Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has hailed Mario Mandzukic as the world's best striker.
The Croatia forward scored twice as Guardiola's side overcame Hertha Berlin 3-2 on Saturday to maintain their lead at the top of the Bundesliga.
"With his ability to head the ball inside the penalty area, Mandzukic is the best forward in the world," Guardiola told reporters after the game.
Mandzukic didn't start the game, but the Croatian star entered in the 26th minute when an injured Arjen Robben
It didn't take long for Mandzukic to make his presence felt as he scored on a gorgeous header just three minutes after entering the contest. It was a huge goal for Bayern as Adrian Ramos had given Hertha Berlin a 1-0 advantage four minutes into the match.
Mandzukic didn't stop there as he added yet another header goal in the 51st minute to put Bayern Munich on top by a score of 2-1. Mario Gotze added a third goal for Bayern three minutes later, and while Hertha Berlin was able to pull back within one in the 58th minute, they never got closer than that.
With Guardiola's claim that Mandzukic is the World best Forward, Soccer4life takes a look at the striker's performances since joining German and European champions Bayern.
On 24 July 2012, Mandžukić made his debut for Bayern in a 6–0 win against Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan, scoring the fifth goal in the friendly match in the 79th minute. On 12 August, he scored his first goal in an official game against reigning Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in the sixth minute, helping his team win the German Supercup. He scored his first league goal for Bayern against Greuther Fürth on matchday one and added another one the next matchday in a 6–1 win against VfB Stuttgart. He went on to score twice against his former club Wolfsburg.
Mandžukić then added four more goals in five more Bundesliga matches, taking his tally to nine goals in 11 matches in the German top tier. After the Bundesliga winter break, Mandžukić continued with his goal scoring activity, netting three more goals in first two games, against Greuther Fürth and Stuttgart. He scored another brace against 1. FSV Mainz 05. He finished his first Bundesliga season with Bayern as the club's top goalscorer, netting a total of 15 goals in 24 matches
With the coming of Pep Guardiola, Mandžukić found it a little bit difficult to adjust as Bayern changed their formation from the 4-2-3-1 they had used previously under Jupp Heynckes to a new 4-1-4-1 style.
Mandžukić regained his form nonetheless in time for league play. He opened the new season in the Bundesliga by scoring two goals in two league appearances and has so far scored 7 goals in 10 games with 24 shots on goal.
Below is Mario Mandžukić stats for this season and last in figures
GAMES STARTED = 22
GAMES USED AS SUB = 2
GOALS = 15
ASSISTS = 1
SHOTS = 67
GAMES STARTED 7
GAMES USED AS SUB = 3
GOALS = 7
ASSISTS = 0
SOTS = 24.
When one look at the above statistics and compare them to that of so many other strikers in the various league, one may have to conclude that Pep Guardiola is only expressing his freedom of speech.