We’re approaching the end of the Champions League group stage. Soon we’ll find out who will be heading into the knockout stages, who will be entering the Europa League, and who will be eliminated from European competition altogether.
The favourites in 2020 Champions League odds are already beginning to prove their worth as contenders.
It’s been an intriguing group stage so far, with some cracking matches, upsets, and stunning goals. A few players have lit up the competition with their goal-scoring exploits. As the first stage of the Champions League reaches its close, let’s take a look at the leading figures in the scoring charts.
Erling Braut Håland, Red Bull Salzburg (7 goals)
Erling Braut Håland has caused quite a stir in Europe’s premier club competition so far. Salzburg have been heavy scorers in Group E and they owe much of that to the form of their striker. He opened his Champions League campaign with a hat-trick in the 6-2 win over Genk and followed that up with a goal at Anfield in the narrow 4-3 defeat to Liverpool. A further three goals in Salzburg’s two games against Napoli means that Håland has scored in every group stage match so far.
He is the son of former Manchester City player Alf-Inge Håland, who was famously the victim of a horror tackle by Manchester United’s Roy Keane in 2001. While his father was a defensive player, Erling is proving himself as one of Europe’s most talented young strikers. Still only 19, Håland has 26 goals in all competitions already this season.
Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich (6 goals)
Bayern Munich’s number nine Robert Lewandowski is one of the most consistent centre-forwards in the world and has proved his qualities in this season’s Champions League. He too has scored in every group stage match so far. He notched twice in Bayern’s 7-2 away win over Tottenham Hotspur, which included a cracking strike from the edge of the area to give them the lead on the stroke of half-time.
His record in all competitions this season is phenomenal, having scored 23 goals in 18 appearances so far. Bayern are cruising in the top spot of Group A but they’ll need Lewandowski to continue his good form if they’re to challenge for the Champions League title.
Raheem Sterling, Manchester City (5 goals)
Raheem Sterling’s transformation into a prolific goal-scorer has been one of manager Pep Guardiola’s greatest success stories. This scoring prowess has been evident in this season’s Champions League, as Sterling has helped City to a commanding position in Group A. A hat-trick at home to Atalanta has been the highlight for the Englishman.
The Champions League is the one title missing from City’s trophy cabinet, with the club falling short each year since Guardiola took charge. Sterling will play a massive role in their prospects heading into the knockout stages of the competition. He brings qualities that no other player can match, and causes nightmares for defenders with his quick feet and trickery. Sterling has enjoyed a fine start to this Champions League campaign and City fans will be hoping his goals can propel the side to European glory.
Son Heung-Min, Tottenham Hotspur (5 goals)
Tottenham’s Champions League campaign didn’t get off to a great start, with a draw against Olympiacos followed by that 7-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern. But since then they have turned things around with two wins over Red Star Belgrade, with Son Heung-Min delivering a fine performance in both victories. He scored twice at home and away as Spurs hit nine goals in the two games against the Serbian outfit.
Son was a key figure in Spurs’ run to the Champions League final last season, and they’ll need him in fine form if they are to repeat that achievement in this campaign. New manager José Mourinho brings plenty of Champions League pedigree, and he’ll need to get the best out of Son for Spurs to be successful.