Haaland, Aubameyang, Lewandowski? Who is Borussia Dortmund’s greatest striker of the modern era?

Haaland, Aubameyang, Lewandowski? Who is Borussia Dortmund’s greatest striker of the modern era?

Borussia Dortmund have been able to boast a plethora of world class strikers over the past decade, with the likes of Erling Haaland, Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having enjoyed fruitful spells in black and yellow.

Even before the turn of the century, the Yellow Wall enjoyed watching several other great number nines lead the line for their club.

The great Adi Preißler is the record goal scorer in BVB history with 177 goals, while Manfred Burgsmüller notched up 158 goals in 252 appearances and Friedhelm Konietzka scored 155 in less than 200 games in the early 1960s.

Stéphane Chapuisat and Karl-Heinz Riedle spearheaded Dortmund’s attack in the club’s victorious 1997 UEFA Champions League final against Juventus; they scored 123 and 36 goals for ‘die Schwarzgelbe’ respectively.

On the contrary, there have also been centre forwards who haven’t enjoyed such riches at Signal Iduna Park: Adrian Ramos and Ciro Immobile are names that come to mind from recent years.

Meanwhile Edin Terzic currently has the likes of Sébastien Haller, Youssoufa Moukoko and Karim Adeyemi at his disposal. Their stories with ‘die Borussen’ are yet to be written.

But who have been the best strikers for Borussia Dortmund in the modern era?

Honourable Mentions:

Marcio Amoroso enjoyed one of the best debut seasons a striker could imagine in the 2001-2002 season, after his arrival from Parma for a German record €25m.

The Brazilian bagged a brace on his debut against Nürnberg. Those two goals were the first of 18 he managed in the Bundesliga that season. 

Meanwhile he netted a hat-trick against AC Milan in the UEFA Cup semi-final, before scoring in the final in a defeat to Feyenoord.

His impressive numbers in his first term as a Dortmund player weren’t sustained due to injury in his remaining two years in black and yellow, hence he doesn’t quite make the ranking.

Swiss legend Alexander Frei arrived in North Rhine-Westphalia from Rennes in 2006 and spent three years with BVB.

Two seasons with over 20 direct goal contributions came either side of a year plagued by injury, in which he still managed 10 in 13 games.

Upon his return, the striker grabbed two goals and three assists in two Revierderby matches against Schalke, while he also captained the team on several occasions too.

5. Lucas Barrios (2009-2012)

Appearances: 102

Goals: 49

Assists: 17


Bundesliga x2 (2011, 2012)

DFB-Pokal x1 (2012)

Argentina-born Paraguay international Lucas Barrios was given his route to Europe by Borussia Dortmund in 2009.

The now 38-year-old endured a slow start to life at Signal Iduna Park, but soon made his name, scoring nine goals in 10 matches from October to December. 

That debut campaign saw Barrios end the year with 29 direct goal involvements in 36 matches.

31 was his tally in the following season, as he netted 16 times to help ‘die Schwarzgelben’ to a Bundesliga title, becoming a key player in that triumph.

In the 2011-12 season, a year which saw the club win a historic double under Jürgen Klopp, Barrios was ousted from his position up top by a certain Polish striker, who would make it hard for anyone to overthrow him.

Still, Lucas Barrios was a brilliant servant to the club and was just the number nine they needed in a time of transition. He warrants a place on this list.

4. Jan Koller (2001-2006)

Appearances: 184

Goals: 79

Assists: 32


Bundesliga x1 (2002)

A player who just about qualifies as a striker from the ‘modern era’, Jan Koller was a goal machine in the early 2000s for ‘die Borussen’.

Similarly to Amoroso and Barrios, the Czech forward enjoyed a fruitful debut season, scoring 11 goals and claiming eight assists, helping the club to its first Bundesliga title since 1996.

Alongside Amoroso, Koller was Dortmund’s other goalscorer in the UEFA Cup final defeat to Feyenoord in 2002.

After that first year, the striker really kicked on and thrived; in the 2002-2003 season he scored eight goals in the UEFA Champions League and a further 13 in the league.

That was followed up by 15 and 16-goal seasons (Bundesliga only), in both of which Koller notched up five assists.

Excluding his final season with the Black and Yellows, where he was hindered by injury, the Czech Republic international managed 55 goals across four Bundesliga campaigns: excellent numbers which certainly earn him a place in the top four.

Let’s not forget that he played almost half an hour as a goalkeeper in November 2002 against Bayern Munich in ‘der Klassiker’ and kept a clean sheet after Jens Lehmann was sent off.

