Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with 1FC Köln bottom of the table with just a single point and a single goal, they have turned to veteran striker Claudio Pizarro to get them out of the mire.
The former Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich striker holds the record as the top foreign goalscorer in the Bundesliga with 191 goals in 430 appearances, but on Tuesday he will celebrate his 39th birthday. With Jhon Cordoba and Yuya Osaka failing to compensate for the loss of Anthony Modeste’s goals, can an old-timer like Pizarro still cut the mustard?
Since being released by Werder at the end of last season having scored what he thought was his last Bundesliga goal against Bayer Leverkusen, the Peruvian has been keeping himself fit and looking for a club as he still harbours ambitions to play at the World Cup next year.
“He is a clinical striker in front of goal with a personality that will be good for our team,” Köln head coach, Peter Stöger, told the club’s official website.
Should Pizarro actually score for a third Bundesliga side and add to his 191 goals, he would be working towards another record- that of the oldest Bundesliga goalscorer.
At the moment he currently 9th on the list, so just who are the Bundesliga’s geriatric scorers ahead of him?
#1 Mirko Votava (40 years 3 months 30 days)
Back in 1996 Werder Bremen’s moustachioed midfielder Votava scored a consolation goal as the Grün-Weißen lost 2-1 at VfB Stuttgart. It was his final season for Werder before moving to VfB Oldenburg where he became player-coach before hanging up his boots in 1998. He made 614 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund and Werder.
#2 Manfred Burgsmüller (39 years 7 months 14 days)
A Werder player also occupies second spot with Manny Burgsmüller scoring in 1989 against Fortuna Düsseldorf during a 2-2 draw at the Weser Stadion. He scored 213 Bundesliga goals between 1976 and 1990.
#3 Morten Olsen (39 years 6 months 18 days)
Danish legend Morten Olsen is currently Köln’s oldest scorer and the player Pizarro is looking to emulate. Six months short of his 40th birthday, the sweeper scored a late goal to help secure a 3-1 away win at VfL Bochum in the 1988-89 season. Fellow Dane Fleming Polvsen provided the assist. The strikers that day were Polvsen, Thomas Allofs and Uwe Rahn- oh how Köln could do with players like them now.
#4 Günter Sebert (39 years 1 day)
Yes SV Waldhof Mannheim were in the Bundesliga (!) and defender Sebert scored in a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen before presumably trotting back to the back four on his Zimmer frame. Sebert was a one-club man amassing 592 appearances for the Waldhof Buben’s between 1966-1987. He is now the club’s sporting director as they play in the Regionalliga Südwest.
#5 Max Morlock (38 years 11 months 28 days)
Morlock was a name to terrify defenders back in the day and is best known for scoring Germany’s first goal in the legendary World Cup final of 1954 to instigate the ‘Wunder of Bern’. In May 1964 a full ten years later, he scored for Nürnberg in a 2-2 draw with Hamburg on the final game of the season.
#6 Richard Kreß (38 years 8 months 17 days)
Eintracht Frankfurt’s Richard Kreß scored the final goal in a 5-2 win over 1860 Munich in 1963. The winger is best known for scoring the opening goal in the 1960 European Cup final. Sadly for him and Frankfurt they were on the end of a 7-3 mauling by the great Madrid side of the era.
#7 Lothar Matthäus (38 years 7 months 30 days)
A 6-1 thrashing of SC Freiburg in November 1999 saw Lothar Matthäus score his final goal for Bayern as a 38-year-old. He scored 85 times for the Bavarians during two spells.
#8 Sigfried Held (38 years 7 months)
1981 saw Sigfried Held, one of the heroes of Borussia Dortmund’s 1966 European Cup Winners’ Cup triumph and double World Cup score for Bayer Uerdingen in a 3-2 defeat at Stuttgart. Held was a Bundesliga and World Cup runner-up in 1966.