Arminia Bielefeld’s rising star
By Andrew Asher
This article takes a close look at Patrick Wimmer, who has arguably been one of the most impressive newcomers in the Bundesliga this season, racking up three goals and seven assists in 23 games for Arminia Bielefeld.
Where it all started
Wimmer began his career as a youth player with SC Sitzenberg/Reidling before having spells with both SG Waidhofen/Ybbs and SV Gaflenz in the lower tiers of Austrian football. According to the Bundesliga.com, Austria Wien vice-president Raimund Harreither was the representative from Austria Wien who noticed Wimmer.
The club subsequently plucked Wimmer from SV Gaflenz, giving him the chance to ply his trade in the top division in Austria. Not long after his move to the capital where he first played for Austria Wien’s second team, first-team manager Peter Stöger recognised Wimmer’s talent and integrated him into the first team.
The young winger managed to notch eight goals and eight assists in 57 appearances in all competitions across two years with the Vienna-based club, attracting the attention of suitors across Europe’s top five leagues. Finally, it was Arminia Bielefeld that snapped up Wimmer for a reported fee of just £630,000 (≈€750,000) according to Transfermarkt. In an interview with Transfermarkt, Wimmer revealed that the ‘overall package’ at Arminia was perfect, the opportunity for game time and development most likely behind the reason behind the decision to sign.
Since joining the Bundesliga club, the right midfielder has managed 3 goals and 7 assists in 25 games in all competitions, having started in 19 out of 25 games this season. One of Wimmer’s most recognisable attributes is undoubtedly his pace, recording a top speed in the Bundesliga of 34.43 kmh (20.77 mph) according to Arminia Bielefeld.
For context, the joint fastest sprints in the football world this season have come from Kylian Mbappé and Adama Traoré, registered at 38 kmh (23.6 mph) according to Sportskeeda.com. Along with his speed, Wimmer ranks very well in many important metrics over the last year when compared with players in his position across Europe’s top five leagues. He places in the 95th percentile for xA (expected assists) per 90 minutes and aerial duals won per 90 minutes, he is in the 96th percentile for dribbles completed as well as for pressing (FBref).
Finally, Wimmer ranks highly in all defensive metrics including in the 96th percentile for tackles and the 99th for interceptions. It can be seen from these statistics just how huge a threat Wimmer offers on the counter attack with his ability to dribble and ease past players, as well as his capabilities to press and win the ball high up the pitch. Standing at just under six feet tall, Wimmer also poses an aerial threat which together with his skill and discipline makes him the ideal player for Arminia Bielefeld’s style of play as they seek to play on the counter and make use of Stefan Ortega’s long balls. He is able to take the pressure off of the defence by carrying the ball, move the team up the pitch as well as win the ball high, pouncing on defensive errors.
A raw diamond
The Austria U-21 international has turned out to be the perfect replacement for Ritsu Doan, who left Bielefeld last summer after his loan spell from PSV Eindhoven came to an end. Many wondered how the club would replace Doan after it became clear that a permanent deal for the Japanese international was not possible, but the pacey Austrian has been a revelation this season so far. His work hasn’t gone unnoticed in Germany, winning Rookie of the Month for January and being nominated again in February.
As with all young players, Wimmer certainly has areas of his game that could be improved, sometimes leaving fans and teammates frustrated with his decision making and passing. The Arminia goalkeeper, Stefan Ortega, told DAZN after Bielefeld’s 2-0 away win over Eintracht Frankfurt “Sometimes he amazes you, sometimes he drives you crazy”. The interview came after Wimmer’s dazzling performance in which he scored and assisted with a superb piece skill as he ‘rabona’ crossed for Alessandro Schöpf to score Arminia’s second goal of the night.
Bielefeld boss Frank Kramer told DAZN that pieces of skill such as his ‘rabona’ come natural to the young winger and that if it hadn’t worked, he would not have received any complaints, although some Arminia fans may beg to differ. At times Wimmer can cause frustration due to a break down in play, but it is his youthful exuberance and raw ability on the pitch that makes him a highly valuable asset to the East Westphalia club.
Full Austria call-up only a matter of time
Naturally, Wimmer’s performances in the Bundesliga have brought about the question of whether the Austrian U-21 should be included in Austrian national team manager Franco Foda’s senior squad. The Austrian FA announced both the senior squad and the U-21 squad on the 15th of March for the upcoming international break, with Wimmer once again being included in the U-21 squad.
Though Wimmmer is yet to be given the chance to become a full international, it does seem like a case of 'when' and not 'if' for the young Bielefeld winger. During the upcoming international break Austria will take on Wales in front of a packed out Cardiff City Stadium in a clash for World Cup qualification via the play-offs. With so much at stake, it is possible that Foda sought to include more experience in his squad this time around.
When asked about his chances of breaking into the Austrian senior team, Wimmer told Transfermarkt that it is an honour for every footballer to represent their country. He continued by saying “I’ll give 100% here in Bielefeld so that I can perform and develop as best as I can. If the manager sees it that way and thinks that I can help the national team with my qualities, the he can count on me” and stated that he feels ready to make the step up to the senior team.
Will he stay or go?
As is the case with young players of Wimmer’s ability, rumours are starting to build up over his future. According to Sky, Wimmer has worked his way onto the radar of a number of larger clubs, although the clubs are yet to be named. Wimmer told Sky Austria that everyone aims for something bigger in the future, but right now he remains concentrated on helping Arminia to stay in the Bundesliga.
The Austrian starlet’s current contract runs until the summer of 2025, meaning that Bielefeld do hold at some negotiating power for the moment with the player saying he would not be against staying at Bielefeld until 2025. According to Kicker, Wolfsburg are said to have an interest in the Austrian winger, though the player's contract until 2025 could mean that the club from Lower Saxony are priced out of a move. One Arminia fan wrote on Twitter “I would be surprised if Wimmer were to play at Bielefeld next season” whilst a Borussia Dortmund fan wrote “To be honest I'm just waiting for the Patrick Wimmer to Dortmund rumour. I’m not sure if it makes sense just yet, but it's actually so written in the stars.”
With Dortmund opting for a three at the back formation at times this season, Wimmer’s versatility could see him deployed as either a winger or an attacking wing-back if he were to make the move to Signal Iduna Park. Some Bielefeld fans remain confident that Wimmer will stay beyond this season as he continues to improve and become more of a ‘finished product’. Only time will tell if the East Westphalia club will be able to hang on to the young talent who has been so vital this term.
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