Cologne striker Anthony Modeste is better than Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, according to the club's sporting director Jorg Schmadtke.
Modeste hit a hat-trick in Saturday's 4-2 win over Hertha Berlin to move second in the Bundesliga goalscoring charts with 22, above Bayern Munich star Lewandowski and one behind Borussia Dortmund's Aubameyang.
The 28-year-old, who has scored five times in his last two appearances, has helped to fire his side into surprise contention for the European places just three years after they were promoted back to the top flight.
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Given their inability to dominate matches in the same way as champions Bayern or Dortmund, Schmadtke believes Modeste has proven to be the league's most decisive finisher.
"Modeste is even better than Lewandowski and Aubameyang, because we only play with an average of 30 per cent possession of the ball," he said, as quoted by Bild.
Team-mate Timo Horn questioned why Hoffenheim decided to sell the forward in 2015, such has been his ruthlessness in front of goal.
"It wasn't right to sell him," the goalkeeper said. "He's incredibly valuable for us and, in my opinion, his performance level is higher even than Lewandowski's.
"Lewandowski has six or seven chances served on a silver platter every match. But Tony has to make things happen himself."