FC Bayern München Blog

Mia San Mia (We Are Who We Are)

Who is Bayern’s Most Effective Striker of the Last Decade?

It has often been argued which type of striker suits Bayern most. While some prefer the ruthless goal scorer we see when Mario Gomez finishes off his team’s work in opportunistic style, others prefer the all round play and dribbling of Giovane Elber while still others enjoy the relentless hard running and passion of Ivica Olic. In the end, the most important thing for the team is that the striker being fielded actually scores. Few would argue that Mario Gomez is more skilled all-round than Miroslav Klose or Claudio Pizarro in their primes, in fact, most fans are exasperated at the clumsiness that Gomez often shows on the ball.

Despite his obvious lack of flair and skill on the ball, Mario Gomez is easily a better goal scorer for Bayern than both Pizarro and Klose, and isn’t that what really matters? Some can argue against that. Are the goals that Toni and Gomez scored against lesser Bundesliga and UEFA Cup teams worth more than Olic’s goals versus Manchester United and his hat-trick versus Lyon? Did Pizarro’s six goals versus Jahn Regensburg, Kaiserslautern and Lille this season really make a difference to the results? In short, some believe that an important goal overshadows ten “unimportant” ones.

Below is a compilation of the stats of Bayern’s leading strikers since 2002/2003, a decade ago. Players such as Elber and Pizarro, whose stats extended before said season, were added with all of their Bayern stats present, as to not put them at a disadvantage. The eight players that will be compared are the Brazilian Giovane Elber, the Peruvian Claudio Pizarro, the Dutch Roy Makaay, the Italian Luca Toni, Germans Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez and Croatians Ivica Olic and Mario Mandzukic. Some other strikers who played for Bayern in this period like Lukas Podolski, Roque Santa Cruz, Nils Petersen and Jose Paulo Guerrero were not included because they were bit part players for most of their Bayern careers, therefore talking about such players would be a waste of time, as they are obviously not Bayern’s most effective strikers of the past decade.

First up is a table showing the total statistics of the aforementioned eight strikers. Here, it becomes clear that Pizarro is Bayern’s seasoned veteran in the Bundesliga in the last decade, racking up 185 appearances for Bayern from 2001-2007 and from 2012 onwards. It also becomes clear that Olic, who many Bayern fans still adore for his 2010 exploits, played less than two whole seasons for Bayern in his Bundesliga career, something understandable due to his 2010 injury and the emergence of Mario Gomez. It also shows that Pizarro, Elber and Klose are Bayern’s Pokal experts, racking up 73 appearances and 47 goals between them for Bayern in the past decade or so. When it comes to the Champions League, Giovane Elber and Mario Gomez are the top dogs, with 97 appearances and 45 goals between them.

Player Name Bundesliga Apps/Goals Pokal Apps/Goals CL Apps/Goals
Elber 169/92 24/16 60/22
Pizarro 185/71 28/17 55/18
Makaay 129/78 17/7 32/17
Toni 60/38 7/7 10/2 (11/10 in UEFA Cup)
Klose 98/24 21/14 18/9 (12/5 in UEFA Cup)
Gomez 105/69 15/9 37/23
Olic 55/13 7/1 17/9
Mandzukic 19/15 2/2 5/1

While player statistics are always interesting to look at, they don’t reveal as much as the calculated player efficiency. In this case, the players’ efficiency will be counted as their number of goals divided by their total appearances for Bayern in a certain competition. The calculated result will be the average goals per game for the striker in a certain competition. Assists will not be taken into consideration because of the limited statistics for some of the players as well as the fact that strikers in Bayern are generally supported by at least four midfielders.


