Choupo-Moting stars again
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting stood out in more ways than one in FC Bayern's 5-2 win away to FC Augsburg in the DFB Cup second round. Jamal Musiala and Serge Gnabry also impressed with a goal and assist respectively, but it was Bayern's 1.91-metre striker who took the plaudits. To paraphrase the title of a popular US sitcom, Everybody Loves Choupo.
Two goals, one assist
Choupo-Moting scored two goals and produced an assist against Augsburg, but the Cameroonian is more than just a taker and maker of chances. "The way he plays - his hold-up play and physicality - are a real boon for us," enthused coach Julian Nagelsmann afterwards.
Choupo-Moting's ears were already burning after the 5-0 win over SC Freiburg on Bundesliga Matchday 10. He hit a brace as Bayern unseated Die Breisgauer in second place, prompting praise of the highest order from Gnabry. "He's the best target man in the world," commented the Bayern No.7.
Choupo-Moting lived up to the billing in Augsburg, showcasing his ability with his back to goal and technique with the ball at his feet, as well as the bread and butter business of putting the ball in the back of the net.
'He's playing with freedom'
With his two goals and the assist for stand-in captain Joshua Kimmich, the 33-year-old - in the words of Leon Goretzka - "played superbly. He's playing with freedom."
The statistics add weight to the theory. In four DFB Cup appearances for Bayern, Choupo-Moting - the Man of the Match against Augsburg - has scored eight times.
What's more, no player since the start of the 2020/21 season has had a direct hand in more goals than the Hamburg native (12: eight of his own, plus four assists).
Choupo-Moting is hardly spoilt for choice when it comes to personal highlights for the week, not least after hoodwinking Augsburg goalkeeper Tomás Koubek with an audacious near-post strike from the tightest of angles to get Bayern back on level terms in the cup.
Yet it's the day-to-day work that pleases Bayern's crafty veteran the most. "Every day, I give it my all in training, and have fun with the lads. We're a great bunch. I'm just happy to help the team by playing and scoring."
Next up, Bayern face a testing trip to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Twenty-four hours later, they will learn their opponents in the DFB Cup round of 16, to be played late January - early February 2023.
For the all-singing, all-dancing Choupo-Moting - who missed the start of the season through injury - it marks the next step on the road to Berlin. "Our goal is to reach the final and win the cup," he asserted.
No one in the Bayern camp would disagree with the club's man of the moment. After all, Everybody loves Choupo.
🏆 Reaction to the win in Augsburg: