This article is brought to you by InStat Football, the official data provider of the Bundesliga Fanatic.
With the conclusion of the Champions League semi-finals, we’ve begun to reach the point of the season when everything gets resolved from whom will lift the Deutsche Meisterschale, to whom will play in European competitions, and whom is facing promotion or relegation. However, you could add that it’s also the time of the year when Bayern Munich starts eye-balling the best Borussia Dortmund players. Or when the biggest European clubs in general begin considering which young Bundesliga stars they want to pilfer.
During this pilfering process, clubs and coaches have a lot more than pure footballing ability to consider when deciding buy or release. For example, Arjen Robben isn’t topping the InStat Index list in Bundesliga just because he possesses great off the ball movement, exceptional one-on-one ability, and a great curling shot from outside the box. All these skills help, but at top level, players need the right approach to training, consistency to play at top of their ability, determination to continue even when the things are not working, etc. And at the age of 33, Arjen Robben has all of that, and even the ability to still decide the most important matches with his left foot.
Every year we wonder who is the next Arjen Robben, who has the ability to take over? Who has the potential to shine with best clubs, who is currently underrated and overlooked but has the ability to make next step? To answer the question, we have looked at performances of all 534 players who had played at least a minute of Bundesliga football this season. This is selected list of five, more or less known young players who might have ability to play for top teams in coming years — you may want to hunt for your Bundesliga tickets now to catch these upcoming stars in coming seasons.
Age: 21 years
Team: Borussia M’gladbach (loan from Chelsea)
In searching for gems, top European teams bring hundreds of high potential players each year. Often they get a loan or two never breaking into the first team. Andreas Christensen came from Brondby to Chelsea when he was only 16 years old back in 2012. After three years Christensen went on loan to Borussia M’Gladbach in 2015 and so far played an extremely important role for his team and has arguably been their best defender for the last two seasons. Despite only 21 years of age, the center back tops Bundesliga list of players with the highest percentage of successful actions per match with 90%. He rarely puts a foot wrong. Some of his best performances were in extremely important matches such as those against Fiorentina and Schalke 04 in Europa League, which speaks volumes about the character of the young defender. It is no surprise that Chelsea are very keen on recalling him to London.
Demirbay started his youth football at Schalke and eventually moved to Borussia Dortmund and HSV. Despite a series of injuries, he made his Bundesliga debut at the age of 20. However, to get more first team experience he went to the 2.Bundesliga playing for Kaiserslautern and Fortuna Düsseldorf on loan before moving to Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim’s great season is partially down to the effort from the central midfielder who is, according to the InStat index (312), the best player in the league if we exclude Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich players. This fact already promises Demirbay a good future. The fact that he decided to leave three big teams in order to battle for first team football says a lot about character, while his football ability certainly isn’t in doubt. It’s no surprise that TSG renewed his contract until 2021 this February.
Team: Schalke 04
Johannes Geis came to Schalke from Mainz two years ago at age of 21. Despite the heavy burden of justifying a 12 million Euro transfer fee, this season he has shown he is among top prospects in the league. With an InStat index of 289 he is still short of the league’s absolutely top players, but match against Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park had shown what the young midfielder might achieve. He was a rock in defense, and a creative spark from deep, dominating the match. Additionally, this season he is among the best players in the league with 78% of successful actions on average per match.
Team: Werder Bremen
Serge Gnabry is another of those young players who had moved to England burdened with the expectations of being the next Wunderkind. At the age of 16, he left VfB Stuttgart for Arsenal, where he began his long journey for first team football. Despite his young age, Gnabry forced his way from the youth team to Arsenal’s top squad, becoming the second youngest ever Arsenal player at age of 17 and 98 days. However, a bad knee injury meant he missed the 2014-15 season, which threw him back, and he was sent on loan to West Brom next year. Not wanting to sit on the bench, Gnabry moved to Werder Bremen this season and has shown great promise so far on the back of a stellar showing in the Rio Olympic games. In February, he was among top players in Europe after he scored an InStat index 426 in a match against Wolfsburg. Finally, with 0.6 goals per match on average, he is among the best players in the league deserving his run with die Mannschaft.
Wide midfielder Vincenzo Grifo had shown the steadiest growth throughout his career compared to all other players on this list. Before he was able to prove himself in Hoffenheim, he spent time on loan at Dynamo Dresden and Eintracht Frankfurt where he scored seven goals and made 10 assists in 2014/15 season. This earned him a move to Freiburg where he bossed the 2.Bundesliga, helping the team to win the title with 14 goals and 15 assists. This year, he had shown that he can compete with the best players and averages 284 on the InStat index. One of the best games this season he played against Bayern Munich where he achieved an InStat Index of 321. This season he played 29 matches for Freiburg scoring six times and adding an assist on nine occasions. It’s no surprise that a host of teams including Hertha Berlin and Gladbach are in hot pursuit of the Freiburg player.
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