When you talk about the Bundesliga’s top strikers, Mark Uth is probably not one of the first names that comes into your head.
FC Bayern Munchen’s Robert Lewandowski, RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and VfL Wolfsburg’s Mario Gomez would be among the most popular choices when asked to name the German league’s deadliest goalscorers, but the Hoffenheim forward is doing his best to add his name to that list.
At 26-years of age Uth is coming into what many pundits consider the prime years of a goalscorer, and so far this season he seems to be fitting that mould perfectly.
With five goals in six games so far this season, Cologne-born Uth is already enjoying his best ever start to a season (his previous best is eight goals in each of the last two seasons.)
Two goals, one in each leg, against Liverpool in Hoffenheim’s Champions League qualifying defeat have been added to with a late equaliser against Bayer Leverkusen and a spectacular match-winning brace against champions Munich last weekend.
The manner in which he took the goals against Bayern have drawn added attention to Uth’s achievements in what was his 50th Bundesliga appearance.
Success hasn’t come easy for Uth though. After spending six years with the youth and second teams at FC Koln, a drop in form saw him leave Germany in the summer of 2012 for SC Heereveen in the Eredivisie.
Uth struggled at first, playing just five times in his first season before being loaned out to rival Eredivisie side Heracles, where he immediately found form. Another season and eight goals later saw him return to Heerenveen where he then grabbed 15 goals in 32 league games, eventually earning himself a move back to Germany and Hoffenheim.
With steady progress over the last two seasons getting Uth noticed domestically, there was talk of a return to his hometown-club in the summer as a replacement for Anthony Modeste, but Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann made it clear he wanted the player to stay and continue his development at the club.
With a Europa League campaign to look forward to in addition to an expected challenge for the Bundesliga title, Uth will now be looking to catch the eye of German national team coach Joachim Low in the same way that his rival striker Werner at Leipzig has done.
Should he carry on in his present form then there is every chance that he will.