With Miroslav Klose retired, Germany need a young striker to lead a new charge for Russia 2018. Will Robey introduces the one with the best chance of filling those shoes...
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- Date of birth: Jan 20, 1995
- Place of birth: Schorndorf, Germany
- Height: 6ft 3in
- Position: Striker
- Club: Werder Bremen; 5 apps (2 starts), 0 goals
- International: Germany U19; 15 caps, 14 goals
- Honours: U19 European Championship (2014)
Joachim Low’s right-hand man, Hansi Flick, wasn't lying when he boasted about more talents coming through Germany's extensive youth system after Die Mannschaft's World Cup victory.
Less than a month after the seniors conquered the globe, the U19s became European champions for the second time. Marcus Sorg’s youngsters scored 12 goals in five games, coceding just twice en route to lifting the trophy – and it was Werder Bremen striker Davie Selke who finished as the tournament's top scorer with six goals, after netting in all four matches before the final.
Born in Schorndorf (twinned with Bury, we'll have you know), the striker joined Bremen in 2013 after spending the majority of his youth career at fellow Bundesliga side Hoffenheim. In 2013 he was moved to the club's second team, for whom he netted nine goals in 26 appearances before featuring three times for the first team towards the end of last season.
Selke has represented Germany from U16 through to U19 level, hitting 14 goals in 15 games for the latter. The tall striker is already close to matching last season's appearance tally for Bremen, having featured in two of die Werderaner's Bundesliga fixtures this season. Unsurprisingly, his efforts are set to be rewarded with a new contract to 2018.
Why you need to know him
Selke looks to have ended rumours linking him with an immediate move away from the Weserstadion, but before agreeing a new deal it was rumoured that Real Madrid were keeping a close eye on him.
His goals at the European Championship will have perked up Germans mourning the retirement of Miroslav Klose, and a strong debut season in the Bundesliga could go some way to helping the 6ft 3in hitman replace the World Cup record holder one day. Certainly, Germany have failed to produce a quality centre-forward in recent years.
Although a call-up is unlikely in the near future, Selke is likely to get plenty of opportunities in a goal-shy Bremen team until then. His start against Hoffenheim before the international break proves boss Robin Dutt isn't afraid to rely on his promising target man.
Selke is a composed finisher who can score in a variety of situations; despite his height, only one of his six goals at the U19 Euros came via his head, with other efforts including an opportunistic overhead kick.
His pace and strength make him a nightmare to deal with in the box. His predatory instincts show in his clever movement and intelligence drawing defenders towards him, thus freeing up space for team-mates. Essentially, he's a proper goalscorer.
Considering his height, one might expect Selke to be better in the air. The youngster also has the capacity for trouble: last season he was involved in a bust-up with team-mate Clemens Fritz, and subsequently banished from the training ground. If he trains continues to train well and work hard consistently, he has all the attributes necessary to become a talented player. His ill-discipline cannot come to the fore.
"We have a plan with him," Werder Bremen general manager Thomas Eichen told Bild. "He is going to be integrated into our Bundesliga side bit by bit." When asked if Selke would be for sale, Eichen quipped: "any other club can save themselves the phone call."
Coach Dutt warned that the youngster still has a lot to improve, but added: "The [U19] tournament will give him an extra boost, and then he will become a firm part of our squad."
Did you know?
- Shooting 8
- Heading 6
- Passing 6
- Tackling 5
- Pace 8
- Dribbling 7
- Creativity 7
- Work-rate 7
Like his international team-mate Gedion Zelalem (of Arsenal), Selke has an Ethiopian father and German mother. Both players were part of an intense recruitment drive by the Ethiopian Football Federation, who had hoped both would represent them. Perhaps unsurprisingly they turned down the approaches, opting to continue their journies through the German ranks.
What happens next?
As Eichen confirmed, the plan is to retain Selke and slowly integrate him into the first team, hoping that his positive performances for Germany can translate into a series of good showings for his club this season. First he needs to open his account for Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.