Lucas Alario is outscoring every other Argentine domestically – including Lionel Messi – while only Robert Lewandowski can better his 68 minutes per goal in the Bundesliga. So what’s the secret of the 28-year-old’s sensational start to the season.
Bayer Leverkusen went into the international break on a high, still unbeaten after seven Bundesliga matches of the 2020/21 campaign following a 4-3 win over top-four rivals Borussia Monchengladbach.
Alario, the club’s top goal scorer this season, made it nine goals in all competitions when he netted twice against the Foals. That helped Leverkusen come out the right side of an electrifying encounter, leaving them fourth in the standings and just three points behind Bundesliga pacesetters Bayern Munich.
“Every football lover has to watch this game,” Leverkusen head coach Peter Bosz said afterwards, while also noting the key role that Alario had played. “His goals were outstanding – they really were top quality.”
Bosz and die Werkself owe their Argentine attacker a lot when it comes to both their league position and their latest victory. Alario twice pegged back Gladbach on Matchday 7 before the home team eventually edged the seven-goal thriller.
It was the third Bundesliga game in succession that the former River Plate frontman had got a double in, and it extended a scoring streak that now runs to seven goals in four league matches. After drawing their first three league games, Bosz’s side have won all four of the matches that Alario has scored in.
It’s notable that all seven of Alario’s Bundesliga goals have come since fellow forward Patrick Schick picked up an injury at the start of October. When Leverkusen needed Alario to step up, their No.13 did just that.
“Lucas is now our only striker, and very important for us,” Bosz said after Alario’s first brace of the campaign, which came in a 3-1 home win over Augsburg on Matchday 5.
Lucas Alario got one of his three goals for Argentina in a 2-2 draw with Germany in Dortmund in October 2019. – Jan Huebner/Voigt via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Jan Huebner
The man from the small city of Tostado in the north of Argentina is making a big splash in Germany. Not only that, but he’s doing so in double-quick time.
Having watched from the bench for the Matchday 2 draw with RB Leipzig, Alario is now scoring at a rate that only the great Robert Lewandowski can better. While the Bayern legend has 11 goals in 457 minutes so far – striking every 42 – Alario has seven in 474 minutes in the Bundesliga this season. That means that the Leverkusen forward – finding the net once every 68 minutes – has a better record than even Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland (a goal every 78).
Alario has even outscored his illustrious international teammates this season. While his haul includes one penalty and came in just five starts, Argentine legend Lionel Messi has only three goals – two from the penalty spot – as well as two assists in seven league matches for Barcelona. Inter Milan attacker Lautaro Martinez, meanwhile, has managed four goals and one assist in seven Serie A matches this term.
The most in-form Argentine attacker on international duty this month will not be six-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Messi, then, nor the highly rated Martinez. Instead it is a player that Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky said his teammates have taken to calling “Goalario”.
Leverkusen managing director Rudi Voller – a top-class goal scorer in his own playing days – recently said that it wasn’t just in front of goal that Alario had improved.
His hold-up play, according to the 1990 FIFA World Cup winner, had also got considerably better.
Most attacking players, however, will ultimately be judged on how many goals they are involved in. Alario’s previous best for a Bundesliga season is nine goals, a total he reached in each of his first two years at the club. It’s a tally he will be confident of surpassing this term, though, especially considering that we are only a fifth of the way through the league campaign.
The former Colon de Santa Fe centre forward has got half of Leverkusen’s 14 league goals so far, and he is the only player to have got more than one. Strong in the air, Alario has also netted in the DFB Cup first round as well as in the 6-2 hammering of French side Nice in the UEFA Europa League.
Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland – last season’s leading goal scorers for Leverkusen – are no longer at the club, but Hradecky is thrilled to see Alario take up the mantle.
“Lucas knows exactly where the goal is,” the Finland international said. “A genuine fox in the box… he has an outstanding goal scoring instinct.
“Now, through good performances and his goals, he has developed confidence, and the team bring him into the game more. It’s very difficult to defend against him. I’m very happy he’s playing for us.”
Alario’s fourth season in Germany, then, looks set to be his best yet. Having turned 28 in October, he’ll hope to keep his scoring run going in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru.
After that, though, it will be back to being the main man in Leverkusen. It’s a status Alario has worked hard to earn, and one that the prolific Argentine will be keen to build on.
Source: The Nation