Player Profile – Daniel Didavi’s Breakout Season

After only 30 Bundesliga appearances, midfielder Daniel Didavi is making quite a name for himself.  The 22 year-0ld has had a breakout season with Nürnberg, and is another fine example of the mass of talented young players working their way up the league.

Didavi was born in the Baden-Württemberg town of Nürtingen and began playing as a youth for the local side SpV 05 Nürtingen.  Spotted by VfB Stuttgart, he joined the club in the summer of 2003 and earned promotion to the senior team in the summer of 2009.

The 5′ 10″ midfielder made his first Bundesliga appearance in 2010, and featured in eight senior league matches after playing 60 games for Stuttgart’s reserves.  Didavi was loaned to Nürnberg last July and has made 22 senior team appearance this season, missing time only due to injury.  He co-leads Der Club goalscorers, as he and Tomas Pekhart have each tallied nine goals.  What’s remarkable about Didavi is that he’s scored those goals in just over 1400 minutes of league play for a team that’s only totaled 37 goals after 33 games.  He netted 8 goals in his last 9 matches for the club.  The youngster has also completed over 73% of his passes, created 82 chances and taken 51 shots while adding two assists.  Didavi also has also made 380 tackles and had 862 touches without drawing a card, pretty amazing for his active nature on the field.

The presence of the midfielder in the starting lineup has coincided with Nürnberg’s rise five places up the table from their 15th spot at the end of the Hinrunde, as he’s earned more playing time as the season’s progressed.  Reminiscent of Timmy Chandler’s Rückrunde debut last season, Didavi’s energy and skill have propelled Der Club to a hair of the final Europa League spot.  The Nürtingen native won a spot on the Fanatic’s MatchDay 33 Team of the Week.

Of course, the issue will be whether or not Nürnberg can retain Didavi’s services.  While Stuttgart will need a deeper squad due to the additional matches in the Europa League next season, Didavi himself has stated his preference to remain in Nürnberg, although he is under contract with Stuttgart through 2013.  “I am not the kind of person who says ‘goodbye, thank you’,” said the midfielder recently.  “I have a lot to thank the club for, particularly (coach) Dieter Hecking and (general manager) Martin Bader.  They have always stood by me and given me strength.”  At this stage in his career Didavi is emphasizing consistent playing time, something he knows he won’t get at Stuttgart.

The tug of war between the two clubs should be interesting this season, as undoubtedly Hecking would love to retain the midfielder who has made such a positive impact with his club.  Didavi’s market value is estimated at between 1.3 and 1.5 million euros.

Stuttgart Sporting Director Fredi Bobic has indicated that the club wants Didavi back and will be quite happy upon his return this summer.  In a similar situation last fall, however, Stuttgart gave the impression that they emphatically wanted loanee Bernd Leno back from Leverkusen, but then worked out a deal for the outstanding young goalkeeper to remain permanently with Die Werkself. Only time will tell what Didavi’s future holds but at this rate the league can add another burgeoning star to its plethora of talent.

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Gerry Wittmann

Gerry is the founder of the Bundesliga Fanatic. Besides loving German football, he also enjoys the NBA, collecting jerseys and LPs, his pets and wishes he had more time for fishing, bicycling and learning the bass guitar.

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