Ranked! The 10 best attacks in Europe right now
These forward lines have made a habit of keeping defenders awake at night…
Scoring goals is the whole point of the beautiful game. It's what gets fans out of their seats and points on the board.
It's also the hardest thing to do. Therefore, the very best teams in the world are invariably the ones that are best at sticking the ball in the onion bag. Here, FFT celebrates the greatest attacks on the planet right now.
The reigning European champions might be lagging behind Manchester City and Liverpool for goals as well as points in the Premier League this season, but they nevertheless possess a deadly array of attacking weapons.
Chelsea (opens in new tab)are experts at spreading the load when it comes to finding the net; Kai Havertz has led the way this season with 13 goals, but Mason Mount and Romelu Lukaku are right behind him with 12, and Timo Werner has 11.
When you throw the likes of Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi into the mix, as well as the wide threat posed by wing-backs Marcos Alonso and Reece James, you start to understand what makes Chelsea such a difficult team to defend against. Who do you focus on stopping first?
Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann may be long gone, but Xavi has transformed Barcelona’s (opens in new tab) season since taking over in November, helped by successfully bolstering a faltering forward line in January.
The arrivals of Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Manchester City and Arsenal (opens in new tab) respectively have made a difference, with the pair already bagging a combined 18 goals.
Beyond them, fellow winter arrival Adama Traore, a revitalised Ousmane Dembele and, when fit, exciting talent Ansu Fati make for a dangerous depth of options.
8. Atletico Madrid
Diego Simeone’s side aren’t exactly renowned for a gung-ho game plan, but that doesn’t mean Atletico Madrid (opens in new tab) are lacking the forward flair to match their defensive diligence.
The eternal goal-getter Luis Suarez leads their scoring charts this season with 13 goals, with Angel Correa right behind him on 12 and star-in-the-making Joao Felix providing 10.
Antoine Griezmann may not have had his most productive season, but the World Cup-winning Frenchman remains a world-class talent, while young Brazilian Matheus Cunha and Belgium international Yannick Carrasco give Simeone even more options up top.
7. RB Leipzig
Christopher Nkunku has lit up the Leipzig attack this season with the most prolific form of his career, with the former PSG (opens in new tab)man sitting on 30 goals in all competitions at the time of writing.
The 24-year-old’s efforts have been complemented by three team-mates who have also hit double figures: Andre Silva, Emil Forsberg and Dominik Szoboszlai.
The towering presence of Yussuf Poulsen adds another dimension to the Bundesliga outfit’s attack, with the Denmark international chipping in with seven strikes this season, while Spain’s Dani Olmo provides creativity and a goal threat of his own.
Back in February, Harry Kane picked out Son Heung-min from the halfway line with a lofted through ball, which the South Korean gathered before firing home the final goal of a 4-0 win over Leeds (opens in new tab).
It was a bigger moment that it intially seemed, as it was the 37th time the Spurs (opens in new tab)duo have combined to score a Premier League goal, a league record that surpassed former Chelsea pair Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.
Spurs’ astonishingly prolific partners-in-crime have scored 40 goals between them this season, but the north London club’s threat extends beyond them.
Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and January arrival Dejan Kulusevski have all made important combinations this season, but it's the iconic tandem that really gets Antonio Conte’s side ticking.
5. Real Madrid
With Karim Benzema getting better and better with age and Vinicius Junior fast developing into a world-class winger, defences can’t afford to switch off for a moment against Real Madrid. (opens in new tab)
PSG, Chelsea and Man City have learned that lesson the hard way in the Champions League this season, with Benzeman bagging hat-tricks against the former two and a double against City.
The Frenchman is having the most prolific season of his career, with 41 goals to his name in all competitions so far, and he’s comfortably on course to win his first La Liga golden boot.
Benzema is undoubtedly Real’s biggest threat, but 21-year-old Vinicius has netted 18 goals this season, Marco Asensio is also in double figures with 11, and Rodrygo showed what he can do recently with a volleyed finish from a wonderful Luka Modric pass that sent the quarter-final against Chelsea into extra-time.
That’s before we even start to consider what could have been with Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard...
Let’s be honest here. PSG should really be higher up this list, after assembling the frankly absurd front three of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar last summer.
However, Messi has taken time to adapt to only the second club of his career since leaving Barcelona, Neymar has had his injury problems, and as such it took until 2 April for all three players to score in the same match, a 5-1 Ligue 1 win over Lorient.
Nevertheless, it’s possibly the most talented front three of all time and Mbappe’s form has been unaffected by the problems of his team-mates, with the French sensation scoring 33 so far this season in all competitions.
Plus, if injuries strike or Mauricio Pochettino just fancies a change, the boss could also pick Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Mauro Icardi. An embarrassment of riches.
3. Manchester City
City’s (opens in new tab)rate of return this season is an impressive 2.4 goals per game in the Premier League, but it’s the diversity of their threat that makes Pep Guardiola’s side such a formidable prospect.
Six players have reached double figures this season - Riyad Mahrez (23 goals), Kevin de Bruyne (15), Raheem Sterling (14), Bernardo Silva (13), Phil Foden (13) and Gabriel Jesus (12) - and Ilkay Gundogan is two goals away from joining that list.
How do you defend against a team where the goals come from everywhere and there's often no recognised striker to focus on?
It’s a question plenty of sides have wrestled with this season and few have answered, as City have failed to score in just four of their 33 league matches so far - and once since 30 October.
If Jack Grealish starts to be as productive as his team-mates, they will grow stronger still. Then if you throw in Erling Haaland…
2. Bayern Munich
The newly-crowned German champions have scored more league goals than any other team in Europe’s top-five leagues this season, by a distance.
Julian Nagelsmann’s side, who wrapped up a tenth Bundesliga crown in a row last weekend, have found the net 92 times in 31 games so far - a rate of three per match.
Those efforts have, of course, been spearheaded by the irrepressible goal machine that is Robert Lewandowski.
The staggeringly prolific Pole has had yet another outstanding season in Bavaria, scoring 48 goals in 43 games in all competitions.
The 33-year-old has now notched more than 40 goals in all competitions for seven consecutive seasons - surely a Ballon d’Or will be his at some point.
But Bayern’s (opens in new tab)strength in attack goes beyond the best number nine in the world, as Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Thomas Muller have all hit double figures this term, while Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala and Eric Choupo-Moting aren’t too far behind them.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Liverpool’s (opens in new tab)current attack is one of the best ever.
The all-conquering trident of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane fired the Reds to the summit of European and English football in recent years with Premier League and Champions League victories.
But that forward line for the ages has since been strengthened by the arrivals of Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and Luis Diaz, while super-sub Divock Origi’s eye for a crucial goal remains strong.
This season Salah has led the way again, scoring 30 goals in all competitions and topping the Premier League scoring charts with 22 to his name so far.
Jota has bagged 21, Mane 19 and Firmino 11 for the Premier League’s highest-scoring side, and the blend of pace, trickery and composure that Jurgen Klopp’s band of attackers possess has played a massive part in their bid to finish the season with a remarkable quadruple.
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.