Player Name Bundesliga Efficiency Pokal Efficiency CL Efficiency
Elber 0.54 0.66 0.36
Pizarro 0.38 0.61 0.32
Makaay 0.60 0.41 0.53
Toni 0.63 1 0.2 (0.9 in UEFA Cup)
Klose 0.24 0.66 0.5 (0.41 in UEFA Cup)
Gomez 0.65 0.6 0.62
Olic 0.23 0.14 0.52
Mandzukic 0.78 1 0.2

In the table above, it is revealed that Mario Mandzukic is by far Bayern’s most effective hitman in the past decade, with an average of .78 goals per game. These stats can be deceiving, however, since the Croat has played less than 20 Bundesliga games so far with perhaps the most impressive Bayern side of the past decade. Next up on the list is Mario Gomez, who has an impressive average of .65 goals per Bundesliga game since joining Bayern four seasons ago. A close competitor to Gomez is Luca Toni, who has an average of .63 goals per Bundesliga game for Bayern in his 60 Bundesliga appearances from 2007-2009. Roy Makaay and Giovane Elber lag just behind with Bundesliga scoring averages of .6 and .54, respectively. While their Bundesliga stats are overshadowed by those of poachers Toni and Gomez, the two Bayern legends more than made up for it in other competitions. The least three efficient Bundesliga strikers for Bayern are Pizarro, Klose and Olic, with averages of .38, .24 and .23, respectively. For such a generally prolific goal scorer, Pizarro’s stats are a bit surprising. Klose, a player known for performing more for country than club, has Bundesliga stats that shouldn’t surprise too many, given that he had Toni, Gomez and Olic to contend with for the majority of his time at Bayern. Olic’s stats are no surprise given his nasty knee injury in late 2010, an occurrence which effectively ended his Bayern career due to the good form of Mario Gomez. In conclusion, Mario Gomez appears to be the striker with the highest goal/game ratio for Bayern in the Bundesliga over the past decade.

In the Pokal, Mandzukic is again the top dog, along with Toni, both with an average of 1 goal per game, scoring twice in the two games he has played. In Toni’s seven Pokal games, he scored the same amount, one of which won Bayern the competition against Dortmund five years ago. Due to Mandzukic’s small sample size, his stats will not be taken too seriously until he racks up a few more games. From the eight strikers mentioned, Klose and Elber are the second most effective Bayern strikers in the Pokal, both with a goal/game average of .66. Pizarro and Gomez lack slightly behind with an average of .61 and .6, repectively, an improvement on the Bundesliga average for the former, while a deterioration for the latter. Roy Makaay has a not-too-bad record of .41 goals per Pokal game, while Olic has a rather weak average of .14, scoring only once from seven attempts. In conclusion, Luca Toni has been Bayern’s most effective Pokal poacher of the past decade.

Generally, the Champions League is where players cement their legend status. Elber did it with his countless goals versus the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United, Makaay did it in eleven seconds against Real Madrid and Olic made himself a favorite with a spectacular 2009/2010. From the table above, it is safe to say that Gomez is Bayern’s deadliest striker in the Champions League in the past decade, with an average of .62 goals per game. Klose, Olic and Makaay lag behind with averages of .5, .52 and .53, respectively. Elber and Pizarro have averages of .36 and .32 goals per game in the Champions League, respectively. While Toni is at the bottom, along with the once-again disregarded Mandzukic, with an average of .2 goals per Champions League game. It is worth noting, however, that Toni had a .91 goal per game average for Bayern in the UEFA Cup in 2007/2008. The aforementioned argument of quality outweighing quantity for strikers is present here as well, as Elber’s winners versus Madrid and United are arguably worth more than Gomez’s super hat-trick versus Basel in 2012’s 7-0 thrashing. There is a counter argument, however, as Gomez’s winners versus Inter and Real Madrid also outweigh some of Elber’s goals against lesser Champions League opposition.

Below is a table showing the total appearances and goals by each of the eight Bayern strikers over the past decade in all competitions. Keep in mind that Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose’s UEFA Cup stats are also included.

