With the new German season almost upon us here’s a look at five young stars who could make the headlines this campaign…
After a bonanza for football lovers following the regular league season with the Euros, it’s time to look forward to yet another campaign of scintillating European club football. While transfers and new managerial appointments are the talk of the town, the tournament in France was a platform for some of the brightest young talent to showcase their wares for their national teams whilst hoping to earn a move to a top club.
Germany, while crashing out of the Euros in the semi-final phase despite dominating the game, is easily the hotbed for young talent on the continent. The nation, which was known for a mechanical and functional style of play, is now the benchmark for national teams around the world on how a sustained commitment towards youth pays off in the long run. Clubs in Germany have made it second nature to put young players in the business end and give them ample playing time aiding their development in a huge way. ‘
We, at Khel Now, take a look at some of the top young talent to watch out for in the Bundesliga this year.
Matthias Ginter – (Age 22) – Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund are just one of the numerous clubs in Germany that have bred young talent and sold them off for a profit to other clubs in Europe. The likes of Mario Gotze, Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski have all benefited immensely from their time at Signal Iduna Park. While teams are weakened when some of their best players leave, Dortmund have continued this trend by identifying prodigious talent at prices that make up a top player’s yearly salary in lucrative leagues like the Premier League and La Liga. Jurgen Klopp, then the manager of BVB, brought Ginter from Freiburg and here his development under Klopp and now Thomas Tuchel has seen the 22- year-old going on to represent the national team in both the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup. The defender’s versatility is key as he can play both at full- back and centre-half. Having made 37 appearances for the Borussians, he will be a vital member for the Yellow brigade and the German team in the future.
Jonathan Tah – (Age 20)- Bayer Leverkusen
Jonathan Tah is seen as the next big thing in German football. For once this tag is not associated with a winger, playmaker or a striker. The 20-year-old cuts an imposing figure in the backline and has been instrumental in the high-pressing philosophy followed by Roger Schmidt’s Bayer Leverkusen. While ball-playing centre-halves are the new trend, Tah combines this with his ability to crunch into a tackle if needed. His teammates refer to him as “The Bear” expressing their difficulty in playing against him. He replaced Antonio Rudiger in Die Mannschaft’s Euro 2016 squad, but did not make an appearance in the Finals. However, with the accolades being showered on him, it will be only a matter of time before Tah displaces either one of the current German centre-half pairing of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.
Julian Weigl – (Age 20) – Borussia Dortmund
Another talent that the Borussians have snapped up on the cheap is Julian Weigl. This is a signing that Thomas Tuchel can claim full credit for. The 20-year-old made 30 appearances for the Yellows in the 2015-16 season. What caught the eye of managers, scouts and fans around Europe was the calmness he has on the ball. Already likened to Spanish midfield maestro Xavi, Weigl has shown the ability to draw opposition midfielders towards him opening up space for the creative players to weave their magic. Such was his influence in the team that Tuchel’s men hardly missed midfield ace Ilkay Gundogan . With Bastian Schweinsteiger retiring from the national team, you can be sure that Weigl will be one of the top contenders to take over from the legendary German World Cup winning captain.
Julian Brandt – (Age 20) – Bayer Leverkusen
If Jonathan Tah was the young gun who held Leverkusen’s defence together, it is Brandt who has captivated the Bundesliga with his directness and pace. The 20-year-old who was part of the preliminary German squad for the Euros, has made 65 appearances for Bayer in the 2015-16 season scoring 15 times. He also holds the distinction of scoring in six consecutive Bundesliga matches, becoming the youngest player since the legendary Bayern Munich and Germany striker Gerd Muller to do so. If he continues in this same vein of form, who knows he might just shatter more records for club and country.
Mahmoud Dahoud – (Age 20) – Borussia Monchengladbach
Another name that makes the list is that of the 20-year-old Syrian-born German midfielder Mahmoud Dahoud. The sacking of Lucian Favre and his replacement in the form of Andre Schubert, saw Dahoud establish himself firmly in the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfield. Such was his impact that the fans voted him the Player of the Month in September 2015. His partnership with now Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was a delight as the duo were a solid unit in the middle of the park. 33 appearances, five goals and nine assists speaks volumes for a player who will set the league alight with his skills this season and a move to a European heavyweight is no doubt on the cards in the future too.
Editorial by Khel Now-Feature Columnist Srinivasan Mohan , Srinivasan Mohan is an ardent football fan from the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Engineering and an MBA in Marketing. He has been following football since 2000 and is an ardent Bayern Munich and Chelsea supporter. He has had stints with Goal.com and 90Minutes magazine. Srini as he is commonly know, is someone who loves writing on the Bundesliga and is also fascinated by Serie A. Apart from writing, he spends his time drumming, reading, and working out. You can follow him on Twitter.