100 strikes for the northern Germany club on Matchday 25, and he is now just one short of Marco Bode's club record of 101. Matching and even bettering Bode is just the latest objective Pizarro has set himself, having rediscovered the kind of form which has made him one of the legends of German football for almost two decades. "I only need a goal to do that," he told bundesliga.com. "We've got ten more games this season so I think I can do it, maybe even next Saturday."

Read: bundesliga.com's exclusive interview with Claudio Pizarro

'A special game'

That is when Pizarro returns to a place where his name has already been cast in the hall of fame of Germany's most successful club. "Of course it's going to be a special game for me, against my former colleagues at the Allianz Arena," Pizarro said ahead of what is not his first return to FC Bayern München in opposition. Indeed, he faced the Bavarians on three occasions before joining the club for the first time, netting two in Werder’s 3-2 win at the Olympiastadion in 2001.

He made several more appearances in Munich during his second spell with Bremen, and now in his third term with the northern Germany club, he faces his latest homecoming. "I hope we can beat Bayern, preferably with a goal from me," he said. Given his current form, that is not beyond the realms of imagination either. "You start getting used to Claudio scoring in every game," said his team-mate Clemens Fritz. "Of course that's without wanting to put him under too much pressure."

Read: Claudio Pizarro set for Allianz Arena return

Safety first

© imago / nph/Ewert

"Claudio is capable of scoring each time he takes to the field, no matter who he is up against," added Bremen's sporting director Thomas Eichin. "That's not all that makes him so valuable to us – he also wins balls for us and pulls his weight around well. What Claudio's doing is really top-drawer stuff." Even Arjen Robben, Pizarro's team-mate at Bayern for the past three seasons, regrets having to line up in opposition this weekend. "I'm not surprised at all by his form," said the Dutchman. "He's a very, very good player and it's a shame he left. He's always scoring goals and even we could have done with him right now."

Read: FC Bayern vs Werder Bremen match preview

Indeed, thanks to Pizarro's eye-catching form, Bremen have established a three-point cushion over the bottom three and maintaining that is their priority, no matter who they are up against on Matchday 26. "It's important that we keep looking ahead positively," Pizarro said. "We're definitely going to try to do that, even though it won't be easy. Bayern are in good form right now and we're without two key players [Fritz and Zlatko Junuzovic] due to suspension, but we're still in good form ourselves and I think we're going to give them a good game."

Kimmich showing his class

Bayern are also without key players, but they shrugged off a defensive emergency with some cunning improvisation. With centre-backs Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber and Javi Martinez sidelined, Pep Guardiola turned to 21-year-old midfielder Joshua Kimmich to hold the fort. "He's got it all," Guardiola said after his metamorphosed number 32 kept Aubameyang and Co at bay in Der Klassiker. "He can defend against anybody in the world. I love Joshua Kimmich."

© gettyimages / Lars Baron

Such a public show of affection came only moments after the Catalan had ruffled Kimmich's feathers in an emotional outburst after the final whistle at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK. "He just wanted to tell me that I should have taken Xabi Alonso's position and stood a little bit deeper," Kimmich explained in kicker magazine. "I know how he is and I know how emotional he gets, so it wasn't a problem."

Playercard: Joshua Kimmich's season so far

It was just Guardiola's persevering pursuit of perfection that saw him nit-picking at an otherwise impeccable performance which Kimmich will look to repeat on Matchday 26. The challenge for Bayern is to ensure they do not go three games without a win for the first time this season, while that conversely will be seen by Bremen as an opportunity, using 1. FSV Mainz 05 as their inspiration. Werder succeeded in 2001 thanks to Pizarro, and almost 15 years to the day later, they will look to do so again with the help of the evergreen Peruvian.