#TalentRadar Top 10 Young Bundesliga Players |Part of our Talent Radar feature involves looking ahead to the new season and informing readers of just who they should watch. Our lists across Europe’s Top 6 leagues of the Best Young Players (under 21) serves this purpose.
Before we jump into it, there are some important FAQs that will clarify readers on this feature.
What is Talent Radar? And who is ‘eligible’ under it? You can read this for details on what is Talent Radar and what we have planned in it for the 2014-15 season. Players that are eligible under this feature are those that were 21 years old and below on June 1st 2014. We’ve used this date to refer to ‘start of the season’ as it’s ideally when the previous season comes to an end.
On what basis has this list been made? This list is a combination of our opinion and prediction on who we think will be the best young players in the league in the 2014/15 season. So we have combined what we have seen, and what we expect to see, taking into account various factors such as ability, potential, playing time, impact on the side etc.
In what order is this list? Is it a countdown? No, this is NOT on a ranking basis. These are just 10 of the best young Bundesliga players listed in alphabetical order.
What if a player transfers from the club? Or gets injured? If a player does transfer to another league after the list is published and before the transfer window closes, he will be removed and replaced by another. If he gets a long-term injury during the course of the season, then no update will take place.
How many players from one club are featured? We have tried to maintain maximum diversity in terms of clubs, so each club has a maximum of 2-3 representatives, no more.
How many leagues are being covered and how many parts does each league have? We will be covering the Top 6 European League (Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 & Eredivisie). Articles will be divided into two parts for each league, making information easier to take in.
Here we go then, our predicted Top 10 Young Bundesliga Players of the 2014/15 season!
Hakan Calhanoglu | Bayer Leverkusen
Who is he? To simply put, Calhanoglu was both the only shining light from an embarrassing Hamburg side that deserved to get relegated, but didn’t; and one of the best young players in the Bundesliga last season.
Why him? This Bayer Leverkusen side has built itself a good set of young individuals, with the likes of Heung Min Son signed last season, Josip Drmic & Tin Jedvaj this season and the promotion of Julain Brandt (plus plenty of other youngsters). Hakan Calhanoglu is another one that comes in to the side, and arguably has the more important role ahead of the other young players. He’s been trusted with the #10 jersey, and will be trusted with precisely that position in Roger Schmidt’s side.
100 Best Young Players to Watch-out for in 2014: Calhanoglu #16 (midfielders)
What can we expect? Calhanoglu finished last season with 11 goals and 4 assists, with a side struggling in a relegation battle. His new club, Leverkusen, have European football and European ambitions this season; with far better players around him, you can expect him to thrive.
Johannes Geis | Mainz
Who is he? Part of a hugely impressive Mainz side, Johannes Geis missed just one Bundesliga game last season as he grew into a quality midfielder under Thomas Tuschel’s guidance.
Why him? Geis caught my attention in the second half of the season as his ability was certainly evident, seemingly evolving into a mature midfielder. His best position is deep in midfield working as a proper creative head, his long balls into attack being noticeable. He does tend to drift wide, aiding the attack with exquisite crosses. Capable of working alone in midfield or with a partner, this makes Geis arguably one of the brightest young deep central midfield players in the game.
What can we expect? It’s interesting how Mainz now progress under new boss Kasper Hjulmand. Their European campaign ended at the first hurdle, but there’s hope for the league still. Geis will certainly be a stand-out, but his overall game hopefully isn’t effected by what is largely a weak Mainz side.
Juan Bernat | Bayern Munich
Who is he? There were plenty of quality young left-backs who made a name for themselves last season, from David Alaba, to Luke Shaw to Ricardo Rodriguez, Alberto Moreno, Sead Kolasinac and man more. But one that largely went under the radar (who I personally believe has more potential than all of the mentioned ones) is Juan Bernat.
Why him? Though competition for the left-back spot is tight, Juan Bernat has the position to himself ahead of David Alaba at the start of the season. It’s his chance to recapture his form from Valencia to the Bundesliga champions, and secure a starting berth. Under the guidance of fellow Spaniard, Pep Guardiola, Bernat has the perfect scenario to develop his overall game, which at the moment fits into Bayern’s attacking set-up perfectly.
What can we expect? Bernat is the embodiment of the modern day left-back; admittedly he is stronger on his attacking front rather than defence, though it would be unfair to call him ‘weak’ in the latter role. Runs down the flanks, into channels, and lots of assists, Bernat will be a lively & energetic young player.
Leon Goretzka | Schalke
Who is he? The Fritz-Walter medal is given to the best youngsters in Germany across the U-17, U-18 & U-19 age groups with gold, silver & bronze under each category. Leon Goretzka was the 2012 recipient of this medal, with the likes of Manuel Neuer, Lars Bender, Kevin Prince Boateng, Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze and plenty more featuring in one or more of those categories before.
Why him? The teenager made waves in Germany’s second division, before attracting attention of clubs across Europe and settling on Schalke. He was in an out of the side last term before securing a starting berth, something he hopes to continue this campaign. There’s nothing spectacular about his football, more of an intelligent & professional youngster capable of playing in both advanced and deep areas. Coach Jens Keller has trusted him in both these roles but the central position is his best fit given his positional sense, passing ability and occasional insistence on joining up with the attack.
What can we expect? Goretzka has a lot of competition to deal with, but the signings of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Sidney Sam reduce his chances in attack, this would mean a central midfield role alongside Kevin Prince-Boateng, the perfect position for him to thrive.
Leonardo Bittencourt | Hannover
Who is he? A victim of the enormous talent pool at Borussia Dortmund, Leonardo Bittencourt made the move to Hannover for regular first-team football, something which he has earned & secured.
Why him? Bittencourt is an exciting young attacker, capable of playing both the wings and regularly looking to cut into the box and onto scoring opportunities. He’s got the quick pace of a winger, the usual dribbles you expect from one but most importantly, he’s got an incredible ability at controlling the ball, often not seen in younger wingers but rather more experienced ones. His burst of pace compiled with that control make him an ideal choice for the flanks.
What can we expect? Although he didn’t do so on a regular basis, Bittencourt showed glimpses of his ability last season. Now with a full year of first-team Bundesliga football with him, expectations will rise. Don’t see him scoring too many, but there’ll be plenty of chances created.
Written by Sami Faizullah. Chief Editor of this website.