Everything you need to know about... Matthias Ginter
The 60-second story
After modest beginnings at SV March, Ginter secured a move to Freiburg’s youth team in 2005, where he won the Junior DFB-Pokal. He was initially regarded as a bright midfield prospect, but various injuries in the first team and the departure of a number of players in the winter transfer window of 2012 led to the tall youngster playing in defence. The management didn't need much convincing. From then it was obvious he had all the attributes to make it at the back, and he's retained his place ever since.
Ginter has featured in every game of the Bundesliga season so far, and made his Germany debut against Chile in March. He'd previously represented Die Mannschaft at U18, U19 and U21 level, and won Fritz Walter gold medals (awarded to the best youngsters in Germany) for the former pair in 2012 and 2013.
- Date of birth: 19 January, 1994
- Place of birth: Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
- Position: Centre-back
- Club: SC Freiburg; 76 apps, 5 goals
- Country: Germany; 1 cap, 0 goals
Unsurprisingly, his feats haven't gone unnoticed. Manchester United (among others) are circling, having deployed David Moyes to watch him in action earlier in the campaign.
Why you need to know him
Given the embarrassment of riches at Joachim Löw's disposal, it's testament to Ginter’s ability that he is already involved with a Germany squad featuring the likes of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Per Mertesacker. A World Cup isn't a bad place to showcase your talents to prospective employers, especially with a departure from middling Freiburg not far around the corner. Even if he doesn't feature in Brazil, as is likely, expect him to become a household name in years to come.
The imposing stopper is blessed with a fine reading of the game, and remains surprisingly nippy on his feet. His height means he's clearly well suited to the physical demands of his position. Physically imposing with excellent distribution, it's unsurprising that Ginter found his natural position as a centre-back after starting life as a goal-getting attacking midfielder. He was pretty good at that too, mind, netting 21 goals in 39 appearances for Freiburg's U19s.
Inexperience. At 20, Ginter still has a lot to learn, and with no Champions League experience playing in a team battling relegation it is clear he needs to turn out for a club with greater European ambitions in order to make the step up. Freiburg qualified for this season's Europa League, where Ginter played in five games, but they won't do it this time out. Luckily for him there's still plenty of time for that yet.
Freiburg chairman Fritz Keller said (hopingly): "He has a long-term contract and for a player his age, it may be interesting to stay another year for stability. It's better to stay than sitting on the bench for one of the big clubs.” Keller is hopeful that a new stadium may entice him to stay for another season.
Did you know…
Ginter was the 900th player to turn out for Germany. He also became the youngest-ever player to score for Freiburg two days after his 18th birthday.
What happens next?
Much depends on the fate of Freiburg and their battle against relegation, as well as the defender’s opportunities with Germany at the World Cup. Expect his stock to rise whatever happens. Freiburg will certainly want paying appropriately for their star man's services, but with Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand out of the door at Old Trafford this summer, the time could be nigh for the Reds to re-stock and look to the future.
Shooting 6 • Heading 8 • Passing 6 • Tackling 8 • Pace 6 • Dribbling 7 • Creativity 5 • Work-rate 8