When Werder Bremen scored their second and decisive goal against VfL Wolfsburg on matchday 7 it was a first-ever Bundesliga goal for 20-year-old striker Johannes Eggestein. First over to congratulate him was one of the Grün-Weißen’s key players- his brother Maxi.
The younger Eggestein brother will cherish his first professional goal, but his elder sibling has already led the way and provided a superb example. Despite his relatively tender 21 years, he is always one of the first names on Florian Kohfeldt’s team-sheet and has recently had a number of pundits pushing his name forward for a national team call-up.
A great start to the new season from Werder has confirmed the pre-season predictions that they may be ready to push for a European place and a key factor in that positive start has been the form of Maxi Eggestein in their engine room. Two fantastic goals from long-range against Nürnberg and Augsburg grabbed the attention, but his all-round assured displays have also been worthy of note.
The midfield dynamo leads the entire league so far for intensive runs with 606 and is ranked third overall in the Bundesliga for distance covered with 85.2km (Werder team mate Davy Klaasen leads the way with 86.6km). He has an impressive 80 duels won putting him 12th overall in the league.
Eggestein has played in every minute of every game so far scoring twice and laying on one assist. Despite his combative nature he hasn’t been booked yet and his pass completion rate of 75% is more than decent.
Former Bayern Munich and Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann is certainly a fan and was one of those vocally promoting a potential call-up to Joachim Löw’s Nationalmannschaft for the forthcoming internationals with both France and the Netherlands.
“He has the potential to become a top player” Hamann enthused to the Bild Zeitung. “In my opinion Jogi Löw has to invite him up to the national side. If you want to make a clean start, then Maxi has to be there. He brings everything that a classy player needs- technique, a goal threat and a willingness to run.
“Added to that he gives the impression of being grounded. You mustn’t forget that last season he dealt with the pressure of a relegation fight and for such a young player that’s sensational.”
Eggestein himself has reacted in relaxed manner saying, “Of course it is an honour if you can run out for your country. But it’s not the case now that I think about it every day. If it happens, it happens. In the end I have to maintain my club form and then we will see what happens.”
The 21-year-old made his Werder debut back in November 2014 as an 18-year-old making him the club’s second youngest starter of all-time. In the autumn of 2016 however then-trainer Alexander Nouri returned him to the U-23 side, but he didn’t let that get him down and fought his way back into first-team contention and it’s almost unthinkable now to imagine him as anything other than the first name on the Bremen teamsheet.
Bundestrainer Joachim Löw didn’t call him up for the latest internationals, and he had to settle for a call-up to the U-21 squad (alongside his younger brother), but surely his time will come. With Sami Khedira’s international career seemingly over a space is open. There is of course stiff competition with the likes of Sebastian Rudy, Emre Can, Ilkay Gundogan and even Joshua Kimmich all options, but if Maxi Eggestein continues on his current career projection, he’ll certainly be in the running before too long.
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