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9 Bundesliga kids who you'll soon know about in 2016/17

Marcel Sabitzer

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

6. Mitchell Weiser (Hertha Berlin)

Having learned at and then left Bayern Munich, Weiser has blossomed in Berlin. The right-back has shown his attacking talent as well as his defensive improvements, and is really benefiting from playing regularly.

At 22, this season is huge for Weiser. He hasn’t been at Hertha long, but he’s already the outstanding player in the team and it won’t be long before bigger clubs do more than just take note of Weiser’s talent. He's a Germany U21 regular, but the question will soon be how long Joachim Löw can ignore his development.

Defensively, his interception rate is high – he averages nearly three per game – yet Weiser still has the legs to contribute in attack. Pep Guardiola’s fingerprints remain, and that has left Hertha Berlin with a very exciting talent.

7. Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg)

His idol is Cristiano Ronaldo and his rapid development so far suggests much more is to come from Brekalo

The 18-year-old winger impressed in pre-season with his courage on the ball and desire to go for goal. Although still a little raw defensively, the Croatian continues to gather plenty of experience. He scored at the U19 Euros in 2015 and has already played for his country’s U21 team.

Surrounded by talented attacking players at Wolfsburg, Brekalo is in the perfect place to continue his development. The hope is he can use his dribbling talent to make more of an impact and get more playing time. His idol is Cristiano Ronaldo, and while Wolfsburg haven’t unearthed Croatia’s version of the Portuguese superstar, his rapid development so far suggests much more to come. Links with Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund might linger for a while yet. 

8. Marcel Sabitzer (Leipzig)

The 22-year-old is a strong and successful dribbler whose playmaking abilities are growing with each game

A whole host of talents will be on show at Leipzig this season, but ever-present Austrian attacking midfielder Marcel Sabitzer is maybe the best. 

The 22-year-old is a strong and successful dribbler whose playmaking abilities are growing with each game. Sabitzer is also perfectly suited to Leipzig’s style, as his counter-attacking threat is regularly on show. There's plenty of room to improve his passing and finishing yet, however, and Sabitzer’s development isn’t over despite his teenager years being well behind him.

His versatility – the forward has played left and right wing as well as up front – is also valued. Sabitzer joins the ranks of talented Austrian players who have successfully made the transition to German football (albeit via a loan spell at RB Salzburg), and his season should be fun to watch. If reports are to be believed, that's exactly what Liverpool and Manchester United will be doing. 

9. Maximilian Philipp (Freiburg)

Born in the capital, Philipp took a long road through various youth teams before getting his chance at Freiburg. While early-season predictions are always dangerous, the 22-year-old already looks a much-improved player than the one who was here last time Freiburg were in the top flight.

Philipp knows when to take on defenders, possess a fantastic long-range shot (see his goals vs Gladbach on matchday two) and is strong in the air. He recently made his debut for Germany’s U21s and there’s no doubt that this season will be defining for him.

What’s most exciting about the youngster is that he can play with both feet, which makes his positive style of play even more fun to watch. With the lingering concern of an ankle injury seemingly behind him, his play could well be one of the reasons Freiburg survive this season. 

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