Klaas-Jan Huntelaar odds
Huntelaar to be tough to stop for top Bundesliga honours
Now that Klass-Jan Huntelaar has the justified the potential that had threatened to hang over him during his whole career, big things can be expected in the coming season.
As a 22-year-old scoring prolifically in the Dutch Eredivisie for Heerenveen and then Ajax, the man somewhat predictably labelled “the Hunter” was frequently compared to Dutch greats Dennis Bergkamp and Marco van Basten, and the stats backed up the flattery.
When he scored his 100th Eredivisie goal in April 2008, he became only the third man in the last two decades to pass that mark before the age of 25. Bergkamp and Dirk Kuyt were the other two, while the last Ajax player to register 30 league goals in a season was the previously untouchable Van Basten.
And his national team scoring ratio of 0.62 suggests that it won’t be long before he catches the likes of Van Nistelrooy, Bergkamp and 40-goal top scorer Kluivert in the Oranje scoring charts.
But, now, Huntelaar is no longer the new kid on the block. Despite being given the chance to flourish at the very top – with high-profile moves to Real Madrid and AC Milan – he has failed to sufficiently shine, making less than 50 appearances and scoring only 15 goals for both combined.
That was until he joined Schalke and he helped himself to 29 Bundesliga goals last season and a handful more in the Europa League.
He therefore must be considered as a leading contender to be the top Bundesliga again, while punters should consider him scoring at international level as he battles for a role in attack with Robin Van Persie.
Louis van Gaal once said of Huntelaar: “In the box, he is the best player in the world, bar none.”