Before the start of all the football action in August, we listed down some of the best young talents who you should watch-out for across Europe’s top 5 leagues, in our Top 10 Series. The list lacked the obvious choices who you’d [literally] be watching anyway, but rather went ahead and listed the comparative ‘unknowns’ who at the time were 21 years and under. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing mid-season reports on each of those talents, tracking their progress and comparing it at the end of the season where we publish final performance reports.
In addition to this, we will continue to publish our detailed Scout Reports on talents from across the World and not restricted to those in these lists, while you can track all the updates, reports and performances of the best talents in World football in our Talent Radar feature.
The following list contains mid-season reports on the top Young La Liga Talents that we listed at the start of the season. Please note the players are listed in descending order with the best performer at #1, while the list we published in summer was in the order of our prediction.
Top 10 Young Bundesliga Players to watch out for (published in the summer)
10. Marco Rojas ( ↓ 6 )
Age: 22 | Club: Stuttgart | Nationality: New Zealander | Position: Winger | Bundesliga Appearances: 0
When Rojas initially moved to Germany from the A-League, he generated a lot of excitement and interest. The Kiwi forward had set the A-League on fire, and people were keen to see if he could replicate his performances in the Bundesliga. These expectations have not been met to say the least.
Rojas’ time at Stuttgart has been hampered heavily by injury. Initially, he came to the club and suffered a metatarsal fracture which kept him on the sidelines until October. He suffered another injury in October and just hasn’t made in into the clubs line up since his recovery in November. Even internationally, he has suffered, as his New Zealand team were knocked out brutally by Mexico in the World Cup qualifiers. He himself couldn’t make much of an impact during these two games as well, starting only the second leg.
Rojas will have to work hard in training on his fitness and his game play to impress his manager and get an opportunity to impress for Stuttgart.
9. Amin Younes ( ↑ 10 )
Age: 20 | Club: Monchengladbach | Nationality: German | Position: Midfielder | Bundesliga Appearances: 7
The footballer of Lebanese descent who currently plays for Monchengladbach was expected to do well this season, and is a player who is very highly regarded across the Bundesliga. This season though, Favre hasn’t really given him the chances that we thought he might get. His injuries have also played a part in hampering his chances of breaking into the first team.
The player has made only 7 appearances till date, all of which have been off the bench. Due to the lack of playing time, Younes hasn’t been able to make an impact, notching up only 1 assist this season. This came in the match at Hoffenheim, where his side lost 2-1. Younes made a good impact as he came off the bench to provide the assist in the 75th minute. He will surely want to improve on his sum total of 106 minutes in the Bundesliga.
Perhaps Lucien Favre needs to be a little more flexible with the 20 year old, and try him out in the middle as well, rather than restrict him to the left.
8. Leon Goretzka ( ↓ 3 )
Age: 18 | Club: Schalke | Nationality: German | Position: Midfielder | Bundesliga Appearances: 8
Of his 8 Bundesliga appearances, only 1 has been a start. He has been interrupted due to illnesses like tonsillitis and flu. Apart from this, he has also been used in several different positions across the park, appearing in the middle, and in wide areas as well. For example, he played as an attacking midfielder against HSV in the first game of the season, but was employed as a defensive midfielder a couple of weeks later in his first start against Hannover. In the last game before the winter break, against Nurenberg, he played in a wide left role. This is good for the youngster, as it will help him to get accustomed to the demands of different positions.
It seems as if Goretzka is still being groomed for the first team by Jens Keller. This is perfectly understandable as the German is still very young at 18, and it is probably best to integrate this fantastic talent into the fold slowly and steadily.
7. Andre Hoffman ( ↔ 7 )
Age: 20 | Club: Hannover | Nationality: German | Position: Midfielder | Bundesliga Appearances: 11
The 20 year old former Duisburg player initially had quite an impact on the Hannover side, and helped them into mid table in his debut season. This season, he hasn’t seen all the action he would like to. This has partly been down to injuries he’s suffered (knee troubles).
