Germany has always been a football-mad country and as such, has not ever really lacked talented football players, although supporters have experienced patches of only limited success at times. This is mostly due to the country’s various football academies and the way in which these seem to be able to produce top-quality young players. Looking ahead to what is to come for German football, we took a look at three remarkable Bundesliga talents, namely Max Meyer of Schalke, Timo Werner of Stuttgart and Maximilian Arnold of Wolfsburg.
Born in nearby Oberhausen, 19-year old Max Meyer joined Schalke’s youth ranks in 2009 and has seen a meteoric rise to the first-team and to German football fame since. At the age of just 17, Meyer made his Bundesliga debut, when he replaced Raffael in the 72nd minute in a league game against Mainz in February 2013. The midfielder did not fail to make an impression and promptly provided a critical assist that helped his club salvage a point. Since then, Meyer has racked up 75 senior appearances for Schalke, scoring 13 goals in the process.
The gifted dribbler benefitted from his early involvement in futsal, an alternative form of football, which has helped him develop great technical skills. On display in the Bundesliga on a weekly basis, the midfielder’s skills were impressive enough for Germany coach Jogi Low to nominate the youngster for the national team, where he made his debut in a friendly against Poland in May 2014, aged 18. Last season, Meyer continued his steady progress and appeared in 28 Bundesliga and eight Champions League games, scoring six goals and providing two assists. Likened to the likes of Messi and compatriot Mario Gotze, Max Meyer is set to become a future star for Germany and the national team’s midfield will certainly benefit from his talents in forthcoming tournaments.
Having only turned 19 in March this year, Timo Werner has already become a household name in Stuttgart and the Bundesliga. The skilled winger has 67 senior appearances to his name and in some ways, has taken advantage of Stuttgart’s recent struggles by seizing his opportunity, when he made his debut in the club’s Europa League campaign in August 2013, becoming Stuttgart’s youngest-ever player with a senior appearance. Since then, Werner’s career has gone from strength to strength and there is no surprise that many see in him the future of German attacking football.
Timo Werner certainly benefits from his youthful approach that enables him to play freely and to unleash his trickery on opposing defenders. As such, the youngster is at a stage in his career, where he will not necessarily be judged by his level of maturity but his potential to do the unconventional. To some extent, being at Stuttgart is beneficial, as the pressure to achieve is not as high as at the likes of Bayern Munich, for example. Yet to make his senior Germany debut, Werner should be on every talent scout’s list and is certainly one of the country’s hottest prospects.
Wolfsburg midfielder Maximilian Arnold is arguably the most mature out of these three talents. 21 years of age, he is quite obviously older than the other two. However, despite being only 21, he is already one of Wolfsburg key players and will be benefitting from the club’s lofty ambitions. Last season, the attacking midfielder made a total of 40 senior appearances for his club, scoring six goals and providing five assists along the way. Arnold was instrumental in securing second spot for the Wolves and will remain one of the team’s key players.
Equipped with a great left foot, the midfielder has great vision and possesses an incredible range of passing. Arnold also has a single senior appearance for Germany under his belt, after coming on for Max Meyer in the above mentioned game against Poland. The midfielder will benefit from being exposed to Champions League football next season and his development might arguably be exponential, if Arnold learns to cope with the pressures of being at a top club. In any case, dealing with this pressure will ultimately help him succeed for Germany.
Germany currently produces one impressive talent after another and we will keep an eye on further players. In the meantime, following these three should be a joyful pastime.