3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2013-2018)

Appearances: 213

Goals: 141

Assists: 36


DFB-Pokal x1 (2017)

DFL-Supercup x2 (2013, 2014)

Having the top scorer and longest serving player of this list in third place seems rather harsh on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but that is more telling of the quality of the top two rather than a slight on a man who was incredible for BVB.

Born in France, the Gabon international arrived from Saint-Étienne in 2013 and gave four and a half years of top service at Signal Iduna Park.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund vs Hertha Berlin
(Photo: Borussia Dortmund)

Despite having to compete with the aforementioned notorious Polish number nine, Aubameyang still managed 13 goals in his maiden campaign in the Bundesliga.

But after Robert Lewandowski departed, the now 33-year-old truly made that striker spot his own.

In the 2014-2015 season he managed 25 goals across all competitions, before netting 39 the following term.

‘Die Schwarzgelben’ reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2017, a year which also saw the club win the DFB-Pokal; Aubameyang’s seven goals in Europe went nicely with his tally of 31 in the league.

That tally won the current Chelsea man the golden boot. He was the first Dortmund player in three years to do so.

He showed no signs of stopping, either. Aubameyang scored 21 goals in the first half of the 2017-2018 season, form which earned him a move to the Premier League with Arsenal.

Borussia Dortmund’s eighth top goalscorer of all-time will consider himself quite unfortunate to come third here.

2. Erling Haaland (2020-2022)

Appearances: 89

Goals: 86

Assists: 23


DFB-Pokal x1 (2021)

Just ahead of Aubameyang is arguably the most prolific striker in world football at the moment: Erling Haaland.

Son of Premier League stalwart Alf-Inge Haaland, the Norwegian made his name as a 19-year-old, tearing up the Champions League with RB Salzburg.

His form in Austria saw him become one of football’s hottest properties and brightest talents, attracting interest from a whole host of European giants.

Known for developing young talents, Haaland chose to join Borussia Dortmund in January 2020 and he would only get better.

The current Manchester City man became the first player in Bundesliga history to score five goals in his first two matches, while his brace in the 2021 DFB-Pokal final helped Edin Terzic’s side past RB Leipzig to win the trophy.

Forming great relationships with English duo Jadon Sancho and Jude Bellingham, the now 22-year-old managed 27 goals in 28 league games that season, and 10 in eight Champions League appearances.

29 goals was his tally last season (along with eight assists), which proved to be his last in black and yellow. 

He left the club with 86 goals and 23 assists in 89 appearances, a quite frankly ridiculous record; over in England he has continued in the same vein and is already closing in on a Premier League goal-scoring record.

1. Robert Lewandowski (2010-2014)

Appearances: 187

Goals: 103

Assists: 42


Bundesliga x2 (2011, 2012)

DFB-Pokal x1 (2012)

DFL-Supercup x1 (2013)

A man vying for that ‘best striker in the world’ title with Haaland, Robert Lewandowski has the years on Haaland and has done it everywhere he’s been, while performing at an incomprehensibly high standard.

Both Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have the Eyjafallajökul volcano in Iceland to thank, in part.

As a relatively unknown 22-year-old striker, the Polish record goalscorer and cap holder was supposedly set to join Blackburn Rovers from Lech Poznan in 2010, but the transfer fell through due to volcanic ash preventing flights to the UK.

Instead Dortmund swooped in and brought Lewandowski to North Rhine-Westphalia for less than €5m.

In his debut year the current Barcelona man primarily shared responsibilities in the club’s frontline with Lucas Barrios, but made that position his own in the 2011-2012 season, signalling the start of his rise to elite stardom.

The now 34-year-old scored seven goals in six Pokal matches, while scoring 22 goals and setting up 10 in the Bundesliga, as Klopp’s BVB won a historic double.

He then scored 24 and set up seven in the league, but scored 10 in the Champions League, as the Black and Yellows embarked on a historic run to the final.

Among those 10 were an unforgettable four against Real Madrid in the semi-final, as ‘Lewa’ tore the record holders to shreds.

28 goals and 13 assists followed in the next campaign as the Warsaw-born striker partnered Aubameyang up top, before he made a controversial switch to Bayern Munich.

That decision didn’t turn out badly though for Lewandowski, who set new goalscoring standards in German football.

He’d go on to win a Champions League, a further eight Bundesliga titles and two golden boots, one of which won by an astounding 41 goal tally, form which propelled him to the status of favourite for the Ballon d’Or, a testament to his quality.

It truly is astonishing, how Borussia Dortmund have had so many world class strikers. Few other clubs could boast such a selection. I get the feeling that there will be more to come as well.

(Featured Image: Flickr)