While Robert Lewandowski may be the talk of the town after giving hints that he is very likely to move to Bayern Munich next season, an unsung hero is emerging in the shadows of the Bundesliga, Stefan Kießling, a Bavarian striker who is a few months shy of his 30th birthday yet he has been performing marvellously good this season.
Kießling has started his eighth season with Bayer Leverkusen this term, he has been on form ever since matchday one, while many are looking at Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund stars he has been so far the best player in the league. After seven league games, he has scored five goals as well as a brace from a single cup game. Lewandowski may have scored one more goal than him so far and so did Nicolai Müller but Stefan’s contribution to his team has been far more. He has assisted three goals (only topped by his team-mate Sidney Sam). In terms of aerial threat, only five forwards have been better than him as he wins on average 4.1 aerial duels per game, an impressive number in fact. Until now, he has given 12 key passes this season while he also contributed defensively with eight tackles, seven interceptions and four clearances.
All in all, no one has been better than him so far in the Bundesliga at least among German players. Leverkusen have racked 18 points this season just one less than the big two Bayern and Dortmund, six wins and a single loss in the league can’t be bad at all. Such numbers certainly must earn him a call back to the national team for the next World Cup but surprisingly, he hasn’t been called up even for a friendly game. Despite being Bundesliga’s top scorer last season with 25 goals, nine more than the second best German in the league.
The 29-year-old’s last game for Germany was at the 2010 World Cup, since then he hasn’t been called up by national team head coach Joachim Loew, who was at Leverkusen’s BayArena when the home side won 4-2 over Borussia Moenchengladbach. USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann claimed that Stefan deserves at least a call-up even if he did not feature though the player himself has given up on playing for Germany as long as Loew is the head coach claiming:” “I am not going to play under Joachim Low. After every goal, the questions return, but they are getting on my nerves. I am the last person who would abandon his team but I am not wanted.” Stefan has featured in six games for Germany but failed to score in any.
This summer, he was subject of transfer speculation and Manchester United made a bid for him but he opted to stay at his club, the interest of other teams in him shows that he has been improving and performing consistently and is more of a team player than many of modern strikers.
Among the current pure strikers Germany have Max Kruse is the only who plays in the Bundesliga and he scored 11 goals last season, while Miroslav Klose has had great days with the national team, he is quite old at the moment and his inclusion for the World Cup serves only to help him break the record for most scored goals in the competition. Moreover, Mario Gomez is currently playing for Fiorentina in his first season in a foreign league and he is currently injured. Die Mannschaft may have options elsewhere like Lukas Podolski, Thomas and Nicolai Müller but doesn’t a man who has been performing consistently deserve at least a chance to redeem his bad form for the German team?