Germany’s World Cup campaign was certainly an enjoyable one. Loew’s side played an attacking brand of football that wowed audiences and stunned critics. The German national team hit four past Australia, England and Argentina; certainly a feat worth noting. What’s most interesting is how the youth of the German national team showed that they can be relied on to make a big impact under intense pressure. Loew’s side had an average age of just 24 years old, nearly the youngest German World Cup squad of all time.
With players like Thomas Mueller, who walked away with the Golden Boot and Young Player of the Tournament awards, Mesut Ozil, who astounded crowds with his flair, creativity, and ability to create something out of nothing and Sami Khedira, who stepped up into Michael Ballack’s role and handled it with efficiency and style, you could say that Germany could be set for another golden age. What’s even more incredible, is that Bundesliga clubs are constantly churning out talented young players who could well go on to make an incredible impact on the national team in the future. While Thomas Mueller and Mesut Ozil and so many others will have shone so brightly in South Africa, a new generation is already coming through the system in Germany.
Many of Germany’s young World Cup stars graduated into the senior side from the successful German U-21 side that won the 2009 u-21 European championships. What’s so surprising, is that Thomas Mueller, for example, wasn’t even old enough to play for that side, but still made a huge impact in South Africa. Let’s take a look at some of prospects who may make a breakthrough into the national side in the coming years.
1. Felix Kroos – The younger brother of Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Toni Kroos, Felix plays his club football at Bundesliga side Werder Bremen. Kroos, at just 19 years old, will gain valuable first-team football at Werder Bremen, who have recently lost Mesut Ozil to Real Madrid. Kroos’ playmaking skills as well as his ability to get in amongst the goals makes him a great option for Die Mannschaft. While Toni is more of a creative player, who plays more like a trequartista, Felix is almost a second-striker, who will look to drop into space and create havoc amongst the opposition defence.
2. Diego Contento – Contento has come through the ranks at Bayern Munich and is already being used as a first-team player with the Bundesliga champions. At left-back, Germany is a country blessed with ability. But, with Contento’s positional sense and expert tackling ability he may force himself into the senior side before long. At just 20 years old, Contento’s experience is already vast, having played in a Champions League semi-final as well as many important first-team matches with Bayern Munich. Contento is Italian by birth, so he is also eligible for an Azzurri call-up.
3. Dennis Diekmeier – Diekmeier’s versatility makes him all the more impressive as a defender. While Diekmeier is primarily played at right-back, he can also slot into the center of defense as well as midfield positions. Diekmeier recently signed for Hamburg, and will look to replace German international Jerome Boateng, who completed a move to Manchester City in the summer. Diekmeier is 20 years old, so for him to be so comfortable in a variety of positions is really quite promising.
Germany and the Bundesliga continue to churn out impressive young talent, but it will be interesting to see how many of them actually develop into world-beating players. The odds are good though, considering how many young Germans made Joachim Loew’s World Cup squad despite their lack of experience at the highest level. It’s amazing that Thomas Mueller, a player who was a relative unknown at the beginning of last season, is now one of the hottest young strikers in the world. His example will be the one to follow for many young players who will begin to make a name for themselves this season.
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