Though hardly a stellar name in European football, Swiss international Albert Bunjakuhas made a real impact in the Bundesliga this term. The Kosovo-born attacker currently finds himself in the midst of a tense relegation battle with club side Nuremberg, making his own prolific form all the more commendable.
The striker has contributed exactly half of Der Club's league goals so far this season with 11 strikes in 20 matches, an incredible return considering Bunjaku had only ever played in the second and third tiers of German football prior to the current campaign.
"I can't explain it, it's like a dream. All I can say is that I try to give my all every day in training. Fitness and health are the key, every player needs those two things," he told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview.
Despite his share of crucial goals, the 26-year-old is yet to provide an assist this season, although it quickly becomes clear as the interview progresses that Bunjaku is not the selfish type.
"It doesn't matter who scores the goals, but it is about time I set one up. To be honest there have been a few times where I probably should have passed to a team-mate rather than going for goal myself," admitted the striker.
Bunjaku is a player with his feet firmly on the ground, something that reflects Nuremberg's position in the Bundesliga table. The Bavarian outfit still have some way to go if they are to secure their survival this season, and the pressure is on the 1.79m hitman's shoulders to score the goals that take them to safety.
"I'm not the sort of person to get too worried about things," said Bunjaku on his club's precarious situation. "You have to be able to switch off sometimes to be able to focus properly. My family help me a lot with that, as do the people in and around the club."
Dieter Hecking's charges currently lie a single point above the relegation trapdoor thanks to their surprising 3-2 victory last weekend over previously unbeaten Bayer Leverkusen.
"We've kept it very tight at the back recently," he said. "Our only really poor performance since Christmas was the 2-1 defeat at Borussia Monchengladbach. If we can start to bang in a few more goals, then I'm sure we'll pick up the necessary points for survival."
Bunjaku's excellent displays at club level have not gone unnoticed by Switzerland national coach Ottmar Hitzfeld either, as evidenced by his first international call-up last November.
"To be honest I had been warned by our coach at the time, Michael Oenning, that the call was coming. Nevertheless I was still trembling when I actually picked up the phone and Mr Hitzfeld was at the other end."
Just a few days later and Bunjaku was making his first appearance in the red of Switzerland in a 1-0 friendly defeat against Norway. "It was a great feeling, but also a huge motivation to keep working hard at club level to make sure I get that feeling again."
If Bunjaku can continue with his goalscoring feats beyond the current campaign there can be no doubt that he will be appearing on the international stage again in the future. Indeed, with 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ just a few months away, the Nuremberg star has as good a chance as any of making the final squad.
That said, with the likes of Twente striker Blaise Nkufo, FC Basel duo Alexander Frei and Marco Streller, and Leverkusen hitman Eren Derdiyok all vying for place in the Swiss attack, Hitzfeld appears spoilt for choice.
"You can't complain if you have an array of good strikers. They're all good players and it keeps everyone on their toes. It gives you an extra incentive to bring the best out of yourself," said the Swiss goal-getter. "I'm just concentrating on playing well for Nuremberg. We have a big job on our hands if we want to stay in the division. That's what matters most at the moment, we'll have to wait and see what happens after that."
"Any player who gets to go to the World Cup wants to stay there as long as possible and that's going to be exactly the same for Honduras and Chile. They qualified just as we did and will be aiming to get past the group stage too. We're hoping to take one of the top two places in the section and make it into the second round, but it's going to take something special to stop Spain from topping our pool," added the striker, who now has three months to convince Hitzfeld he is indeed worthy of a place on the plane to South Africa.