The youngster has made 6 starts and 5 substitute appearances this season, playing in a variety of different positions. Ex-coach Slomka used him in defence, midfield and as a defensive midfielder too on occasions. The midfielder makes over 1 interception a game, which is a decent average. He has a dark side to his game as well, which is that he tends to concede free kicks (1.5 per match) and this can get him into trouble, though he hasn’t faced suspension so far this season. His passing has also been satisfactory, at a rate of 85%.
Hoffman will be hoping that he can get more playing time and more opportunities under the new coach. He too will want to make more of a contribution to the side defensively in the chances he does get to cement a spot in the side.
6. Moritz Leitner ( ↓ 2 )
Age: 21 | Club: Stuttgart (on loan from Dortmund) | Nationality: German | Position: Attacking Mid. | Bundesliga Appearances: 11
Stuttgart find themselves in a disappointing 10th place in the Bundesliga during Christmas. Of course, they have a game in hand against Bayern Munich, but that doesn’t really look very promising. None of their players have really been outstanding, and Moritz Leitner is very much part of that group.
Leitner cannot complain about a lack of chances. He’s made 11 appearances, starting 9 times. He was interrupted when he missed a month due to an injury, but even then, he hasn’t really managed to impress. As an attacking midfielder, he seems to do the right things. His pass completion is 80%, and he makes around 2.5 dribbles a game. Both of these stats are very good, but he makes very few key passes per game, which shows a lack of incision. This is damning for an attacking midfielder, and he will want to improve on the solitary assist he’s managed so far.
Leitner will need to work hard and try to get more for his team going forward, and provide service to the likes of Ibisevic and help Stuttgart climb the table.
5. Mathias Ginter ( ↑ 8 )
Age: 19 | Club: Freiburg | Nationality: German | Position: Defender | Bundesliga Appearances: 17
Ginter is a player that is very well rated by followers of the Bundesliga. After putting in some solid performances at the U21 Euros, Ginter has risen and done well for his club side, Freiburg. The player is quite versatile, and is capable of doing a job at both centre back, and as a defensive midfielder.
Ginter has made 25 appearances for Freiburg this season, all starts. he hasn’t scored in the League, but has contributed 3 goals, with 2 coming in the cup, and 1 in European competition. The player’s consistency has been impressive, and has contributed from centre back and defensive midfielder. He has completed 1.8 tackles, and 2 interceptions a game so far this season, and astonishingly made only 4 fouls so far this campaign.
Ginter will be looking to keep the flag flying high in the second half of the season with more consistent performances for his side. Chances of earning a call up to the senior side look slim at the moment as Germany are well stocked in defence and midfield, so he will have to continue performing for the U21’s for now.
4. Granit Xhaka ( ↔ 4 )
Age: 21 | Club: Monchengladbach | Nationality: Swiss | Position: Midfielder | Bundesliga Appearances: 16
The young Swiss maestro has had a terrific first half of the season, leading Gladbach to a very impressive third place during the winter break, above last seasons Champions League finalists, Dortmund. He has been rated very highly by a lot of people for a long time now, and showed just why.
The midfielder, who has been likened to German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger due to his style of play has played mainly in a central midfield role. He’s started in every single one of his 16 appearances, missing only 1 game due to a yellow card suspension. In his appearances, he has only chalked up 1 assist, and scored no goals, but these numbers don’t really do justice to his immense contribution to the team. Defensively, the man averages around 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 2 clearances a game. His passing too has been phenomenal. A completion rate of 88% overall is quite fantastic in itself, but the fact that he completes around 78 passes a game, and plays around 10 accurate long balls on average really tells you about how good Xhaka has been at the heart of the Gladbach midfield.
He has been linked with teams like Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton in the recent past, but if he can keep up this level of performance, these teams will be falling all over themselves to get his signature on the dotted line.
