PARIS (AP) -- After a failed move to the German league, Turkey forward Mevlut Erding feels right at home again in France.
He scored a hat trick for Metz in a 3-0 win at Nantes on Sunday, taking his tally to five goals in four league games and putting him one goal behind top scorer Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon.
Erding joined promoted Metz this season following an unhappy spell with Hannover in the Bundesliga last season, where he failed to score and was loaned back to French club Guingamp after only 11 matches.
Erding's first goal came in the 18th minute when he reacted sharply to curl the ball in from the edge of the penalty area. For his second he showed technical poise to volley the ball in from the right, just on the strike of halftime. He completed his hat trick in the 78th, coolly sending goalkeeper Remy Riou the wrong way from the penalty spot after Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr had been fouled.
The win moved Metz provisionally up to second place with nine points.
"I'm keeping the match ball because I don't get many hat tricks," Erding said. "We've made a very good start to the season .... But we must stay humble."
The goals took Erding's career league tally to 91 in the French first division, where the 29-year-old journeyman has played for Sochaux, Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes and Saint-Etienne. He has eight goals in 34 appearances for Turkey, and is hoping to win his place back in the national side. Performances like this one should help.
In contrast, 21-year-old Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski was taken off midway through the second half on a frustrating debut for Nantes, having joined from Polish club Ruch Chorzow.
Nantes fans jeered the players off the field at the end.
Later Sunday, it's: Rennes vs. Caen and Nice vs. Marseille, with controversial striker Mario Balotelli hoping to make his debut since joining Nice from Liverpool.