Lewandowski v Aubameyang: The numbers behind a fierce Klassiker goal-scoring rivalry
Der Klassiker is a fixture guaranteed to whet the appetite of football purists the world over and an intriguing subplot involving Bayern Munich goal machine Robert Lewandowski and Borussia Dortmund hitman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will once again come to the fore.
Since Aubameyang made the move to the Bundesliga from Saint-Etienne in 2013, initially as a team-mate of Lewandowski at Dortmund, the two have been waging a fierce battle for goal-scoring supremacy in Germany's top flight.
Domestically, Dortmund's fine start to the season has been derailed by a three-match winless streak that has allowed rivals Bayern, rejuvenated under the returning Jupp Heynckes, to regain a familiar position atop the table.
But with just three points separating the two, Saturday's result may come down to whether Lewandowski or Aubameyang is in better form in front of goal at Signal Iduna Park.
Using Opta data, we have compared two of world football's most potent strikers, analysing their performances from the 2013-14 season up to the present day.
LITTLE LEAVE OF ABSENCE
Almost as remarkable as their sensational goalscoring exploits is the fact that both players have missed hardly any league matches. Lewandowski has played 139 top-flight games in our time period, missing just seven, with no other outfield player making more Bundesliga appearances in this time. Aubameyang, meanwhile, has featured in 138 matches and been absent from only eight.
GOALS, GOALS, GOALS
In terms of goals scored, Lewandowski holds the edge with 107 compared to 95 from Aubameyang. Only eight Bundesliga teams have scored more than the duo's combined tally of 202 since the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
Unsurprisingly, their impressive strike rates have seen the two battle for the 'Torjagerkanone' (Bundesliga top-scorer award) – Aubameyang triumphing with 31 goals to his rival's 30 last term.
They each have 10 goals this season, with seven players - including RB Leipzig's impressive young Germany star Timo Werner - the nearest in the charts with five. Lewandowski is showing a more clinical edge with an average of 83 minutes per goal compared to Aubameyang's 90, and a chance conversion rate of 35 per cent to 29.
HOW THE REST COMPARE
To further emphasise how much of an impact these two stars have made, you need only look at the comparison with other players in the league. While Lewandowski and Aubameyang boast 107 and 95 goals from 139 and 138 matches respectively, the next most prolific player on the list is Anthony Modeste with 59 in 123, while Thomas Muller is the highest-scoring German in the time period with 52 in 132 – less than half of Lewandowski's return.
Only one foreign star has more goals in Bundesliga history than Lewandowski's 161, Claudio Pizarro top of the list with 191. Aubameyang will match Anthony Yeboah's record of 96 goals for an African player with his next Bundesliga strike.