The Bundesliga has earned a name for itself as being a domestic football league that produces loads of young players. That is reflected in the Germany national team’s success at major international tournaments over the last decade or so.
The 2013-14 German top-flight campaign also saw a number of young players make their mark and show signs that they are set for stardom in the not-so-distant future.
Below is our list of top five young players in the Bundesliga this season. For our list, we have considered players who were 21 or below at the start of 2014.
The Germany Under-21 international turned 22 only in March, so he still qualifies as a ‘young player’ in our list. The goalkeeper was a star in Bayer’s campaign and saved over 100 shots, as they maintained their place in the top four of the Bundesliga. Germany is blessed with a number of top goalkeepers, and Leno is one of them.
David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
The 21-year-old has not only been one of the best young players in Germany this season, but he has also been one of the best overall in Europe. Period. The Bayern Munich left-back has been a consistent figure under coach Pep Guardiola, featuring in 28 league matches. He also started all 12 of the German champions’ Champions League fixtures in 2013-14.
Hamburg have had a torrid season and are in serious danger of losing their top-flight status for the first time in history. However, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder cannot be blamed for their problems. The Turkey international has scored 11 goals and has provided four assists in just 28 league starts. Calhanoglu’s performance has sparked reports that both Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen are interested in him.
Hoffenheim ended the 2013-14 campaign in ninth place, and the 21-year-old’s goals were a key reason why. The youngster, who has already been capped by Germany at senior international level, scored 11 goals and provided four assists in 33 league appearances this season.
Max Meyer (Schalke)
The 18-year-old attacking midfielder is considered as one of the brightest prospects for the future, and if the 2013-14 is anything to go by, then he is already on his way up the ladder. The Schalke starlet started no fewer than 21 Bundesliga matches, scoring six goals and providing three assists in the process. His performances over the course of the season were so impressive that Germany coach Joachim Low included him in his 30-man provisional World Cup squad. He made his debut against Poland on Tuesday and it is clear that he is highly rated.