In this current age of football, we are all excited by young, world-class talents who have firmly established themselves as first-team players for both club and country.

The emergence of a young German national team has in turn helped the Bundesliga to blossom, with three clubs in the Champions League knock-out stages as case in point. 

The league has always had a domestic bias, which has enabled them to produce talented national sides over the years and with the recent boom in young German talent, there may be more than just a handful of potential 'world-beaters' on the way. 

Leon Goretzka - VfL Bochum 1848

The talented Goretzka plies his trade at Bochum in Germany's second tier, Bundesliga 2. 

At the tender age of 17, the 6ft 2" defensive midfielder has already racked up 19 first-team appearances and has been widely praised for his vision, strength and leadership qualities, leading many to believe that he could be a key player for both club and country in years to come. 

Many of Europe's top clubs are already keeping a close eye on Leon, with Barcelona reportedly having a bid rejected last summer. However, Bochum are currently in 17th and only four points from the relegation zone,  and it may be more of a question of 'when' will Goretzka be sold, rather than 'if'.

Levin Öztunali - Hamburger SV

16-year-old Öztunali is a gifted deep-lying midfielder, currently playing for the Hamburg youth team. 

Born into a footballing family, his father, Mete Öztunali, is a Hamburg youth coach and his maternal grandfather, Uwe Seeler, is one of Germany's greatest-ever strikers having made his debut for Hamburg at 16. 

The young playmaker is currently sought after by the likes of Bayern Munich, but it's not hard to see why, as Levin has been impressing at youth level for both club and country having scored three goals in 12 appearances for HSV Under 19s this season.

Matthias Ginter - SC Freiburg

This up and coming centre-back became Freiburg's youngest ever goalscorer just two days after his 18th birthday.

Freiburg were short of players at the time and were nearing a vital fixture against relegation rivals, FC Augsburg.

Young Ginter was called up to train with the first-team and re-paid his manager's faith by converting a late header that won Freiburg the game 1-0. 

Now, the 19-year-old is equally adept at playing in an anchorman role in the heart of midfield, due his 6ft 2" frame, having good vision and anticipation to break-up play.

He has racked up 22 senior appearances in the Bundesliga and is a current German Under 19 International.

However, his rapid progression could see him get promoted to the German Under 21 set-up. 

Last year, Ginter picked up the Fritz Walter Medal in the Under 18 category. 

This medal, named after World Cup-winning captain Fritz Walter, is awarded to the most talented youth players in Germany within the Under 19, Under 18, Under 17 and Female categories.

Previous recipients prior to Ginter have included Mario Götze (Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Schalke) and Toni Kroos (Bayern). 

With time on his side and developing at a club offering him minutes on the pitch, Ginter is able to perform comfortably with little pressure that will help him gain valuable experience throughout his career. 

Leonardo Bittencourt - Borussia Dortmund

Like the majority of Dortmund's first-team squad from their academy, Bittencourt's potential was evident when he played for Energie Cottbus in Germany's second tier from the age of 16. 

Dortmund signed a pre-contract with the young midfielder in December 2011 with Bittencourt seeing out the season with Cottbus, before joining his new team-mates. The 19-year-old is a central attacking midfielder by trade, capable of playing as a 'False number 9', as well as down the wings.

Due to his small stature, he is very agile, quick and capable of taking on his man and bringing others into play. 

He is currently a German Under 21 international, but is also eligible to play for Brazil, as he has a Brazilian father, but he is likely to play for his home nation.

With Dortmund being blessed with attacking flair and discipline, Bittencourt's arrival at the club would ensure that the Bundesliga holders would be stocked in quality for years to come. Dortmund's manager, Jürgen Klopp, stated that he would like to slowly introduce his gifted attacker into the first-team set-up, as he has done in the past with players, such as Götze and Robert Lewandowski. 

This has allowed the youngster time to develop his talent by training with the senior squad and playing for the reserves, where he has earned plaudits for his contributions in build-up play, goals and assists.

He was given his Bundesliga debut in Dortmund's 2-1 home defeat to Schalke in the Revierderby and his DFB-Pokal debut against Hannover 96 in which he assisted Lewandowski to complete the 5-1 rout. 

The advantage of being at a big club, such as Dortmund, is that they have the facilities to ensure that their younger players are able to stand the best chance of breaking into the senior side and this is evident as Götze, Marco Reus, Marcel Schmelzer and Kevin Großkreutz are only some of the players that have come through Dortmund's famed academy and gone onto play for the senior side and win international caps.

Bittencourt is on the right path and with Klopp around, he stands a very good chance of making it, also with the recent departure of Ivan Perišić, there may be further opportunities for the former Cottbus midfielder to impress. 

 

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