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The neck and neck goalscoring battle between Ricardo Pepi and Santi Giménez in the Eredivisie

The spicy rivalry between the USMNT and México is having a remarkable round in the 2022-23 Eredivisie as strikers Ricardo Pepi and Santiago Giménez battle neck and neck among the division's top scorers. After 29 games, both have netted 11 goals and are just three behind Xavi Simmons (PSV) and Anastasios Douvikas (FC Utrecht), who currently lead the race with 14 each.

Although the realities of their teams are extremely different, Pepi and Giménez are not giving space to each other with both finding the net again this weekend.

Pepi scored an impeccable header for Groningen, a team desperately fighting against relegation. Sadly for the American player, the goal was in vain as they ended up losing the game against RKC Waalwijk 2-1.

With five games remaining, Groningen's chances of staying in the Eredivisie are very slim, if we're honest. But despite the bleak landscape, Pepi's performances have called the attention of bigger teams. 

The American belongs to Augsburg and could return to the German side, however, Pepi already stated he's not planning on going back to the Bundesliga and has expressed his desire to stay in the Eredivisie. Teams like PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord have shown interest in signing him.

Curiously, Feyenoord is where Santi Giménez is earning his monthly wages. The Mexican had a slow start but is now a goal-scoring machine. This weekend, in a 3-0 victory over Cambuur, Giménez showed that luck is also on his side by scoring a header after an awful defensive blunder. 

What's different for Giménez compared to Pepi is Feyenoord's position in the table. The team is not fighting for relegation but pursuing their first championship since the 2016-17 season. Feyenoord is on top of the standings, eight points clear with five games remaining.

The Mexican has been crucial during the league campaign and also in the Europa League, where Feyenoord is playing in the quarterfinals. "El Bebote" has five goals in the continental tournament, only one fewer than Victor Boniface (Union St-Gilloise) and Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), the leading scorers. 

Those performances have not gone unnoticed. Teams from Portugal, France, Spain and England are already asking about his price tag, so the idea of Giménez and Pepi sharing a dressing room and competing for a starting spot in Feyenoord next year doesn't seem very plausible. 

Ricardo Pepi vs. Santiago Giménez: Numbers in the Eredivisie

Pepi and Giménez have a few things in common this season, starting with the fact that their national team coaches snubbed them for the 2022 World Cup. Gregg Berhalter said no to Pepi and Gerardo Martino denied Giménez the chance to be in Qatar. 

And then, their numbers:

Ricardo Pepi

  • Games: 24
  • Minutes: 2,072
  • Goals: 11
  • xG: 0.48 per 90 minutes
  • Shots: 40
  • Shots on target: 17
  • Shot conversion rate: 27.50%
  • Assists: 3

Santiago Giménez

  • Games: 27
  • Minutes: 1,483
  • Goals: 11
  • xG: 0.67 per 90 minutes
  • Shots: 48
  • Shots on target: 22
  • Shot conversion rate: 20.83%
  • Assists: 2

Who do you think will prevail in the battle? Do you see either of these players becoming the Eredivisie top scorer at the end of the season?

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