It's rare enough for a professional footballer to notch an elite-level hat-trick, but scoring five goals in a single game is a truly extraordinary achievement, as Eintracht Frankfurt's Luka Jovic discovered in his side's 7-1 demolition of Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 8.
"Of course, I'm delighted," a breathless Jovic told Frankfurt's official website, after becoming the first Eagles player to register a five-goal haul in the Bundesliga. "It's been an emotional day. But it's not about my five goals – the team put in a sensational performance."
Jovic's heroics not only took him joint-top of the Bundesliga scoring charts with seven goals - level with Borussia Dortmund's Paco Alcacer - but also saw him improve his top-flight tally to 15 strikes in just 28 outings. With a goal every 82 minutes, he now has a better goals-to-minutes ratio than legendary strikers Gerd Müller (105) and Robert Lewandowski (112), and even holds the all-time record for a player with at least 25 appearances.
Adi Hütter's side began to carve Fortuna open with surgical precision midway through the first half, as Sebastien Haller put them ahead from the penalty spot. Jovic then set the tone for his sublime evening with a Goal of the Month contender: the excellent Filip Kostic whipped in a cross from the left, and the young Serbian twisted acrobatically in mid-air before volleying past the helpless Michael Rensing for 2-0.
"It was a sensational goal," Jovic grinned. "I got the shot away, and it was only when I hit the ground that I saw the ball had gone it. It was just perfect. Our aim was to get Düsseldorf to open up early, and we definitely succeeded."
The two goalscorers combined for Frankfurt's third on 34 minutes, with Haller showing some fancy footwork before teeing up Jovic for another fine volleyed finish. That gave the Eagles a 3-0 lead at the interval, and they really began to soar five minutes into the second half, as the flying Frenchman added a fourth.
"We have self-belief and a good recipe to win games," Haller said. "I've already played with Luka for a season, and it just works. It's unbelievable that he scored five goals!"
While Fortuna briefly stopped the rot as substitute Dodi Lukebakio pulled it back to 4-1, Frankfurt soon forced the floodgates open again, with Jovic adding three more goals in a dizzy 17-minute spell. The 20-year-old even snuck a golden hat-trick into his five-star performance: swivelling and firing in a third goal with his right, then driving a low left-footed shot in off the post before rounding out his historic night with a well-taken header.
"It's remarkable that Luka Jovic managed to score five goals, and he's not even 21," coach Hütter enthused. "He's obviously the man of the match, and he's penned his name into the history books, alongside players like Robert Lewandowski. It's sensational. Luka is a complete player – and 7-1 is an extraordinary result."
Indeed, Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski was the last man to score five goals in a single Bundesliga game, with his outrageous nine-minute salvo against Wolfsburg in September 2015. Jovic has joined a select band of just 15 Bundesliga brothers to have achieved the feat – including Gerd Müller, Jupp Heynckes and Jürgen Klinsmann – and the 'Serbian Falcao' has outdone them all by becoming the youngest on the list, at 20 years and 300 days old.
"You always have to be careful with superlatives," Hütter added. "But for me he has the potential to become a world-class striker."
Watch: It's been a while since Jovic last netted five goals in a game...
After coming through the youth ranks at Red Star Belgrade, Jovic switched to Benfica in early 2016 before joining Frankfurt on a two-season loan deal in summer 2017. Sporting director Fredi Bobic stressed earlier this month that the Eagles have a buyout clause on the Serbia U21 international that they intend to activate – and his record-breaking performance against Fortuna is only likely to expedite the process.
Having become the first Serbian to score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga – and then some – Jovic left the Commerzbank Arena on Friday with the Derbystar match ball tucked under his arm: the perfect present for his parents Svetlana and Milan, after a perfect performance.