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Next-Gen Ten: 10 of Germany’s best young talents — Part 2

Here is the second part of this series. The list just keeps on going.

Italy U21 v Germany U21 - International Friendly Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Well, this is the second and final article about the best of the “lesser known” German youngsters. There shouldn’t be much preamble, just remember that more established players won’t be mentioned and that the players are all under 22.

Nelson Weiper, 17, ST, Mainz 05

We start this list off with yet another player from the class of 2005. Nelson Weiper is basically your classic number 9. The striker is really tall at 6’3”, very strong, can hold up play, find spaces in the penalty area and score goals. However, Weiper blends this skillset with more technical ability than one might expect of a stereotypical number 9, with a great first touch, dribbling abilities and some really decent link up play.

Weiper is part of a rather talented Mainz youth team and has done well to rise through the ranks, bagging 14 goals in 14 starts for the U-17s and a barely believable 9 goals in 4 starts for the U-19s in the 2021-22 season. And this season, he’s already made his debut for the senior side. Weiper seems well on his way to making progress. Germany generally does not produce many players like Weiper so Germany will hope he develops well.

Noel Aseko Nkili, 17, DM, Bayern Munich

Again, born in 2005. Noel Aseko Nkili has been making waves in the youth ranks for years as a tough and brilliant defensive midfielder. This is a rare commodity at such a young age, as defensive midfielders tend to require the positioning and discipline that one can only gain with maturity and experience. Yet Nkili is an exception to the rule, already possessing a lot of maturity, staying calm under pressure and acting as a real leader at times. His footballing qualities are, of course, also superb, as his tenacity in the tackle, defensive acumen and tidiness on the ball leave an onlooker very impressed.

He was by far the biggest star of Hertha Berlin’s academy for years, but the clout of the biggest club in Germany won Nkili over and he transferred to Bayern with just one year left on his contract in June of 2022. This is a massive coup for Bayern and the club’s youth recruitment, so the hope will be that Nkili will be able to develop consistently for the Bavarians. As with Weiper, Germany does not produce too many defensive midfielders so there will be a lot of fingers crossed for Nkili’s development.

Eyüp Aydin, 18, DM, Bayern Munich

This is perhaps a controversial pick, as Eyüp Aydin does not have nearly the same reputation as the likes of Nkili. Furthermore, he has been left out of Germany U-17 and U-19 teams consistently for years, so Aydin has made himself available for Turkey, who have immediately taken him into consideration for the U-21s. So why is Aydin on this list? Among other reasons, because the midfielder is an incredible distributor of the ball. Of all the players on the list, he is the most secure on the ball, with phenomenal vision, awareness and ability to think five steps ahead of the opposition to make sure the ball arrives at a teammates’ foot. His left foot is magic, capable of amazing short, mid or long range passes and he is a real leader, consistently giving orders in the middle of the pitch. What distinguishes him from Nkili is that Aydin’s off the ball game is worse and the latter does not have the speed to compensate for these issues, but that part of his game has noticeably improved in recent times.

Aydin has been a part of Bayern’s youth academy since he was 12, but his contract is up in 2023 and there have been no signs of an extension yet. If he goes, the hope will be that he can find a place where he can play with the first team right away.

Laurin Ulrich, 17, CM/AM, VFB Stuttgart

Laurin Ulrich is another youngster that exudes so much confidence and possesses so much trickery. He defines the term “problem solver” like few others, capable of bypassing opponents with a quick step to either, a few quick touches or a clever flick on. Ulrich is generally seen as a central midfielder but has played in various positions, including on the flanks and further up the pitch, due to his intelligence and versatility.

The 17 year old has quickly established himself in various German youth teams, becoming one of the most important players in possession and generally the guy people look to give the ball to. His progress in Stuttgart’s academy has been less about establishing himself and more about soaring through the ranks, going from the U-17s in 20/21 as a 15 year old to making his debut for the senior side just before the World Cup 2 years later. Ulrich looks set to push his way into Stuttgart’s first team plans very soon.

Tom Bischof, 17, CM, TSG Hoffenheim

A list of Germany’s greatest young talents would not be complete without Tom Bischof in it. This is not quite the case of saving the best for last, but this kid is truly one of the best. His left foot is truly fantastic, able to laser guide the ball to wherever Bischof desires it to go. His positioning off the ball is superb both offensively and defensively and he leads by example. At 5’8” he is very rather short for a footballer, but his other qualities more than make up for this flaw.

Bayern fans may remember that he snubbed the club last summer, deciding to instead sign a new deal with TSG Hoffenheim in the hope of getting first team action. So far, Bischof has appeared twice in the DFB Pokal and once in the Bundesliga, the latter appearance ironically against the Bavarian giants themselves. Were they flaunting him or something? However, this is very good for Bischof’s development and as Hoffenheim slowly bed the rising star into their side, his growth will only accelerate.

Final thoughts

There you have it, the list of 10 of the current most promising German youngsters. There are plenty more that could have made the list. For example, other 2005 talents such as Alexandre Azevedo or Samuele Di Benedetto, more established youngsters such as Malick Thiaw, Jonathan Burkhardt and Felix Nmecha, other striking talents such as Keke Topp and dual internationals such as Gabriel Vidović.

The goal of this article was to show that the future of Germany remains bright despite the second consecutive exit in the World Cup group stages and I hope I have been able to prove that or at least offer hope. Germany’s talent pool will not dry up for a long, long time.

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