Penalties are perhaps the most nerve-racking situation in a game of football. The psychological battle between the striker and the goalkeeper has seen many greats faltering on some of the biggest occasions.
According to Fbref, the last season of the Bundesliga saw a total of 73 penalties awarded. But, only 80 percent (59) of them resulted in a goal. The idea of penalties being one of the easiest ways to score during a match is not true. Usually, players with a strong mentality and ice-cold nerves are a club's designated penalty taker.
The opening match of this season's Bundesliga saw Bayern Munich getting the first penalty of the season. Unsurprisingly, Robert Lewandowski found the net as the Bavarians cruised past Schalke.
The successful penalty saw Lewandowski becoming the joint 12th highest penalty scorer in the Bundesliga.
Lewandowski is the most successful penalty scorer amongst the current crop of Bundesliga players. But the Poland international is far from being the highest scorer in the league. Let see how close the others are to the Polish goalscoring machine when it comes to penalties.
We look at the top five active penalty scorers in the Bundesliga at the moment.
#5 Max Kruse - 14 goals
Union Berlin's new No.10 is the joint fourth-highest active penalty scorer in the Bundesliga. The forward returned to Germany this season after a brief one-year spell with Fenerbahce.
Kruse has a perfect penalty record in the Bundesliga. The veteran forward has scored 14 penalties from 14 attempts, a tally that consists of seven goals for Borussia Monchengladbach and seven for Werder Bremen.
In fact, the forward has been on the winning side in 11 of the 14 games in which he scored a penalty.
# 4 Daniel Caligiuri - 14 goals
Daniel Caligiuri, who joined FC Augsburg this season after four years with Schalke, is the other player with 14 goals from the spot. The versatile midfielder, unlike Kruse, does not have a perfect record from the spot. However, he still has an impressive 87% success rate from the spot after having missed 2 of the 16 penalties he has taken.
The veteran was on the mark from the spot last season too, successfully converting the two chances he was awarded. Interestingly, Caligiuri has scored more than one-third of his total Bundesliga goals (40) from the penalty spot.
#3 Andrej Kramaric - 16 goals
The former Leicester City forward is one of the best penalty takers in the Bundesliga right now. Since his move to Hoffenheim in 2015, the Croatian international has missed just one of his last 17 penalties.
Kramaric further enhanced his reputation after converting from the spot during Hoffenheim's opening week win over FC Cologne. He also had a perfect record last season, converting both his kicks from the spot. Interestingly, almost a quarter of Kramaric's Bundesliga goals have come from penalties.
#2 Vedad Ibisevic - 18 goals
The oldest player in the Schalke squad is the oldest active player to score a penalty in the Bundesliga. The Bosnia and Herzegovina international scored his first penalty in 2008 while playing for Hoffenheim. Fast forward twelve years, and the striker is still going strong after scoring his 18th penalty last season against Freiburg.
Ibisevic has not missed a penalty since moving away from Stuttgart. In fact, in almost seven years, the striker has a 100% conversion rate. But sadly for Ibisevic, many of his penalties have failed to lead his team to victory.
In the 18 matches that he has converted a penalty, only seven of them have resulted in wins, while the remaining eleven resulted in either a defeat or draw for his team.
#1 Robert Lewandowski - 28 goals
It's hardly a surprise that the active player with the most number of successful penalties is Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker has been topping the Bundesliga goal charts since the start of the last decade.
The striker, who opened the new season with a penalty, is a long way from Manfred Kaltz (53) record. However, he is just four short of breaking into the Bundesliga's top five all-time penalty scorers list.
The last season saw Lewandowski converting all five from the spot as he went onto score an incredible 34 goals. The Polish striker also has a 90% success rate in penalties, having scored 28 from his 31 attempts.
In the 27 matches he has scored from the spot, his team has not lost a single time. Lewandowski's teams have won 25 matches and drawn just twice when he scored from the penalty spot.
Published 28 Sep 2020, 15:48 IST