9 Bundesliga kids who you'll soon know about in 2016/17
1. Salih Özcan (Köln)
The 18-year-old impressed on his Bundesliga debut when he showed great determination to stay on his feet and assist Köln’s third goal in their win against Schalke. His cameo lasted just eight minutes, but it was clear to see why Özcan is one of the biggest hopes to come out of his club's academy.
Having impressed with a scoring touch at U17 level (25 goals in 48 games), Özcan demonstrated that he could do more than just find the back of the net when he played for Germany’s U17s at the 2015 European Championship. His ability to break up the play was notable, as was his dribbling.
Capable of playing as the No.8, No.10 or even on the flank, Köln are excited about Özcan with good reason.
2. Paul Seguin (Wolfsburg)
Seguin reads the game well and certainly benefits having outlets such as Julian Draxler in his team
It’s not often that Wolfsburg are known for producing a talent, but central midfielder Paul Seguin looks ready to play a full season for a club desperate to get back into Europe.
Having been a key performer at youth levels for the Volkswagen-backed club, Seguin has already shown glimpses of why he’s made the jump to Dieter Hecking's first team. Although he assisted smartly for Wolfsburg’s consolation goal in the 5-1 defeat to Dortmund, his real skill lies in winning the ball back. Seguin reads the game well and benefits from having outlets like Julian Draxler in his team.
At 21, though, he's a little late to the party and that has led to whispers that he might be loaned out as a result of Wolfsburg’s well-stocked midfield. Hecking has already said that Seguin has taken the right step forward in his development this season, and this season could be a big one for the midfielder wherever he ends up.
3. Lukas Klostermann (Leipzig)
Klostermann burst onto the scene after being one of the outstanding and unexpected performers for Germany at the Rio Olympics
Injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for 20-year-old right-back Lukas Klostermann. The Bochum youth talent was snapped up by Leipzig in summer 2014 and should have been one of the stars of the club’s early Bundesliga success, but a cruciate ligament tear means we won’t see him until 2017. Nevertheless, he’s worth bearing in mind.
Klostermann – linked with Arsenal in early August – was one of the outstanding and unexpected performers for Germany at the Rio Olympics, demonstrating excellent acceleration, a keen attacking sense and notable ability in the air. His time as a sprinter during his youth clearly wasn’t wasted.
One of Ralf Rangnick’s (Leipzig’s director of football) favourite signings, it will be great to see Klostermann back in action.
4. Mijat Gacinovic (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt's Serbian winger is exciting to watch. Every time he's received the ball this season, he looks like he wants to take on every player in the opposition team.
The left-footed winger has great technical skills, is a dynamic player and adds plenty to Frankfurt’s attack. At 21 years old, the summer 2015 signing from FK Vojvodina already looks a shrewd one for a club that only just survived in the division last year. If he starts to perform more consistently, Frankfurt won’t be in the same trouble and Gacinovic will be one of the leading talents in the Bundesliga.
5. Levin Öztunali (Mainz)
This year at Mainz, with the Europa League also on offer, Öztunali must take his chance
The 20-year-old grandson of Uwe Seeler has had quite the turbulent career despite his young years, but he finally looks to have found a team he can play his way for.
Öztunali left Hamburg despite being one of the most talented youth players, couldn’t get a game at Bayer Leverkusen and then couldn’t catch a break at struggling Werder Bremen. So far at Mainz, under the calming Martin Schmidt, he has shown the qualities that had him labelled as one of Germany's brightest of talents when he first arrived.
He’s a feisty player who likes to dribble, and although there’s some rust from those forgotten years to shake off, Öztunali still has the ability to change games. This year at Mainz, with the Europa League also on offer, Öztunali must take his chance.
Next: The Austrian who's got English giants interested