“We couldn’t stop Modeste” – Those were the words ushered by Hertha BSC’s coach Pál Dárdai after Anthony Modeste’s hat-trick downed the capital club, moving 1. FC Köln into the European spot for next season.
It’s a dilemma that most Bundesliga clubs are finding this season too. His second hat-trick of the 2016/17 campaign takes Modeste’s tally to 22 goals in 25 games, making him one of the deadliest strikers in Europe this season.
The Frenchman scored two goals in a minute on Saturday afternoon – a half-volley from 18-yards with his weaker foot the pick of the bunch. They may not produce the most entertaining football, but with Modeste in the side, Köln are one of the toughest sides in the Bundesliga.
When Modeste has scored his season, the Billy Goats have lost just once (W9, D4, L1), in comparison to when the Frenchman has failed to find the target, W0, D6, L5. Those stats alone show his importance to the club as they look to qualify for Europe next season.
Since his move from Hoffenheim to Köln in summer 2015, Modeste has gone on to score 42 goals in 64 games under Peter Stöger, whilst he’s the first forward to score more than 20 goals in a season for the Billy Goats since Toni Polster in 1996/97.
With such a record at the RheinEnergie Stadion, Modeste attracted the attention from Chinese Super League clubs. Sporting director Jörg Schmadtke confirmed that he was subject to a €40 million offer of which they turned down with a European finish a real possibility.
“Our stance is clear. We won’t jeopardise our sporting goals because of a transfer, even though it’s about a lot of money. We’ve already said that to the [Chinese] club and all advisers in this matter,” Schmadtke told Kicker.
Yet to be called up to the France national team..
Despite being second to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the scoring charts, Modeste still failed to make the France national team, with Didier Deschamps naming Kevin Gameiro and Kylian Mbappé named ahead of the goal-getter – although he hasn’t let the snub get to him.
“That doesn’t matter. I am happy and have showed today how good I am, that’s what matters,” says Modeste.
It’s hard to imagine that the once Blackburn Rovers striker is now just behind Edinson Cavani, Lionel Messi and Aubameyang in Europe’s top scorers – whilst his form at Bastia earned him a move to Germany.
The 2012/13 season with the Ligue 1 club saw Modeste score 15 goals in 36 games, signing a three-year deal with Hoffenheim for €3 million. After just two years under Markus Gisdol, he made the switch to Köln where he’s since found a platform to showcase his abilities.
Modeste isn’t your typical striker either. He may look immobile – a typical targetman so to speak, but he certainly puts himself about on the pitch. The 22-goal striker can pluck the ball out of the air whilst his strength allows him the ability to hold the ball up for midfield runners such as Milos Jojic and Yuya Osako.
He can score all types of goals too. Eight of his goals have come with his head in the past two seasons, whilst he has scored four goals this season with his ‘weaker’ left foot – although the majority are with his right.
With Köln’s win over Hertha BSC moving them up to sixth (three points behind Hertha), it’s vital that Modeste stays injury free, whilst Stöger will be hoping his goals fire Köln to a place in next season’s Europa League.