It is fair to say at the start of the season Joel Pohjanpalo was just a name to make up the team sheet but in the opening two games, the Leverkusen centre-forward has set the Bundesliga alight.
Fans of German football might be familiar with Pohjanpalo after the opening two games, but any casual fans, or those who simply don’t have to time to keep up to date with the Bundesliga, may not be fully aware of the attacker.
To help fans get to know the future Bundesliga star a bit better, we’ve put together a fact file full of everything you need to know about him.
He took all the headlines on Matchday 2 scoring a hat-trick in just 18 minutes after coming on as a substitute for Die Werkself when they were trailing 0-1 to Hamburger SV.
The partnership with Javier Hernandez is one to look out for with Kevin Volland out injured. It is a possibility that the Finland born attacker could feature in Leverkusen’s opening Champions League fixture against CSKA Moscow.
With the Finnish international taking the Bundesliga by storm, we thought it’d be right to look into who he is and what’s led to him being the joint-Bundesliga top scorer.
Joel Pohjanpalo was born in Helsinki, Finland on 13 September 1994.
He started his footballing career at five-time Naisten Liiga winners PK-35 Vantaa.
He was a product of his hometown club HJK Helsinki’s youth system and appeared for the youth team in 2011, aged 16.
Pohjanpalo enjoyed spells at HJK Helsinki between 2006 to 2010 before making the switch to Klubi-04. During his first season in the 3rd Division, he scored a record-breaking 33 goals in 21 appearances.
Pohjanpalo was offered a three-year contract at Liverpool after a three-day trial at Merseyside but rejected the offer because of the lack of guaranteed playing time.
He broke onto the scene for HJK Helsinki in 2012 when he scored a hat-trick in 162 seconds (three minutes) against IFK Mariehamn.
He was then loaned to Bayer Leverkusen in 2013 before spending time on loan to VFR Aalen and then Fortuna Dusseldorf in 2014.
Pohjanpalo enjoyed a year long loan spell at VfR Aalen, he made 22 appearances, nine starts, scoring five goals.
While on loan at Leverkusen, he was loaned to Fortuna Dusseldorf where he made 56 appearances in two years scoring 13 goals, three of those a hat-trick against SV Darmstadt 98 which earned him the 2.Bundesliga Player of the Month award for October.
Signing Permanently at Leverkusen
Despite extending his stay at Helsinki until 2018, he signed permanently in March 2016 after successful loan spells in 2.Bundesliga.
Pohjanpalo has been capped at U17, U19, and U21 level for Finland.
The 21-year-old made his international debut in a 3-0 win over Cyprus, aged just 17 in 2012.
He scored his first goal in 2014 in a 2-1 Friendly win over Hungary.
Since making his debut in 2012, he has made 20 appearances for his country, 10 European Qualifiers, nine friendlies and just one World Cup Qualifier.
This Season's Stats
He has made two substitute appearances for Roger Schmidt’s side, in 30 minutes of playing time, he has scored four goals.
He averages two shots per games and Who Scored have given him a 7.95 rating.
(Stats via WhoScored.com)
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