For three years now, this website has continued to focus on the younger generation of footballers, often over-looked by mainstream media. For three years we’ve also published a Talent Radar Team of the Season across Europe’s top six leagues, having monitored these players in our Team of the Week and Player Rankings feature. You can read this for all details on Talent Radar, who is eligible under it and what else we publish within this feature.
[Eligibility: As of 1st June 2015 – 21 years old and below for outfield players // 22 years old and below for goalkeepers]
Timo Horn // Koln // 23 // Goalkeeper: Germany have a problem of plenty when it comes to goalkeepers. Of course Manuel Neuer is still top dog but the next generation is never far away with the likes of Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Loris Karius, and Timo Horn all waiting in the wings. Horn has impressed at Koln in the past campaign as his side finished comfortably in mid-table. The gifted shot-stopper finished with 8 clean sheets in the league and could be looking at a move to a bigger club in this transfer window.
Matthias Ginter // Borussia Dortmund // 22 // Right-Back: The versatile defender had an improved season at Dortmund featuring in a variety of positions. The 22-year-old started the season with appearances at right-back and somewhat surprisingly played a pivotal role in attack. Ginter was directly involved in as many as 7 goals in the first 6 Bundesliga games with 1 goal and 6 assists! Even though he saw a reduction in game time in the second half of the season, Ginter would be disappointed to not even make the provisional squad of the upcoming Euros.
Andreas Christensen // Borussia Monchengladbach (On loan from Chelsea) // 20 // Centre-Back: Christensen is yet another Chelsea player thriving on loan away from Stamford Bridge with the the Danish centre-half doing well in his first year in the Bundesliga. The 20-year-old had a shaky start but came into his own as he settled into life in Germany. A typical modern day defender more than comfortable on the ball, Christensen still has another year of his loan left before perhaps trying to make a mark in London.
Niklas Sule // Hoffenheim // 20 // Centre-Back: Joining Christensen in the heart of the defence is Hoffenheim’s commanding centre-half, Niklas Sule. The 20-year-old is a tough match for most opposition attackers with his height and physicality being his most important attributes. The defender was an ever-present in Hoffenheim’s defence as they avoided relegation, albeit only just.
Jonathan Tah // Bayer Leverkusen // 20 // Left-Back: Another name conspicuously absent from the German squad is Leverkusen’s young star, Jonathan Tah. The 20-year-old has been very good in Roger Schmidt’s side and would’ve been expecting a call up. Seen by many as a defender in the mould of Jerome Boateng, Tah played a big role in Leverkusen finishing in the Champions League places. Freakishly talented, the former Hamburg man had a great season, the surprise International snub notwithstanding.
Julian Weigl // Borussia Dortmund // 20 // Central Midfielder: It was quite a debut season for Julian Weigl under Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund. Considered by many as a signing for the future, Weigl wasted little time settling into his new club as he went on to start as many as 25 times in the league. Likened to Sergio Busquets, perhaps the highest praise for a modern defensive midfielder, the 20-year-old was a key part of Tuchel’s tactical approach. The youngster has also found a place in the German provisional squad although it remains to be seen if he’ll be part of the squad travelling to France.
Mahmoud Dahoud // Borussia Monchengladbach // 20 // Central Midfielder: A recurring name in our Talent Radar Team of the Week feauture, Dahoud is the second Gladbach player to make the grade in the Team of the Season. An incredible work rate is usually associated with players who are perhaps less talented than their teammates but there’s no such caveat when it comes to Dahoud. Marrying an impeccable work ethic with undoubted technical ability, the 20-year-old is the ideal box-to-box midfielder.
Hakan Calhanoglu // Bayer Leverkusen // 22 // Attacking Midfielder: The only player to have retained his place from last year’s edition, Hakan Calhanoglu will most definitely be on top of the set-piece duty list. The Turkish International had a productive season for Leverkusen, even captaining the team on multiple occasions. The 22-year-old has become a key player for Schmidt impressing not only domestically but in Europe as well. There’s no doubting Calhanoglu’s talent, it is now a question of adding consistency and taking his game to the next level.
Kingsley Coman // Bayern Munich (On loan from Juventus) // 19 // Right Winger: Tasked with providing width for the team, Coman was great for Bayern Munich. Injuries to Robben and Ribery saw Douglas Costa and Coman called upon by Pep Guardiola and the duo duly delivered. The Frenchman is equally comfortable going on the outside or inside of the opposition full-back with 4 goals and 6 assists against his name. The 19-year-old has been touted as Ribery’s replacement for both club and country, a tall order but one Coman is capable of fulfilling.
Leroy Sane // Schalke // 20 // Striker: To make up for thrusting the left-back position on Jonathan Tah, we’ve decided to display some tactical nous and play Sane as a false 9. The young German star is one of the most exciting players in the league and that’s saying something given the plethora of young stars on display in the Bundesliga. The 20-year-old notched up 8 goals and 6 assists through the course of the season and with Schalke missing out on Champions League football next season, Sane could well be on the move this summer.
Jairo Samperio // Mainz // 22 // Left Winger: Rounding off the Team of the Season is Mainz’s Spanish winger, Jairo Samperio. The 22-year-old impressed as he played an important role in Mainz finishing in sixth spot. In his second season in Germany, the former Sevilla man chalked up 7 goals and 8 assists in 31 appearances. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his embarrassing dive against Schalke was pretty well publicized. We’ll let this one go, Jairo.