7 Young German Soccer Players to Watch in 2020

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| April 12, 2020 2:30 am PDT
7 Young German Soccer Players to Watch in 2020

Germany is an undisputed powerhouse of international soccer, and the four-time World Cup-winning nation is renowned for producing elite players.

Over the years, the German national side has hosted some of the finest soccer players ever to play the game. Legendary names such as Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, and Miroslav Klose have all donned the famous white jersey, while almost every era has enjoyed success.

Unsurprisingly, Joachim Low’s current squad is packed with superstars. Manuel Neuer is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his generation, while Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos is closing in on 100 caps for his country.

But there is also a new crop of young talent breaking through at the moment. The Bundesliga is producing some seriously gifted players right now, so the national team is in safe hands for years to come.

Let’s take a closer look at the 7 young German soccer stars who are destined to shine in 2020.

Kai Havertz

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Bayer Leverkusen
  • Position: Attacking Midfield

Kai Havertz is undoubtedly the standout star of Germany’s next generation, so it’s no surprise that he’s being linked with a move to just about every major European club right now.

The youngster has already made over a century of senior appearances for Bayer Leverkusen, while breaking numerous records along the way.

Havertz became Bayer’s youngest-ever Bundesliga debutant back in 2016 and wasted no time in becoming the club’s youngest goalscorer. He is also the youngest player to rack up 50 and 100 Bundesliga appearances. You get the idea.

The adventurous midfielder has got it all. He’s technically gifted, strong with both feet, and confident in front of goal. He also travels with the ball effortlessly, enabling him to beat players with ease.

After excelling at youth level for Germany, Havertz was fast-tracked into the senior national side. The 20-year-old already has seven international caps to his name, and he’s destined to get many more.

Nick Woltemade

  • Age: 18
  • Club: Werder Bremen
  • Position: Forward

Nick Woltemade’s record of 16 goals in 16 appearances for Werder Bremen U19s this season cannot be ignored. The teenage striker is enjoying a remarkable breakthrough campaign, and he’s definitely got a big future ahead of him.

Not only has Woltemade scored at an average of one goal per game in 2019/20, but he’s also registered seven assists. These numbers are frighteningly good, so it’s surely only a matter of time before he’s challenging for a regular place in Werder’s first team.

In fact, Werder manager Florian Kohfeldt has already handed Woltemade two senior appearances. The forward started against Augsburg in February before coming off the bench against Borussia Dortmund.

Standing just shy of two meters tall, Woltemade is obviously a serious aerial threat. But he also boasts an excellent touch for such a tall player.

Having represented Germany at U16 and U17 level, I expect to see Woltemade pushing for a spot in Joachim Low’s senior squad if he continues to score at such a rapid rate.

Noah Katterbach

  • Age: 18
  • Club: FC Koln
  • Position: Left-Back

After gaining promotion to the Bundesliga with FC Koln last season, Noah Katterbach has caught the eye during his debut campaign in the German top flight.

The promising left-back has made 12 league appearances for the Billy Goats this term and has established himself as one of Germany’s hottest young prospects in the process.

With Koln spending much of the first half of the season languishing in the drop zone, it looked like the club was heading for a speedy return to the second tier.

But an astonishing run of eight wins in ten games quickly steered Koln clear of relegation trouble, and Katterbach played a starring role in his team’s surge up the table.

Inevitably, Katterbach’s mature displays haven’t gone unnoticed. Schalke is reportedly lining up a bid for the talented full-back, but Koln will be hoping to keep hold of their prized asset for as long as possible.

However, I don’t think it will be too long before Katterbach seals a big move to one of the country’s top clubs.

Dennis Geiger

  • Age: 21
  • Club: TSG Hoffenheim
  • Position: Central Midfield

At 21, Dennis Geiger isn’t exactly young for a soccer player. But there’s no denying that the Hoffenheim man deserves his place on this list.

Geiger is gradually developing into the complete package at the heart of Hoffenheim’s midfield. He rarely gives the ball away, enabling him to orchestrate the team’s play. Also, his pin-point set-piece deliveries cause no end of problems.

The 21-year-old is often compared to Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich, and it’s hard to argue with that. Like Kimmich, Geiger is extremely confident with the ball at his feet, while both players are superb at breaking down opposition attacks.

Geiger has featured prominently in Germany’s youth setup over the years and earned his first U21 cap in September following a bright start to the 2019/20 campaign.

He may not have been called up to the senior squad just yet. But if Geiger continues to light up the Bundesliga, I’m sure he’ll make his full Germany debut in the not too distant future.

Malick Thiaw

  • Age: 18
  • Club: Schalke 04
  • Position: Center-Back

Malick Thiaw was born in Germany to a Senegalese father and a Finnish mother. The defender is yet to commit his future to a national side, but after impressing for Schalke this season, I can see Germany snapping him up at the next available opportunity.

Thiaw was only handed his senior debut in March after shining at youth level. The towering center-back has netted an incredible nine goals from defense for Schalke U19s in 2019/20, proving that he’s a genuine threat at both ends of the pitch.

The wonderkid’s progress has understandably attracted suitors from all across Europe, with Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal all thought to be weighing up a move for Thiaw.

With his contract ending in 2021, Schalke is desperate to secure Thiaw on a long-term deal. But if he continues to excel, it’s highly likely that one of the Premier League’s big guns will lure him away.

Felix Agu

  • Age: 20
  • Club: Osnabruck/Werder Bremen
  • Position: Right-Back

While the majority of young German stars make a name for themselves in the Bundesliga, Felix Agu currently plies his trade for second-tier outfit Osnabruck.

However, following a stellar campaign in the 2. Bundesliga, Agu was signed by top-flight club Werder Bremen in February and will join the River Islanders at the end of the season.

Agu’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. Less than a year ago, he won the third-tier title with his hometown club. Fast forward to today, and he’s secured a deal with four-time Bundesliga champion Werder.

Agu’s record of six assists in 19 league appearances this term is an admirable return for a full-back, so I’m confident that he’ll prove to be a shrewd acquisition for Bremen.

With two U21 caps already under his belt, Agu’s impending transfer will no doubt boost his chances of a senior call-up for Germany.

Malik Tillman

  • Age: 17
  • Club: Bayern Munich
  • Position: Attacking Midfield

Malik Tillman is one of the most complete 17-year-olds in world soccer. His versatility means he can play anywhere across midfield, while he is also comfortable leading the line.

If you were unaware of Tillman’s age, there’s no way you’d think he was a teenager. The Bayern Munich prodigy is extremely well-built for someone so young, and he’s quickly gained a reputation for bullying opposition defenders.

Tillman joined Bayern’s academy at the age of 13 and has been scoring goals for fun this season. The young hotshot has netted 13 times in 17 league games for Die Roten’s U19s, while seven assists prove that he’s more than just a goalscorer.

Thanks to his American father, Tillman represented USA at U15 level. But he has since made eleven appearances for Germany’s U17s, scoring twice.

Given Tillman’s outstanding record this year, Germany manager Low will be eager to ensure that the gifted youngster pledges his allegiance to the country of his birth.

Does Germany Have the Best Young Soccer Stars?

Germany last won the World Cup in 2014, and with so many exciting young players coming through the ranks at the moment, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before the European nation reigns supreme once again.

Personally, I’m especially looking forward to watching Kai Havertz progress in the coming years. The Bayer Leverkusen man is already an incredible player, and he’s only going to get better.

If you can think of any other young German players that deserve a mention, why not leave a comment with your own suggestions?

And if you’re looking for more content like this, head over to our soccer blog.

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