3. Bernd Leno ( ↑ 5 )
Age: 21 | Club: Leverkusen | Nationality: German | Position: Goalkeeper | Bundesliga Appearances: 17
The young keeper has had stiff competition for his spot at Leverkusen from Andres Palop, but has managed to retain his place in the squad due some good performances. The keeper is still young, and just one among a whole host talented young German keepers.
Leno has performed well for the high flying Leverkusen this season, and his solid keeping has been the bedrock for their defensive success. His ability to co-ordinate with his defence, and keep goals out is important to Hyppia and the counter attacking game plan that Leverkusen utilise. He has a claim success of 100%, and this just goes to show how accomplished the keeper is in commanding his area and communicating with his defenders. He’s also made around 2.88 saves for every goal conceded, a fairly healthy average. A personal high for Leno was the match against Bayern Munich, which ended 1-1. Leno made a series of astounding saves (8) as he and the Bayern forwards conspired to somehow ensure that both teams ended up sharing the points.
Leno will look to keep up this form, and try to make it to the World Cup squad as a back up to the undisputed No.1, Neuer. At club level, he will be hoping to put on some better performances in the Champions League knock out rounds, and try to help his club to win the race for second place in the Bundesliga.
2. Kevin Volland ( ↓ 1 )
Age: 21 | Club: Hoffenheim | Nationality: German | Position: Striker | Bundesliga Appearances: 16
Volland had moved to Hoffenheim at the start of the season, and we expected him to make his mark on the Bundesliga with some strong performances there. Volland has done just that, impressing one and all with some excellent play.
The 21 year old has 7 goals and 4 assists in his 16 appearances, missing just one game due to a muscular problem. What’s impressive about the youngster is his consistency. His 7 league goals have all come against different opponents, and the same applies for his assists. A player who scores 1 goal each for 3 games is obviously more valuable than one who scores a hat-trick in one and is quiet for the other two. Volland falls under the former category. Most of his goals have also been crucial to his team, with only 1 making the score 3-0, the rest being in close match situations. His overall play has been quite good, making around 2.8 dribbles per game, and being successful with 65% of his dribbles.
Volland has put in some positive performances for Hoffenheim, and these have seen him linked even with the likes of Chelsea at times. While a transfer may take place at some point in the future, for now, Volland will do well to stay focused and churn out the performances.
1. Pierre-Michel Lasogga ( ↑ 9 )
Age: 21 | Club: Hamburg (on loan from Hertha Berlin) | Nationality: German | Position: Striker | Bundesliga Appearances: 13
At the start of the season, when we compiled a list of Top 10 Bundesliga talents, Lasogga was listed as a Hertha BSC player, but he has since moved to Hamburg. Initially, the player was injured, and missed the first month of the season due to injury. He has been fantastic after his return though.
He made 2 subsitute appearances to start off with, as he was being eased into the team, but has started every game after that. All in all, he has 13 appearances to his name, scoring 9 goals in the period. He has an excellent goal rate of 1 every 110 minutes. The big striker has been very consistent across the first half of the season. He averages around 3.7 shots a game, and is the main man when it comes to the HSV strike force. A particular highlight was the hat-trick he scored in the domineering 0-5 win at Nurnberg. The brace against Leverkusen also showed his strengths, but unfortunately for him, his side lost the game 5-3. In the cups too, he’s got 1 goal in just 2 appearances. Most of his goals have been right footers. Playing as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation has meant that he has a whole lot of responsibility on his shoulders, and the youngster has carried his team well.
Lasogga needs to keep his scoring record up and keep working hard over the second half of the season. If he does so, he might be in contention to go to the World Cup as well, especially when you consider Low’s refusal to trust Stefan Kiessling.
To discuss this and many other football topics, join thousands of fans at R/Football
Young Bundesliga Talents
Stay tuned for the remaining Mid-Season Reports in this series as we assess progress of talents across Europes other leagues. Don’t miss our Final Performance Report at the end of the season. We will continue to publish detailed Scout Reports on these and other young talents, and ofcourse continue to track the progress of World talents in our brand new #TalentRadar feature.