Top strike partnerships: Goalscoring bromances 2023
strike partnerships, Goalscoring bromances, football

Top strike partnerships: Goalscoring bromances 2023

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’ve taken our annual look at which pairs of footballers form the best strike partnerships on the pitch.

We’ve measured this across a range of leagues by calculating the combined goalscoring rate of every pairing per 90 minutes spent together on the pitch during 2022.

Our rankings only allow each player to be in one pair and we’ve only looked at combinations where both scored at least three times in the other’s presence.

We’ve also ignored any pairing that has spent fewer than 10 matches’ worth of minutes on the pitch together.

Premier League

While Tottenham are in something of a rut at the moment, the strike partnership between Harry Kane and Son Heung-min continues to blossom. No pair of Premier League players scored league goals at a higher combined rate during 2022.

There are three other Premier League pairings who were responsible for more than a goal per game when on the pitch together, all of which also feature at least one English player.

James Maddison and Jamie Vardy have kept firing despite Leicester’s slump, while breakout star Ivan Toney has linked up productively with Vitaly Janelt at Brentford. At Newcastle, Callum Wilson has combined well with late bloomer Miguel Almiron to power the Magpies’ Champions League push.

La Liga

Surprisingly, the deadliest of the strike partnerships in Spain is not provided by one of the traditional giants. Real Madrid stars Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior have been nudged into second place by an unlikely duo.

Getafe are closer to a relegation battle than a title race but the extent of their dependence on Enes Unal and Borja Mayoral for goals makes this the biggest goalscoring bromance in La Liga.

Barcelona’s high recent squad turnover means that their most productive partnership only ranks eighth and one of those players – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – has since left the club. His marquee replacement Robert Lewandowski has been combining well with winger Ousmane Dembele, however, and this combination could well start climbing the charts in 2023.

Serie A

There are only two goalscoring partnerships in the Italian top flight with a strike rate better than a goal per game between them.

Leading the way by a narrow margin is Inter duo Lautaro Martínez and Edin Dzeko, who have combined impressively up front for Simone Inzaghi’s side despite an 11-year age gap.

Just behind them are Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile, who combined for seven more goals in 2022 but over significantly more minutes on the pitch.

In third place, reigning champions Milan have a productive attacking duo with an even wider age gap than their city rivals’ more prolific partnership. Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao were born almost 13 years apart but combined for just under a goal every 90 minutes in 2022.

Bundesliga

There is one goalscoring combination which comfortably outstripped all others in Germany last year; that of Andre Silva and Christopher Nkunku at Leipzig. These two generated just over one and a half goals every 90 minutes in the Bundesliga: 50% more than any other regular partnership.

Bayern have usually provided the top pairing on this list in previous years but they are still adjusting to the departure of the free-scoring Robert Lewandowski. However, breakout star Jamal Musiala is helping them to adapt: his efforts alongside Serge Gnabry were enough to secure third place in our rankings.

Ligue 1

The deadliest goalscoring bromance across the top five European leagues is unsurprisingly at PSG, where Kylian Mbappe and Neymar combined for an eye-watering 1.72 goals per 90 minutes last year. They racked up 43 league strikes between them while the other was present: 23 for the young Frenchman and 20 for his Brazilian team-mate.

The best of the rest was Monaco’s reliable strike partnership of Kevin Volland and Wissam Ben Yedder, followed by Lyon’s Moussa Dembele and Houssem Auoar. Both pairings netted more than a goal per 90 minutes when on the pitch together.

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