Mario Götze, Marco Reus, Julian Draxler, Andre Schürrle, Toni Kroos… The list of immensely talented young attacking midfielders in the Bundesliga is almost endless. Even if one moves out of the top four this season, the likes of Patrick Herrmann, Max Kruse, Nicolai Müller and Kevin Volland have been showing great promise. A lesser known, yet hugely promising, name in the Bundesliga post the winter break has been Amin Younes.
Born in Düsseldorf, Younes moved west to start his career with the youth setup at Borussia Mönchengladbach. At the ripe age of 15, Younes managed a meager eight appearances in his debut season with the club’s U-17 side as they were crowned champions in the B-Junioren Bundesliga West. The following season saw Younes play a slightly bigger role with the U-17 side as he featured in the side on 21 occasions, netting 5 goals as well.
Younes was promoted to the U-19 side in the A-Junioren Bundesliga West that very season, making one appearance in November, returning to the U-17 side and finally becoming a regular in the U-19 side to end the campaign on a high. Younes’ domestic performances were rewarded with a place in the German U-17 squad and repaid the faith with 3 goals in 6 appearances.
The 2010-11 season saw Younes move further up the ranks. The diminutive attacker was a regular starter with the U-19 side and earned a place in both the German U-18 and Borussia Mönchengladbach II in the Regionalliga West. Younes wasn’t going to stop just there as he made his way into the starting XI of the Gladbach II side on 20 occasions. His performances even impressed head coach Lucien Favre enough to give him a short cameo in Gladbach’s home game against Hannover in April 2012.
During the recently concluded season Younes plied his trade in the Regionalliga West for most of the Hinrunde but began to feature in the senior side more often post the winter break. To add to this, the 19-year-old attacker made the headlines with his equalizer against Borussia Dortmund in late February. Younes has also managed to make his way into the German U-20 national side but is yet to make his name on the international scene. A few Europa League appearances have also helped the youngster add to his growing list of credentials.
Style, Strengths & Weaknesses
In a league that is blessed with an abundance of attacking midfield players, a rise to fame was always going to be a difficult task for Younes. With players boasting of a myriad of qualities, the slightest differences in abilities can often help in making players stand out. But in the case of Younes, one sees an exact copy of an unpolished Mario Götze.
Thriving through the middle, something Götze didn’t do too much for a while, Younes has formed a great partnership with Patrick Herrmann. Their interchange and link up play has been the poor man’s version of that of Götze and Reus.
Younes’ primary strength is his dribbling through the middle. On a fair number of occasions this season, Younes has been seen to dance his way past players with great ease. Lacking in experience, Younes has often chosen to take players on rather than make a pass and this has probably cost the youngster a few points in view of his move up the ranks. His passing can call for applause when he is at his best but refinement is a necessity if this youngster is to push for the spots currently held by the likes of Götze, Reus and Draxler.
Younes has managed about 1.5 dribbles per game and almost a key pass every game in the Bundesliga, both fairly respectable numbers for a midfielder with just 11 league appearances. But the main trouble that Younes faces is the size disadvantage. Standing at just 168cms in height and 69kgs in weight, Younes is one of the smallest players in the Bundesliga. This makes him more or less useless aerially and having limited abilities of set pieces makes him fairly average in that respect.
But for someone under the age of twenty, Younes has shown enough to be touted as a promising youngster who has what it takes to become one of the household names in the Bundesliga. His incredible dribbling skills and growing passing ability should ensure that he will move up the ranks with experience. Size might be but a minor problem to someone possessing such talent. Joachim Löw could well be presented with yet another choice in an already congested attacking midfield unit in the years to come.
Younes’ fledgling career hasn’t caught the attention of any big clubs as yet, especially because of his comparatively lesser number of games in the German top flight. With Juan Arango on the wrong side of thirty, Gladbach will be most eager to hang on to the services of Younes for at least one more year. Lucien Favre will probably look to make Younes an understudy to their new acquisition, Max Kruse next season.
With the 4-2-3-1 being used so frequently across the Bundesliga, Younes should be able to thrive at almost any club. The departure of Mario Götze and possibly those of Moritz Leitner and Leonardo Bittencourt, Amin Younes might soon fall under the Yellow and Black radar.
Younes’ current market value is remarkably low considering the amount of time he has spent in the upper divisions of German football. It would be no surprise if clubs were to cash in on this talent in the summer. Although nothing official has been announced yet, the likes of Stuttgart, Freiburg and Werder Bremen could do with the guile of the little German of Lebanese descent.
Even staying at Gladbach would be a fairly good choice for Younes given the club’s showing this season and the signs that they’ve shown in their transfer activities so far. A full time starting position may be hard to come by but the likes of Kruse, Herrmann, Luuk de Jong and most importantly, Favre, at the club, Borussia Park should act as a perfect stepping stone to success.