The 2019-20 season is upon us, and ahead of next month’s curtain-raiser, we take a look at five youngsters who ought to enjoy a breakout Bundesliga campaign.
Bundesliga has become the breeding ground for young footballers. Many talented individuals have managed to rise into prominence by performing well in the German top-flight over the past decade. And given the nature of the German clubs that focus highly on youth development, it makes it easier for these young players to showcase their skills in one of the most competitive leagues in the world.
Last season, we witnessed the likes of Jadon Sancho, Kai Havertz and Ozan Kabak make a name for themselves with their blistering performances. And with the new season just around the corner, The Hard Tackle takes a look at five youngsters primed to enjoy a breakout 2019-20 campaign.
Author’s note: We will only be considering players aged 21 or below while players who have already made over 30 Bundesliga appearances have been termed as overqualified to be included on this list.
Jann-Fiete Arp (Bayern Munich)
Jann-Fiete Arp is regarded as one of Germany’s biggest prospects at the moment. And after months of speculations regarding his long-term future at Hamburger SV, the youngster has finally joined Bayern Munich this summer.
The product of the Hamburger youth academy fired up the youth leagues with his blistering performances. He notably scored 26 goals in 21 matches in the Under-17 Bundesliga during the 2016-17 season. He is also a regular for the German Under-19 setup.
It is usually hard for youngsters to make an impact in the Bayern setup considering the depth and the individual quality of the first-team. But, the 19-year-old will have an excellent opportunity to make an impression as Bayern have so far opted not to buy a backup for Robert Lewandowski after initially getting rid of Sandro Wagner.
That means Arp is likely to be the club’s main striker should the Polish international get injured during the course of the 2019-20 campaign, allowing the youngster to showcase his talents. He has already shown what he is capable during the back end of 2017-18, scoring two goals with HSV.
Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
Gio Reyna vs. Udinese. A solid showing from the 16 year old 👍
— Future USMNT (@FutureUsmnt) July 27, 2019
Gio Reyna is the only player on this list who is not an out and out a member of the first-team squad of a Bundesliga outfit. The son of former USMNT great Claudio Reyna, Gio joined the Dortmund academy earlier this summer.
He was even included in the club’s pre-season tour to the US, where he raised a lot of eyebrows with his performance against Liverpool. And though still a member of the Borussia Dortmund Under-19 squad, the 16-year-old attacking midfielder could make a lot of waves in the upcoming season.
It is still unlikely Reyna will be given a chance to make an impression in the first-team as the Black and Yellows have already signed the likes of Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard. But, considering the infamous injury records of their star players, there is a slight chance coach Lucien Favre will be tempted to give Reyna a run-in with the first-team.
In the meantime, the midfielder will be looking forward to kickstarting his debut season in Germany with the Dortmund Under-19s, coached by Michael Skibbe.
Dejan Joveljic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Eintracht Frankfurt were quick to make a move for Dejan Joveljic soon after the departure of Luka Jovic earlier this summer. The Serbian forward was brought in from Red Star for a fee of €4 million. Much like Jovic, Joveljic is a native of Bijeljina.
The Guardian notably tagged the 19-year-old as one of the top 60 young talents in world football. The youngster initially made his breakthrough in senior football during the back end of last season. Scoring eight goals in 17 games was enough to suggest that he is capable of playing at a higher level of football.
Eintracht, in that regard, could provide him with the ideal platform next season. The Eagles are still yet to sign a new forward despite the departure of Jovic and Sebastien Haller, which signifies the faith Adi Hutter has shown in Joveljic. The Serb is likely to become the club’s first-choice striker, and it will be interesting to see how he performs alongside the likes of Nicolai Muller and Filip Kostic next season.
Hannes Wolf (RB Leipzig)
Hannes Wolf had already made quite a name for himself since arriving at RB Leipzig in a €12 million move from Red Bull Salzburg. The Austrian was one of Salzburg’s most consistent attackers in the last couple of seasons, scoring 23 goals and providing 21 assists in less than 90 matches for the factory giants.
An attacking midfielder by nature, Wolf’s tenacity and willingness to take on defenders could make him a tailor-made fit for Julian Nagelsmann’s aggressive style of play. Besides, the 20-year-old’s addition to the club will serve as a massive boost to Leipzig’s creative department that has appeared overreliant on Emil Forsberg ever since their promotion to the top flight.
Moreover, Wolf is a versatile attacker who can feature in the wider attacking positions as well. Hence, he could be a useful addition to the Leipzig setup and one that is destined to make his breakthrough under the leadership of Nagelsmann, who is known for his proficiency of nurturing young players.
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen)
With Max Kruse joining Fenerbahce and the duo of Martin Harnik and Claudio Pizarro getting older by the day, another USMNT star in Josh Sargent is destined to make his breakthrough in the Bundesliga this upcoming season.
A product of the St. Louis youth academy in Missouri, Sargent was initially promoted to the Bremen first-team last summer. He notably scored in his Bundesliga debut against Fortuna Dusseldorf, and though he hasn’t been a regular first-team player for Bremen, that could change in the new season.
In fact, Sargent is the only reliable number nine option Bremen have at their disposal at the moment, excluding the ageing duo of Pizarro and Harnik. The young American has already scored two goals for the USMNT in just seven matches, and it is only a matter of time before he replicates those performances in the German top flight.