Player Name Total Bayern Apps/Goals Total Efficiency
Elber 253/130 0.51
Pizarro 268/106 0.40
Makaay 178/102 0.57
Toni 88/57 0.647
Klose 149/52 0.35
Gomez 157/101 0.643
Olic 79/21 0.27
Mandzukic 26/18 0.69

In conclusion, Mandzukic should be Bayern’s most effective scorer of the past decade, but due to his small sample size, the accolade will be taken by Mario Gomez. While Luca Toni has a fractionally higher total goal/game average for Bayern with .647 goals per game compared to Gomez’s .643 goals per game, 10 of those goals came in the UEFA Cup, a competition less challenging than the Champions League Gomez has competed in. If Toni’s UEFA Cup stats-eleven games and ten goals-are removed, his goal/game ratio will reduce to .61 goals per game, leaving Gomez as Bayern’s most efficient striker of the past decade in the Bundesliga and Champions League and in general, while Toni has to suffice with his excellent Pokal record. Keep in mind that Gomez’s superior efficiency takes away nothing from the other seven strikers, who each have contributed a lot to Bayern in their own special ways.

Share this article!

  • BayernLove says:

    Great article!
    Didn’t expect this from you Assem, you really delivered.

    • AssemFCB says:

      Thanks, I appreciate your praise.
      I noticed that this argument has been raging on the forum for many days, so I decided to settle it with statistics!

  • FCBayernMunchen says:

    Interesting… I didn’t expect Mandzukic to finish ahead of everyone else to be honest, even though as you pointed out he is at an advantage because he did not play many games.

    I also did not expect Toni to finish ahead of Gomez in overall efficiency. That is very surprising for me.

  • MoFattal says:

    Nice one Assem. It was enjoyable to read 🙂

    We’ll see you after a month when your MUTU-induced ban period ends.

    • MoFattal says:

      Wrote it before the conclusion 😛 MUTU will promote you to admin after this.

      • AssemFCB says:

        Well, I sure as hell wasn’t going to leave Toni as Bayern’s best, knowing that Big Brother is watching us!

  • Chalant says:

    That’s a great article, Aseem. Just a question, how id you get a pic of Miroslav Klose in the new Bayern jersey? We played in the red-white stripes one against Stuttgart in the last game of the 2010-11 season if I recall

    • AssemFCB says:

      Actually, that was the game where we wore the new kit. The kit had an effect on Klose though, as he missed an empty net. We also wore it in a friendly against Zenit a few weeks later.

  • huknife says:

    ‘In the end, the most important thing for the team is that the striker being fielded actually scores’

    No, the most important thing for the team is the team winning.

    The entire article reads out as ‘who are the luckier strikers that played with the better players during the past 10 years or so’

    Appreciate the work you have done though.

  • walter says:

    Nice article!

  • MUTU says:

    And Gomez improves his stats yet again with another goal in a 75 minute appearance 🙂

  • Robb3449 says:

    Nice article Assem! Puts into a good perspective.

  • fcbayernfanalbania says:

    All are great but I still remember with nostalgy the goals of Giovane Elber.

  • brickwall281 says:

    Well I guess I lost the Gomez hate thing. I am ready to mature out of it now. Even though he isn’t my favorite player but I lost my right to hate as he is improving (waits for MUTU’s “I told you so!”.

    • oatbag says:

      I used to hate hard after WC 2010 (he had 7/10 donkey first touches), but yeah for the least 2 years, you have to hand it to him. But there’s something choatic or hard to define about him, that makes his hard to understand and so very easy to hate.

      He’s a beast, and in ways that mandzukic is not. Some people used to argue that nearly any striker could get gomez numbers simply by showing up in front of this incredible 10 rest of team, but I think we now know that mandzukic doesn’t like the direct runs our crossers’ aim/style demand.

  • Kinkam says:

    You have got to hand it out to Elber. To get those numbers playing in a very defensive Bayern side. If anyone comes close to him its gotta be Makaay. Pace and no nonsense finishing with lethal accuracy.
    Very nice article.

  • Kinkam says:

    You have got to hand it out to Elber. To get those numbers playing in a very defensive Bayern side. If anyone comes close to him its gotta be Makaay. Pace and no nonsense finishing with lethal accuracy.
    Very nice article.

  • DerKaiser says:

    Great article. For some reason I´m gonna go with Elber, because he was able to create the most on his own

    • AssemFCB says:

      I would have added assist statistics, but I couldn’t find those for everyone.

  • football27 says:

    Elber is my best love!

  • Bazi says:

    Giovanne Elber in today’s support cast would bomb just as Gomez did with better alround play.

    I just love this Brazilian guy.