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Bundesliga News

10 Bundesliga teenagers to watch out for this season

By Rune Gjerulff

The Bundesliga is full of exciting young talent. Here is a list of 10 of the most promising players in the league to keep an eye on this season.

Dortmund's Christian Pulisic.
Dortmund's Christian Pulisic.

10. Reece Oxford, Gladbach (on loan from West Ham), 18
Reece Oxford made his debut for West Ham in 2015 at the age of just 15 and went on to play 7 matches and impress highly in the Premier League during the 2015-16 season. Last season, his playing time was more limited so he was loaned to Championship club Reading and played 5 matches during his stay. This time around, the versatile teenager, who can play at centre-back as well as at the defensive midfield, has been loaned to Borussia Mönchengladbach and hopes to prove his worth in the Bundesliga.


9. Alexander Isak, Dortmund, 17
The striker made a move from Swedish club AIK to Dortmund in January after turning down Real Madrid and he made his Dortmund debut at just 17 years old in March. This season, he has mostly been on the bench, but he is expected to get more match action. The expectations are high for the tall, clinical forward, who is very agile despite his 190 centimeters.

8. Josip Brekalo, Stuttgart (on loan from Wolfsburg), 19
The Croatian teenager has moved from Wolfsburg to Stuttgart on loan in search for playing time and so far, he’s seen quite a lot of match action. The young dribbler, who has a strong right foot, seems nailed on at Stuttgart’s left-wing position and has already shown glimpses of what he can do.

7. Weston McKennie, Schalke 04, 19
After getting his Schalke debut in the final match of last season, the American midfielder was impressive during Schalke’s pre-season and has been rewarded with more playing time in the DfB Pokal as well as in the Bundesliga. We expect to see much more of the American who’s physically strong, dynamic, technically good and who certainly knows how to pick a pass.

6. Dan-Axel Zagadou, Dortmund, 18
With Marcel Schmelzer’s injury in the beginning of the season, 18-year old Dan-Axel Zagadou was given instant playing time at Dortmund after coming from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer during the summer. And in overall, the young French centre-back did well at left back – especially considering his young age and the fact that he wasn’t playing at his favourite position. Zagadou obviously still has a lot to learn, but the French under-19 national team player has started brightly at Signal Iduna Park.

5. Aymen Barkok, Frankfurt, 19
The gifted offensive midfielder was one of last season’s biggest revelations as he came out of nowhere to take the Bundesliga by storm. The youngster is versatile, technically gifted, very unconventional in his playstyle and thus very unpredictable for any opponent. Barkok is a raw talent that still needs polishing, but he undoubtedly has x-factor and should be given opportunities to follow up on his great first season in the Bundesliga.


4. Salih Özcan, FC Köln, 19
The 19-year old was handed a Fritz Walter gold medal earlier this year and thus deemed the most promising German talent in the Under-19 category by the German Football Association. Obviously, that’s not an award you receive for nothing and the FC Köln midfielder, who’s currently an Under-19 national team player, has been highly impressive for Germany’s youth national teams. However, the creative midfielder is yet to finally make it big in the Bundesliga. So far, he has played 15 league matches for FC Köln, but it’s likely there will be more to come from Özcan this season.

3. Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen, 18
Havertz was arguably the biggest revelation of a poor and disappointing Bayer Leverkusen side last season. After having done well for Leverkusen’s youth team, the 18-year old offensive midfielder got the chance to impress for the first team and quickly impressed. In total, he played 24 Bundesliga games – 15 of them in the starting eleven – scored four goals and was behind six assists. Havertz is yet to start this season, but is expected to carry on his progress under new coach Heiko Herrlich.

2. Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig, 18
After impressing at the European Under-17 Championship for winners France in 2015, he snubbed interest from several big clubs to join Red Bull Salzburg at the age of only 16. In January this year, he moved on to RB Leipzig where he was mostly used as a back-up player during the remaining part of the 2016-17 campaign. This season, however, the physically strong central defender has been given the chance in the starting eleven and has impressed partnering Willi Orban in RB Leipzig’s central defense. At the age of just 18, he is considered one of the most exciting defensive prospects in the world.

1. Christian Pulisic, Borussia Dortmund, 18
The American teenage sensation is widely regarded among the world’s most talented players and that isn’t for nothing. While Pulisic was mostly used as a substitute last season, he has stepped up in importance for Dortmund after Dembele’s move to Barcelona. So far, the clever, quick and skillful offensive player has shown that he is capable of taking that step up and be a regular starter. Pulisic is arguably already the biggest star on the American national team and if the Dortmund player carries on, only the sky seems to be the limit for him.

Honorable mentions:
Kevin Danso, Augsburg
Felix Passlack, Hoffenheim (on loan from Dortmund)
Mamadou, Doucouré, Gladbach
Jann-Fiete Arp, Hamburg er SV
Justin Hoogma, Hoffenheim
Johannes Eggestein, Werder Bremen
Victor Osimhen, Wolfsburg
Gian-Luca Itter, Wolfsburg


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