5 Asian players with the most Bundesliga goals

Cha Bum-Kun (right) is one of the most prolific Asian goal-scorers in the Bundesliga,
Cha Bum-Kun (right) is one of the most prolific Asian goal-scorers in the Bundesliga,

The Bundesliga has seen a steady rise in Asian players in recent years, as the league’s blueprint of using young players with value has helped them financially.

Five-most prolific Asian goal-scorers in the Bundesliga

Not too long back, Asian players found it hard to cut it in Europe because of the wide gulf in quality and visa restrictions. However, there have been a few prominent exceptions.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the five-most prolific Asian goal-scorers in the Bundesliga:

#5 Shinji Okazaki (Japan) – 37 goals

Shinji Okazaki
Shinji Okazaki

Shinji Okazaki is perhaps more of a recognised figure than some of the others because of what he achieved during his spell with Leicester City in England.

After impressing in Japan’s top division, VfB Stuttgart signed Okazaki in 2010. The Japanese international took a bit of time to acclimatise to life at Stuttgart. They weren’t quite happy with his goal return, though, so he was eventually shipped to Mainz.

Okazaki moved on a bargain fee of £1.35 million, as then-manager Thomas Tuchel made good use of the player's work-rate and good finishing ability.

The Japan international scored 15 Bundesliga goals in his first season at Mainz, finishing as the club’s leading goal-scorer ahead of Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting. His second season was equally impressive, as he managed 12 Bundesliga goals and six assists.

Eventually, Leicester City took notice of his tenacious displays and signed him in 2015. He went on to lift the Premier League title with the Foxes.

#4 Vahid Hashemian – 38 goals

Vahid Hashemian
Vahid Hashemian

Vahid Hashemian is perhaps one of the best western Asian imports to have played in the Bundesliga. He is certainly one of the best foreign imports to have donned the VfL Bochum jersey.

The Iranian got a taste of Bundesliga football with Hamburg but failed to impress the team from the north. Eventually, he signed for Bochum on a free transfer, where he felt at home.

Hashemian's quick feet and presence inside the box helped him scored eight goals in his first season to help his team gain promotion to the Bundesliga.

A tally of 26 Bundesliga goals in his next two seasons for Bochum put him on Bayern Munich’s radar. Although he had a quiet spell in Bavaria, he helped put the spotlight on Iran and their growing pool of talented players.

Vahid Hashemian eventually left the Bundesliga club for Persepolis in 2010 after scoring 38 times in the competition.

#3 Shinji Kagawa (Japan) – 41 Bundesliga goals

Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa

Shinji Kagawa was an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles.

Part of a hard-working and quality attacking setup at Dortmund, Kagawa donned a number 10 role in the team where he often stitched play with his passing and quality on the ball.

When Kagawa signed for Dortmund from Cerezo Osaka on a free transfer, not many thought he would find success in the Bundesliga. But boy, did he prove them wrong!

Kagawa scored plenty of goals in the second division of the Japanese league before going on to replicate that form at the Signal Iduna Park. In his first two seasons with Dortmund, he managed 21 Bundesliga goals and 13 assists, helping his team to two league titles in the process.

The Japanese then earned a move to Manchester United. But sadly, he wasn’t able to replicate his form at Old Trafford. A return to the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund was not as successful as his first stint either.

Kagawa eventually left Dortmund for Real Zaragoza after scoring 41 times in the Bundesliga. He is currently with Greek side PAOK.

#2 Son Heung-Min (South Korea) – 41 goals

Son Heung-Min (right)
Son Heung-Min (right)

Son Heung-Min is perhaps the best Asian footballer at the moment; the South Korean international pretty much has it all: incredible technique, pace, stamina, ambidexterity; he is undoubtedly one of the best buys in Tottenham Hotspur’s history.

Before his spell in North London, Son Heung-Min used to frequently put in show-stopping performances in the Bundesliga.

It all started when he joined the Hamburg academy as a teenager, where he quickly progressed through the youth ranks to make his debut for the senior team.

It didn’t take him long to impress at Hamburg, as his bustling displays in attack quickly earned him the adulation of the fans. His final season at Hamburg saw him score 12 Bundesliga goals in 33 appearances before he moved to Bayer Leverkusen to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious compatriot Cha Bum-Kun.

Son scored 29 goals in 87 Bundesliga appearances for Leverkusen before landing in North London.

#1 Cha Bum-Kun (South Korea) – 98 goals

Cha Bum-Kun (right)
Cha Bum-Kun (right)

Affectionately called Tscha Bum (Cha Boom), Cha Bum-Kun was a pathbreaker of sorts. He paved the way for Asian players to try their luck in Europe after an incredible spell in the Bundesliga.

Bum-Kun initially impressed Eintracht Frankfurt when the German side travelled to South Korea to participate in the President’s Cup. Frankfurt were so blown away they were adamant about signing him and finally got their man in 1979.

The South Korean was renowned for his movement, aerial prowess and shooting ability. His technique while hitting the ball was second to none, something that earned him his nickname Cha Boom.

Cha Bum-Kun played for Darmstadt, Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen during his spell in the Bundesliga, scoring 98 goals in the process.

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Edited by Bhargav
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