German football has undergone a radical and paradigm shifting change in the last decade. Our perception of the whole German footballing philosophy which was deemed as ‘muscular and unattractive’ has come to a halt as their new attacking & exhilarating style of play has succeeded in making us sit and watch them in awe.
The revamped ‘German brand of football’ which relies on intelligence than on brute force, has dominated world football in the last two years much like how Spain’s revolutionary ‘tiki-taka’ did in the last decade.
It took 10 years for 'Die Mannschaft' to reach where they are now. From the dismal and mortifying showings at the 1998 World Cup and the European Championships two years later, the recently crowned world champions have come a long way.
The DFB’s resolute modus operandi in bringing a stringent and desperate change in the country’s set up, particularly at the grassroots levels, is finally paying dividends. We are witnessing a youth footballing revolution in Germany as a new breed of young, athletic and intelligent players are being produced on a yearly basis.
Or so it seems. From Thomas Muller, Marco Reus and Mario Götze to the latest bunch of Max Meyer, Julian Draxler and Matthias Ginter, it’s a seemingly endless cycle.
In this report I’ve focused my attention on a particular young player who’s starting to turn a few heads in the Bundesliga. VfB Stuttgart’s 18-year-old forward Timo Werner is fast establishing himself as one of the best players under the age of 21 on the planet...
Full Name: Timo Werner
D.O.B: 6th March 1996.
Born and raised in the German city of Stuttgart, Werner is much loved at his home club. He joined Stuttgart’s academy at the tender age of six and a decade or so later, aged just 17 years, four months and 25 days, he made his debut for the club in a 2013-14 Europa League qualifying match against Bulgarian outfit PFC Botеv Plovdiv. Thus becoming Stuttgart’s youngest ever player in an official game.
The striker’s progress since then has been expeditious to say the least. Two months later, he scored his first goal for the club against Eintracht Frankfurt. Werner went into the history books once again when he became the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score two goals in a game.
The forward scored a brace against SC Freiberg in Stuttgart’s 3-1 victory. By the end of the 2013-14 Bundesliga season, Werner had already made 35 appearances for Stuttgart across all competitions and scored five goals in the process. A colossal feat for the then 17-year-old plying his trade in one of the best leagues in the world.
Stuttgart fans have high hopes for Werner and expect him to reach the dizzying heights of world football. The youngster recently became the club’s leading shirt seller. The 18-year-old left beat the likes of Vedad Ibisevic, Martin Harnik and captain Christian Gentner in becoming the most popular player among Stuttgart fans.
This remarkable achievement is just a testimony to the fans’ hopes and faith in the youngster.
Werner has represented Germany on various youth levels. He has a particularly impressive record with the German U-17s scoring 18 goals in 16 appearances in the 2012-13 calendar year.
Strengths and Weaknesses
One of the key aspects of Werner’s game is his reliance on pace. He is very fast and likes to dribble and take on defenders. With a physique like Mario Gomez and bags of pace to go with it, Werner has the ability to terrorise defences. With that kind of pace, Werner is a serious counter attacking threat to opponents.
The 18-year-old will blossom with a good supply line behind him like the trio of Marco Reus, Mesut Özil and Mario Götze forming a three-man attack and Werner operating as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Werner is also an incredible player on the wings. His most impressive performance in a Stuttgart shirt came in a game he started on the left wing and scored a brace against Freiburg, both superb solo efforts.
He averaged 1.3 shots per game in the 2013-14 Bundesliga season and had a pass completion rate of 73.1%. Not bad for a player of that age. One key aspect of his game that Werner needs to work on is his finishing and long range passing, both of which have let him down from time to time.
Werner will hope to ride the German tsunami that’s hellbent on destroying any team that comes their way. The young striker should be expected to make the German national team squad for the 2016 European Championship if he continues to develop the way he is.