If it’s one thing the Bundesliga 2 is not short of, it’s young talent.
The Bundesliga Fanatic takes a look at eight of the best young players plying their trade in Bundesliga 2 at the moment – all with hopes of making the step up to the promised land of the Bundesliga next season.
Vincenzo Grifo – SC Freiburg (Midfielder)
The 22-year-old from Pforzheim has had an impressive 6 months since making the move to SC Freiburg from 1899 Hoffenheim. 8 goals and 5 assists in 16 appearances for the attacking midfielder have made the 1,5 million euros the Breisgau-Brasilianers paid for his services look like a bargain. Always at the heart of Freiburg’s attacking play he has lit up the Schwarzwald Stadion with his vision and his deadly accurate free kicks. Failure for the team from Baden-Württemberg to gain promotion back to the Bundesliga at the first time of asking could result in them losing the former Italian U20 international next summer. However, if this does happen they should at least make a tidy profit on their most recent investment.
Lukas Klostermann – Rasenballsport Leipzig (Defender)
19-year-old Klostermann is a 6ft 3inch (190.5 cm) defender and has been an almost ever-present this season for Die Roten Bullen. Comfortable playing anywhere across the back line he currently occupies the Right Back position for Ralf Rangnick’s league leaders. Calm in possession with the ability to see danger before it happens, don’t be too surprised to see him move inside and make the Centre Back position his own later in his career.
The big defender moved on a free transfer to the East German outfit in August 2014 signing a 4-year deal after failing to agree a contract extension with VfL Bochum. Klostermann has been capped by Germany at U17, U19 and most recently at U21 levels, and will surely have an eye on making the squad for Die Nationalmannschaft for the World Cup in Russia 2018.
Kevin Möhwald – 1. FC Nürnberg (Midfielder)
The versatile midfielder who signed on a free transfer for FC Nürnburg this summer from Bundesliga 3 outfit FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt had already played more than 90 first team games before he had reached his 21st birthday.
Having made the step up to Bundesliga 2 with the side from Bavaria, Möhwald has looked anything but out of place.
A number of impressive displays as well as having a league leading 8 assists has made him one of Nürnberg’s most influential players. Möwald can expect to play an even more important role and have more responsibilities fall on his young shoulders in Der Club’s fight for promotion, especially given the club’s recent decision to sell Alessandro Schöpf to Schalke 04 for a fee in the region of 5 million euros.
Davie Selke – Rasenballsport Leipzig (Forward)
The talented young striker caused a lot of controversy by leaving Werder Bremen at the end of the 2014/15 season to drop down to the Bundesliga 2 to play for the team owned and financially backed by the energy drink company Red Bull. The 20-year-old signed a 5 year contract with Leipzig and was immediately labelled as greedy since the young striker was already seeing plenty of game time with Werder. Athletic, strong, with an eye for a goal and great at winning the ball in the air, Selke has already been capped at every level for Germany from U16 to U21, with an impressive goal to games ratio of 44 goals in 62 appearances for the youth international teams. In 2014, he won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship with Germany, he was the top scorer in the tournament with 6 goals and was also voted player of the tournament. The team’s joint top scorer with 7 Goals and 1 assist in 18 appearances this season have been good return for the young striker. Expect to see him next season back in the Bundesliga with/or without RB Leipzig.
Jeremy Dudziak – FC St. Pauli (Defender/Midfielder)
Jeremy Duziak joined FC St. Pauli from Borussia Dortmund back in September on a three-year deal; however, BVB do have the option to repurchase the talented 20-year old. Able to play full back and midfield, Duziak has drawn comparisons to Bayern Munich star David Alaba, comparisons he’s been quick to play down when interviewed by the club’s website “I just want to develop here and help the team as much as I can with good some performances.”
The player who was also part of Germany’s 2014 U19 European Championship winning side is also eligible to play for Ghana and Tunisia at senior international level, however he has already expressed his desire to play for the senior German team. The player who has featured 12 times for the Hamburg based club dislocated his shoulder in training at the beginning of December but should be fit for The Buccaneers trip to Greuther Fürth on Feb 7th.
Marius Müller – FC Kaiserslautern (Goalkeeper)
The 22-year-old former German U20 international has been an ever-present for Kaiserslautern this season and has given a sting of impressive performances to go along with 6 clean sheets. Müller has been with the Red Devils since signing as a 9-year-old in 2003. He made his first team debut at the end of the 2013/14 season in a 4-2 away loss to Fortuna Düsseldorf. Müller commands his area with maturity well beyond his young age and with current contract expiring in 2017 the club have already offered him an improved deal. Not wanting to lose one of their most promising talents on a free transfer and currently not looking like challenging for promotion any time soon it’s hard to see the imposing shot-stopper at the club beyond this summer if no new deal is reached.
Kevin Akpoguma – Fortuna Düsseldorf (Defender)
German U20 Captain Akpoguma is currently in the first year of a 2-year loan deal to Fortuna from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. A tall, strong and imposing center-back, Akpoguma has been favourably compared with his idol, Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng. Apart from both being talented footballers both have won Fritz Walter-Medals for their impact in German youth football and both of their fathers emigrated to Germany from Africa (Boatang is from Ghana and Akpoguma is from Nigeria).
Already capped at all youth team levels from U16 to U20, Akpoguma has made 11 appearances this season and has looked impressive for a Düsseldorf team who have for the most part underperformed and currently sit just above the relegation zone. Don’t be surprised to see Hoffenheim call him back at the end of this season from his loan spell if he keeps performing at his current level.
Richard Neudecker – 1860 Munich (Midfielder)
Last but not least on this list is 19-year-old 1860 Munich starlet Richard Neudecker. Before making his first team debut in the 2nd round of this seasons DFB Pokal against Mainz 05, the midfielder had made 25 appearances for 1860’s 2nd team, scoring on 9 occasions. The young midfielder could actually be playing in the Bundesliga before the end of this transfer window if recent reports are to be believed. Hamburg SV have in the last few weeks been linked with a move for Neudecker.
The versatility he brings is something that will appeal to HSV, as Neudecker has also featured at left back for the Lions this season. With his contract due to expire at the end of this season the talented youngster could be available now for a small six figure sum, a deal which would seem to make sense for both clubs.
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