As a new Bundesliga season approaches, strikers up and down Germany are sharpening their tools for what they hope will be a bountiful year in front of goal.

The holder of the coveted canon, Robert Lewandowski, will surely be the man to beat, but there is no shortage of candidates lining up to knock the Pole off his perch. takes a look at who could come out on top of the scoring charts at the end of the 2018/19 campaign.

The King

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
Appearances (2017/18): 30
Goals: 29
Goals per game: 0.96 

The man every pretender must fear, and target. The Polish powerhouse now possesses three Torjägerkanone as the Bundesliga's top scorer - the first non-German to do so - and following a disappointing FIFA World Cup will be keen to show he is still the king of the domestic scoring crop by adding to his 180 Bundesliga goals registered during eight highly successful seasons in Germany’s top-flight. Sitting just 12 short of Claudio Pizarro in the all-time standings, Lewandowski will fancy his chances of breaking into the top five this season.

Watch: All of Lewandowski's 2017/18 goals

The challengers

Nils Petersen (Freiburg)
Appearances: 32
Goals: 15
Goals per game: 0.46 

The top German goalscorer in the Bundesliga last time out, Petersen will thrive on the challenge of repeating that phenomenal feat in 2018/19. Netting nearly half of all Freiburg’s goals last season, it was a breakthrough campaign for the man once nicknamed super-sub on account of his league-record 20 goals when coming off the bench. It was a return great enough to get him a call-up to Germany’s preliminary World Cup squad.

Petersen almost single-handedly ensured struggling Freiburg survived in 2017/18. © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA / Lukas Schulze

Mark Uth (Schalke)
Appearances: 31
Goals: 14
Goals per game: 0.45

At a new club and facing a fresh challenge, Mark Uth is ready to excel. Bursting out of the blocks at former side Hoffenheim last term, the 26-year-old hit nine goals – including a memorable double in the Sinsheimers’ win against Bayern Munich – in a phenomenal Hinrunde showing. Teaming up with last season’s runners up could lead to more instant fireworks in the new campaign.

Watch: Uth's top 5 goals

Kevin Volland (Bayer Leverkusen)
Appearances: 31
Goals: 14
Goals per game: 0.45

Cool, calm and surrounded by an attacking collective as frightening as a shoal of predatory piranhas, Volland seems well placed to add to his personal Bundesliga high of 14 goals, which he netted last year. The 25-year-old hit nine of those by early December and following a relatively lean spell later in the season, roared back to life with four in two games, including a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Kevin Volland took off at Leverkusen in 2017/18 for the most prolific campaign of his career with 14 goals. © imago / Laci Perenyi

Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim)
Appearances: 34
Goals: 13
Goals per game: 0.38 

A FIFA World Cup finalist with Croatia, the Zagreb-born forward was on fire for Hoffenheim prior to heading on international duty at the finals in Russia. Chalking up eleven goals in his final 14 Bundesliga games in 17/18 helped to propel Julian Nagelsmann’s side to a third-place finish, with Kramaric enjoying the striking limelight following the mid-season departure of Sandro Wagner to Bayern. It could get even better for the Croat in the coming campaign.

Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Appearances: 32
Goals: 13
Goals per game: 0.41

Catch him if you can: Leipzig's turbo-charged forward Timo Werner may still only be 22, but he's already approaching 50 Bundesliga goals and is the youngest player in history to reach 150 appearances. Now with a World Cup campaign under his belt, he starts the new season a year older, a year wiser, and Werner can be expected to spearhead Leipzig's challenge this term, with new signing Matheus Cunha giving him a competitive boost.

Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart)
Appearances: 28
Goals: 9 (8 for Stuttgart)
Goals per game: 0.32 

Stuttgart's stunning second half of last season has them thinking big for 2018/19, and Gomez's goals will come in useful. He found the back of the net eight times in the second half of last season as Stuttgart found top gear, and with 163 Bundesliga strikes to his name, there can be no doubting the 33-year-old knows where the goal is.

With eight goals since the turn of the year, Mario Gomez has been on fire in 2018. © gettyimages / Thomas Kienzle

Maximilian Philipp (Borussia Dortmund)
Appearances: 20
Goals: 9
Goals per game: 0.45 

The goalscoring onus at Dortmund is falling increasingly on the shoulders of Maximilian Philipp, especially now Michy Batshuayi's loan has concluded. The 24-year-old scored six in his first ten games for BVB before a knee injury knocked him off track. With Lucien Favre's fast-flowing counter-attacking style set to shake up Dortmund's approach, a player like Philipp who likes to come in from out wide could be one of the main beneficiaries – don't say we didn't warn you!

Maximilian Philipp enjoyed an electric start to 2017/18 at Borussia Dortmund before a serious knee injury curtailed his progress. © imago / mika

Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Appearances: 25
Goals: 6
Goals per game: 0.24 

Another of the Bundesliga players to have benefitted from a World Cup boost, Ante Rebic backed up his DFB Cup final heroics by inspiring Croatia to their first-ever final appearance and while his goal count for last season may not have been so high, this summer's historic run should have him charging into the new season full of momentum. Eintracht are looking for a new Fußballgott now that Alexander Meier has moved on and Rebic could be just the man to stir the fans' emotions.

Watch: who is Frankfurt and Croatia's Ante Rebic?

Bobby Wood (Hannover)
Appearances: 24
Goals: 2
Goals per game: 0.08

Relegation with Hamburg saw Bobby Wood's Bundesliga career hit a low, but the only way can be up for the USMNT international, who is keen to hit the ground running at Hannover. "I want to look forward, help the team and score as many goals as I can," he said, dreaming of a return to the days when he struck 17 in 31 Bundesliga 2 games for Union Berlin in 2015/16 – a record for an American in German football, and one he will be bidding to better in a Hannover team that enjoys scoring.

Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg)
Appearances: 22
Goals: 12
Goals per game: 0.55 

The iceman bounced back from an injury-ravaged 2016/17 season with 12 goals in 22 games last term, and he will be keen on spending more time on the field than in the treatment room this year, with a consequent boost in his scoring figures. As cool on the ball as his nickname suggests, 'Finnbo' has fathomed the Bundesliga and has opposition defenders in a thunderclap-induced trance, as he showed at the World Cup.

Click here for a history of the Bundesliga's top scorers!