Talent Radar: Who is Köln’s Yann Aurel Bisseck?

Twitter and Google traffic on the word ‘Bisseck’ spiked heavily at about 19:15 European time on Sunday when the team news came through for 1. FC Köln’s Bundesliga match day 13 clash with Hertha Berlin. Listed as part of a back three was a certain Yann Aurel Bisseck.


That must certainly been the question on many people’s lips as they digested Peter Stöger’s injury-hit team sheet before the match at Rhein Energie Stadion. Unless you are familiar with the Geißböcke’s youth set-up or watched any of the German U-17 World Cup matches recently, you could be forgiven your question.

Following the recent U-17 World Cup held in India, it was Hamburg’s Jan Fiete Arp who grabbed the headlines first with his promotion to the HSV first team and then with his impressive performances in the top division of German football. However, 16-year-old Bisseck was another stand-out performer as Germany made it to the quarterfinals.

He sat out the opening two fixtures against Costa Rica and Iran before starting against Guinea. He kept his place for the knockout-stage win over Colombia and even got on the score sheet in a 4-0 win. His final game was the quarterfinal loss to Brazil. Bisseck actually made his debut for the U-17 national team as a 15-year-old back in November last year against Iceland.

The central defender joined Köln back in July 2007, aged just six, from the youth side of SV Adler Dellbrück. The teenager matured early both mentally and physically; standing at 1.94 m, he’s already an imposing athlete.

Stefan Ruthenbeck has nothing but positive things to say about the youngster. “Yann Aurel is a classic late developer and he brings a lot with his composure and physical size,” says his U-19 trainer at Köln. “His calmness on the pitch is remarkable, in view of his 16 years.”

A young player with intelligence, Bisseck is also taking the opportunity to improve himself off the pitch having just begun to study Economics at Cologne University.

With Dominic Maroh injured against Arsenal in the Europa League on Thursday, Frederik Sörensen suspended, and Dominique Heintz and Joao Queiros both injured, Köln boss Peter Stöger was left with just 14 fit players for the home game with Hertha BSC.

Taking his place as part of a back three, Bisseck became the youngest German ever to feature in the Bundesliga at 16 years, 11 months, 18 days (he’s not 17 until Wednesday). Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Jürgen Friedl had previously held the record.

Nuri Şahin remains the youngest-ever Bundesliga debutant among all nationalities at 16 years and 334 days.

Oddly, Bisseck may be Köln’s youngest-ever player, but lining up alongside 39-year-old Claudio Pizarro helped truly illustrate his youth. The Peruvian striker actually scored for Werder Bremen just nine days after Yann Aurel Bisseck was born in 2000.

Although Köln ultimately lost 2-0 to Hertha on Sunday, Bisseck can be more than satisfied with his debut. He had 85 ball contacts and played 76 passes with 73 completed, giving a pass completion of 96%. He won 83% of his challenges and didn’t give away a single foul. He could not be found at fault for either of Berlin’s goals.

His inclusion was due to desperate circumstances rather than choice for Peter Stöger, but his confident and assured display showed that he is ready when called upon to step up the Bundesliga level.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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