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The Bundesliga’s renowned production line of prodigal talent is back up and running, with these young guns ready to continue their sensational start to 2019-2020.
Before the coronavirus pandemic spread, many of these stars were set to be at the centre of a summer bidding war between the biggest spenders in world football.
With the season back underway this weekend, potential suitors have another chance to see these wonder-kids in action before the bidding begins.
This stacked lineup of stars under the age of 23 would hold its own against some of the biggest clubs in world football.
GK – Alexander Nubel, Schalke
At 23, Nubel is technically the elder statesman on this list. The natural-born leader was named club captain at Schalke at 22 and his early promise in goals has already earned him a move to German powerhouse Bayern Munich in the summer.
Nubel’s ‘sweeper keeper’ style and composure on the ball has him tipped as the natural successor to Bayern and Germany skipper Manuel Neuer.
RB – Achraf Hakimi, Borussia Dortmund
Achraf Hakimi has been key to Borussia Dortmund’s clinical counter-attacking style since joining on loan from Real Madrid in 2018.
The swashbuckling full-back has started in all but three of Dortmund’s league games this season, and bagged four goals in eight UEFA Champions League appearances.
With Hakimi in this sort of form, Zinedine Zidane will likely recall the Morocco international back to the Bernabeu when his loan deal expires.
CB – Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig
With the rapid rise of RB Leipzig, defender Dayot Upamecano has emerged as one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga, with Arsenal, Bayern Munich and Manchester United reportedly vying for his signature.
The 21 year-old France youth star boasts composure and a commanding presence well beyond his years. At this rate, Upamecano is on his way to becoming one of the world’s best defenders.
CB – Dan-Axel Zagadou, Borussia Dortmund
Dan Axel Zagadou is still only 20, but the former Paris Saint-Germain prodigy is already showing all the attributes to be world class defender.
The Frenchman combines his towering 1.96m frame with silky footwork, boasting a 91 per cent pass accuracy in 10 league appearances for Borussia Dortmund this season.
LB – Alphonso Davies, Bayern Munich
With the departure of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Davies has made the most of his opportunity to shine on the flank for Bayern Munich.
The 19 year-old’s transition from winger to wing-back has paid off, cementing himself as a key figure in Hansi Flick’s future plans after recently signing a five-year contract extension.
Davies’s tireless tenacity on the pitch has endeared himself with the Bayern Munich faithful, and perhaps it derives from his humble beginnings being born in a refugee camp in Ghana before moving to Canada to start a new life.
RW – Jadon Sanco, Borussia Dortmund
Sancho is barely 20, but the Borussia Dortmund sensation has already been touted as the future saviour for the England national team.
The flashy winger seems unfazed by the heavy burden to bear, with 14 goals and 15 assists in the league for Borussia Dortmund before the global pandemic halted play.
The diminutive attacker has been tipped to make a mega move to the Premier League, but Dortmund is fighting hard to hang onto Sancho for as long as it can.
CM – Christopher Nkunku, RB Leipzig
Christipher Nkunku has been an instrumental part of RB Leipzig’s remarkable season, with 12 assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances so far this term.
Timo Werner has dominated headlines as the star striker in this RB Leipzig team, but much of his success has been made possible by foundations laid by Nkunku in midfield.
With this growing stable of French prodigies shining in the Bundesliga, France is well placed to build on its 2018 FIFA World Cup triumph at the next major international tournament.
CM – Amine Harit, Schalke
Amine Harit needed no time settling in when he joined Schalke from Nantes in 2017, winning Bundesliga’s rookie of the year in his debut season.
Since then, the Morocco international has established himself as Schalke’s main man in midfield, recently earning him a contract extension until 2024.
The silky dribbler often kick-stars the Schalke attack with surging runs forward and a creative array of passing.
LW – Marcus Thuram, Monchengladbach
Marcus Thuram comes from rich football lineage as the son of French World Cup winner Lillian, who will undoubtedly be proud of his son’s scintillating start to life in professional football.
At 22, Thuram has already boasts 148 appearances in Germany and France and and has been a regular feature for the national team at every youth level.
Thuram has been instrumental in Borussia Monchengladbach’s stunning run so far this season, with the club vying for a top-four finish and a spot in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
FW – Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen
At 20, Kai Havertz has already amassed 38 goals in 139 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen, with the attacker being hailed as a key member of Germany’s next generation.
This could be the last season Bayern Leverkusen has the fleet-footed forward at its disposal, having already caught the eye of Europe’s glamour clubs, including Bayern Munich.
How Havertz finishes the rest of 2019-2020 could determine where he goes next, and for how much.
FW – Erling Haaland, Borussia Dortmund
You could say we saved the best till last with teenage sensation Erling Haaland, who has quickly become Europe’s most profilic striker since joining Borussia Dortmund in Janaury.
Haaland has banged in nine goals in eight Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund, rattling one into the onion bag once every 56 minutes.
The 19 year-old will be hoping his hot streak continues when the season resumes on Saturday night (AEST) where a Rivierderby showdown against fierce rival Schalke awaits.