In light of Germany getting knocked out in the group stages of the World Cup, many fans are despairing about Germany’s future. Aside from the likes of Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, are there any young players who can become world stars and lead Germany to glory again? Yes, absolutely. There are a lot of extremely talented young German players. The 2005 generation, in particular, is shaping up to be exceptionally promising.
For the sake of bringing something new to the table, this article will not be discussing the more well known talents that could potentially become stars for Germany, specifically Youssoufa Moukoko, Karim Adeyemi, Paul Wanner, Wirtz, and Musiala. The point is to talk about some of the young and bright talents-21 years of age and under- that the casual Germany fan may not have heard of. So who are these players, you may be asking?
Tarek Buchmann, 17, CB, Bayern Munich
Tarek Buchmann is probably the brightest young talent Germany has in defense. The Bayern Munich youngster has impressed for years now due to his sheer speed and power in defense as well as his tidiness on the ball, all of which are absolute essentials for a modern defender. And despite his young age, Buchmann is not one for making mistakes, instead oozing confidence and calmness far beyond his age. Anyone who watched him at the U-19 Euros will have come away impressed by the young German, where his duels with a certain Mathys Tel were a treat for the eyes. He has been struggling with injuries as of late (as Bayern fans, we’re used to that) but if injuries don’t stop him, there seems little that can. Recent reports have suggested that coach Julian Nagelsmann has integrated Buchmann into first team training with most of the first team at the World Cup and may keep him there even after the first team players return. That is good news for Bayern fans, Germany fans and those of us who want reruns of the Tel vs Buchmann duels. Buchmann is a player who can go very far and considering that Germany’s talent at CB is rather meagre, that could be extremely important.
Lazar Samardžić, 20, CM, Udinese
It is truly criminal how under the radar Samardžić has been, considering his exploits and talent. At 20-years-old, he is one of the more senior players on this list but despite his slightly lackluster reputation in relation to his talent, he is still an exceptionally promising player. Samardžić is an absolute magician with the ball at his feet, specializing in finding solutions nobody else could spot. His dribbling, awareness and passing range are all superb and that helps him dominate the pitch in his effortless style. He’s played in multiple positions over the years, but he seems to prefer a roaming role in midfield.
After breaking through at Hertha Berlin, he committed the cardinal sin of moving to RB Leipzig for the 2020/21 season, though Samardžić thankfully realized his error just a year later and moved to Udinese. His first season at the club was somewhat underwhelming, but this current campaign Samardžić has so far played in every single Udinese game bar one, getting three goals and one assist at an average of a goal contribution every 130 minutes. If Samardžić continues to establish himself at Udinese, he might well become a candidate for the 2024 Euros.
Kevin Schade, 21, FW, SC Freiburg
Kevin Schade is an enigma. Truly, a very unique player. He broke through at SC Freiburg last season and, despite a terrible injury that kept him out for over half a year, has managed to fight his way back into the team again. Kevin Schade is one of the most direct footballers in the world, possessing a single track mind to move the ball towards goal in any way possible. And due to his freakish athletic prowess, he is capable of doing that better than most players in the world. He is one of the three quickest players in the Bundesliga, consistently competing and sometimes beating the speed of even Alphonso Davies. Schade’s dribbling abilities are also fantastic, reminiscent of the Canadian star, while he packs a lot of punch behind his shots. Not only that, but with a 6’1” build and a truly incredible leap, he is a fantastic aerial threat as well. Bayern fans may remember when he leaped so high he beat an outstretched Neuer to a ball falling from the sky. From pace to power to the ability to outjump anyone, Schade has got any physical ability one could ask for from a footballer.
A look at Schade’s Fbref stats is also quite amusing. He ranks in the 99th percentile for non-penalty goals, 97th percentile for non-penalty xG, 90th percentile for non-penalty expected goals and expected assists and 91st percentile for total shots for players in the world in his position. Yet he also ranks in the 1st percentile for passes attempted, passes completed, pass completion rate, total passing distance and progressive passing distance. I think this sums up Schade as a player. He struggles to get himself involved in games at times and needs to work on his off the ball movement, but he always gets something done with the limited times he gets the ball. And if he can progress further at Freiburg and turn this beautiful, crazy blend of skills into a complete package, he will be an absolute star.
Arijon Ibrahimović, 17, FW, Bayern Munich
Wanner may be off limits from this discussion, but fellow Bayern jewel Arijon Ibrahimović is not. Both Wanner and Ibra have been the crown jewels of Bayern’s academy, but in recent years the former has clearly taken a few more steps than the latter. That is not to say that Ibrahimović is by any means failing, though. He is currently on 10 goals and two assists in nine games in the U-19 Bundesliga for a struggling U-19 Bayern side and has recently been invited to train with the senior team as well.
Ibrahimović has played in various positions across the front line, but has recently found more of a home on the right. Ibrahimović is fast, strong, confident, extremely skilled on the ball and can hit a free kick so sweetly. He can be somewhat inconsistent but he makes up for it in spades with his quality. This kid is so talented and he can reach the very top with the right attitude and work ethic.
Sidney Raebiger, 17, CM, Greuther Fürth
Raebiger has had big clubs after him for a long time and it’s not hard to see why. He’s a very hard working midfielder with an eye for a pass and the creativity to continually unlock the opposition defense. When things don’t go well, he’s the first to take charge and drag everyone else up with him. Raebiger is also usually the central hub of the midfield, consistently recycling possession and letting the play run through him. Considering his overall style and his somewhat lacking height, he has a very similar playing style to Kimmich.
He’s actually a youth player out of RB Leipzig’s ranks (ew), but he moved to Greuther Fürth in the summer of 2022 in order to get some first team football. Due to injuries, that has so far not gone to plan but if Raebiger can collect significant playing time in the second division at 17, he will be well on his way to fulfilling his potential.