There are many reasons why the English papers love talking about how we should adopt the German model of bringing through young players. We’ve seen a mass of talented young players in their ranks for the past few years and that conveyor belt doesn’t look like drying up just yet. Here’s a look at four more products that have excited in the first half of the Bundesliga season.
Timo Werner – VfB Stuttgart
At just the tender age of 17, Timo Werner has shown so far in his short career that he could be another German star-in-the-making. Making his debut against Bayer Leverkusen back in August, he’s played 14 games so far this season and with each passing match his influence on a relatively mediocre Stuttgart side is growing.
Mainly played on the left-hand side of a forward three, he operates much like a winger but has the tendencies to cut inside but also the ability to drive past the outside of defenders. What stands out the most is that, whilst he could play in the middle, he has the ability to be a wide man compared to the numerous number ten’s we’ve seen recently.
His stand-out game was the 3-1 win against Freiburg, where he became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score twice in a single contest. It showed his ability to take responsibity, like all good players do, and come up with the goods to get his side the win. He is certainly someone to keep an eye on for the next few years as he continues to rise in stature.
Maximilian Arnold – VfL Wolfsburg
Just as Wolfsburg seem to have a fire lit under them, young Maxi Arnold has really started to shine on a consistent basis. Since coming into the fold last season, many at the club have hoped that Maxi would be a home-grown player that could be a staple for years to come.
This year didn’t start off well, a deserved red card against Hannover on the opening day took some gloss of what many expected to be a good year for the 19-year-old, but since then he’s been terrific. He’s becoming a real key player for the Wolves, having scored five goals this season at crucial times and whilst he hasn’t made an assist yet he’s created 40 chances in his 10 appearances, an excellent return.
Internationally he may be frozen out by the other talent that play in the hole behind the striker, but if he can continue on this vein of form he’ll be difficult to ignore. Dangerous inside and outside the box, Arnold has the talent to both score and create regularly which can only benefit Wolfsburg’s European hopes.
Max Meyer – Schalke 04
With many people talking about team-mate Julian Draxler, Meyer has been given the chance to slowly grow within the Schalke side. However, after Draxler’s recent injury and Meyer’s excellent current form, no-one can take their eyes off the 18-year-old.
Voted the best player at the U-17’s European Championships in 2012, along with being top goalscorer, it was clear that he had the talent to become an eye-catching footballer. Yet another attacking midfielder, Meyer is more in the mould of Mario Gotze, using his pace, cleverness and great dribbling ability to create opportunities for his team.
Three goals and an assist so far this year, he’s shown that he belongs in a Schalke side full of youthful talent. He signed a new deal until 2018 last month which was key for the side from Gelsenkirchen, who may lean more on Meyer if Draxler was to leave in the summer.
Kevin Volland – Hoffenheim
A relatively well-known name in Germany for a few years now, it seems that Kevin Volland is now showing just why he has been the striker on everyone’s lips to become a future force in the national side.
The 21-year-old is blossoming in a much-improved Hoffenheim, seven goals in 15 starts shows his prowess in front of goal. His no-fear attitude brings excitement to the fans, willing to run and tussle with defenders to get into profitable positions on the field. He can also score every type of goal, from 25-yard belters to 2-yard reactions that come off the knee, he’s that kind of striker that wants to score.
He’s being tipped to be the replacement for Robert Lewandowski at Borussia Dortmund (assuming he still goes) and that should only help speed up his development. And with Miroslav Klose not getting any younger and Mario Gomez struggling with injuries, it might open up a spot for him to join the national team on the plane to Brazil this summer.