Over the last two years the Bundesliga solidified its reputation as one of Europe’s biggest, if not THE biggest, producers of young talent. Bundesliga players have become a hot commodity in the market and clubs are producing young talent at an assembly line rate with new promising players popping up left and right. Here we take a look at some of the most promising young players coming up in the league under the age of 22.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Current club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
The best young Goalkeeper in the Bundesliga by far, which is some commendation considering the likes of Kevin Trapp, Oliver Baumann and Bernd Leno are all established No. 1s at their clubs. The ‘Gladbach stopper has already been capped twice for the German national side and has attracted interest from Premier league clubs including Liverpool and Arsenal and was even linked with a move at Barcelona.
A commanding presence in the box, his style has been likened to German legend Oliver Kahn. Seen as the main rival for Manuel Neuer in the German goal in the long term, ter Stegen has all the tools necessary to provide competition for who wears the gloves for the foreseeable future. Big things are expected from the young goalkeeper, who ‘Gladbach will do well to keep hold of.
Current Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Seen as the long term successor for German captain Phillip Lahm in the national team, Sebastian Jung has really risen to prominence this season, helping Frankfurt to 4th place so far in the Bundesliga and is one of two Frankfurt players featured on this list. An attacking fullback who likes to join the attack, Jung has been linked with moves to Roma and Inter from Serie A but decided to stay with Frankfurt after a move to Roma collapsed in the summer.
Recent talk has been for Jung to be included in the German first team at right back, pushing Lahm back to the left and having two really attacking fullback marauding forward, which shows how highly Jung is rated by his peers. Sebastian is certainly one to keep a close eye on. Jung was called up for Germany’s friendly against the Netherlands in November and at this rate he will likely continue being in Joachim Löw’s plans in the future.
Current Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Position: Defensive Midfield/Centre Midfield
Eintracht Frankfurt have a trio of midfielders in Alex Meier, Takashi Inui and Stefan Aigner who are allowed the creative freedom of the pitch and have plundered 23 goals between them so far this season. How is that possible? Well, they know Sebastian Rode is behind them to break up play and do the simple things to let them run amok.
At first, it might seem that Rode is just there to prevent the opposition from scoring, which is in his arsenal of tools for sure, but he is so much more than that. Following his strong performances this season he drew attention and praise from Bayern Munich sports director Matias Sammer saying that Bayern would love to sign Rode, but there is also real interest from Borussia Dortmund as well. A call up to the National side is not far away, and neither is a blockbuster of a move in the offing for Rode.
Current Club: Schalke 04
Position: Central/Attacking Midfield
With Lewis Holtby leaving Schalke, the stage is set for Julian Draxler to finally be seen as the future of Schalke. Capped 3 times already at only 19 years of age, Draxler is a midfielder who has it all. A great passer with supreme vision and an eye for goal, the young midfielder oozes class. So far Draxler has primarily played out wide for his team but he has shown that he can be just as good in the middle of the park.
Draxler will be looked upon to drag die Königsblauen up the table and he has already shown he has the expectations of him under control. Julian certainly has his best years ahead of him and the Schalke fans will be hoping he is a mainstay of the team for some time to come. Leading up to the EUROs, Löw said that Draxler is mature beyond his years and you can see exactly what he meant watching him play.
Current Club: Mainz (joining Bayern in the summer)
Position: Centre back
The towering defender stands at a massive 6’5″ and has been described as one of the best young defenders in the Bundesliga for some time now. There had been some speculation as to enquiries about the centre back from both Bayern and Dortmund but the former acted quickly to sign him on a free transfer starting summer 2013.
Kirchhoff will be fighting with Boateng, Dante, Badstuber and Van Buyten for a place but with Van Buyten likely leaving and Badstuber showing injuries, he could very well get some games under his best and impress under the new boss Pep Guardiola in the hopes of a starting spot. If not, expect him to be loaned out for a season to further develop his talents.
Current Club: Hannover 96
Position: Centre back/Defensive Midfield
The former Duisburg defender joined Hannover in the January transfer window for an undisclosed fee. There had been lot of potential suitors for Hoffmann but at Hannover he has joined a club that needs some young blood in defense and where he should be playing regular first team football. Hannover have done very well to bring in one of the best young defenders in for very little, and it is still yet to be seen whether he will play in the back four or just in front but Hoffmann has the skills to do both jobs perfectly well.
Current Club: Freiburg
Position: Defensive midfield/Centre back
Ginter has only just turned 19 yet has racked up an impressive amount of appearances in his first full season for Freiburg. Initially seen as a defender, the youngster has found most of his time employed as the midfield anchor in a true act of faith by Freiburg boss Christian Streich. It’s in indication of Ginter’s willingness to do anything for the team to improve it, and goes to show just how level headed the youngster is.
Ginter has also been capped at under 18 level for Germany and is rumoured to have been looked at for higher age brackets, again showing how highly thought he is. It won’t be long before other clubs take not and become interested in Ginter, and Freiburg fans will hope they can hold on to him for some time yet.
Current Cub: Borussia Mönchengladbach
The great ‘Gladbach team of last year had a brilliant core of players that they have struggled to keep hold of. Roman Neustädter left for Schalke, Dante joined Bayern Munich and Marco Reus returned ‘home’ to Dortmund. Herrmann, along with ter Stegen have stayed put and welcomed new arrivals like Granit Xhaka and Luuk de Jong into the team but that increased pressure on the 21-year-old to help his team in their transition.
Herrmann has a lot to his game, and Germany boss Joachim Loew is a fan, stating that “Herrmann is not quite ready but will be a future part of senior squads” which coming from him, is a massive show of faith. ‘Gladbach have not performed as well as they would have liked this season, but Herrmann has not let that effect him and has been one of the bright sparks in an otherwise underwhelming season.
Current Club: 1899 Hoffenheim
Position: Offensive All-rounder
Kevin Volland had an outstanding season last year on loan at 2. Bundesliga side 1860 Munich, scoring 15 goals and impressed the hierarchy so much that they didn’t send him out on loan again. Instead promoted him to the first team and haven’t looked back since. A classy finisher with head or foot and incredibly versatile on the field, Volland is seen as the young answer to the next Klose for the national team over time.
Although Hoffenheim are struggling at the moment, Volland is on the top of the league assists charts and if the service picks up for him the goals are sure to fly in as well. Suffice to say, Volland is a name that we will hear a lot of in the coming years.
Current Club: Hamburg
The only non-German on the list, Son has been an absolute revelation for Hamburg in a season that has been hit and miss. Son even topped the goal charts early in the season but as the team have struggled for form, the goals have not gone in as much for him. The talented South Korean is seen as one of the hottest prospects in Asian football and with Shinji Kagawa leaving for Manchester United, it shows what could lie ahead for the young forward if he keeps working hard and performing well. Son is already being linked with a move to the Premier League with a host of suitors.
Header courtesy of HUEBNER/ROEMER
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