Inspired by an article on the best young players in the Serie A, I have decided to publish my take on the best young players in the current Bundesliga campaign. My judgement is solely based on recent performances. I have included the average grades given by German football magazine "Kicker", but my selection is not based on those grades (explanation of the grade system: "1" (A) is the best , "6" (F) the worst possible grade).
Goalkeeper: Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen, 23 y.o.)
(14 Bundesliga matches, average kicker grade: 2.89)
Rene Adler is one of the rising stars in German football. The East German goalkeeping sensation has made his Bundesliga debut two seasons ago and has managed to become Germany`s no.1 - earning accolades for his debut match against Russia.
However, after two flawless seasons at Leverkusen he also had to deal with some major setbacks this season: a mistake in the friendly against England and some mediocre performances at club level. Nevertheless, Rene Adler is still the best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga.
Left Back: Stefano Celozzi (Karlsruher SC, 20 y.o.)
(15 matches, average kicker grade: 3.36)
Stefano Celozzi is the product of Bayern Munich`s acclaimed youth system. At the age of 16, Hermann Gerland, the legendary coach of Bayern`s reserve team, invited him to play for Bayern II and he soon established himself as a regular in the third division of German football.
After three seasons in Bayern`s reserve team, Celozzi made the next step and moved on the Karlruhe for a mere 200,000 euros. Bayern will likely regret his sale. The German-Italian has left a strong impression after the first half of the season and was voted Karlsruhe`s best player in an online poll.
Centre Back: "Geromel" (1.FC Cologne, 23 y.o.)
(17 matches, average kicker grade: 2.94)
The tall and pacy Brazilian Tonon Pedro Geromel moved to Cologne from Portuguese club Vitoria Guimaraes last summer and quickly established himself as one of the best centre backs in the Bundesliga. At times world-class, Geromel`s performances are one of the main reasons newly promoted Cologne has finished the first half of the season in eleventh place with little worries about relegation.
Centre Back: Neven Subotic (Borussia Dortmund, 20 y.o.)
(17 matches, average kicker grade: 3.29)
Neven Subotic has become one of the most discussed topics among American football fans. Although he represented the US at youth tournaments, Neven has recently decided that he wants to play for the country of his heritage, Serbia, in the future. Subotic has risen to one of the best centre backs of the German top flight. He belongs to a new generation of centre backs who read the game and are capable of containing forwards without using tackles.
Furthermore his height make him dangerous at set pieces and he has already scored five goals in his first Bundesliga season. Recently, rumours have emerged that he was heading to Serie A side SSC Naples. He quickly rubbished those talks on his facebook site: "Guys, calm down, I am staying at Dortmund..." Dortmund fans hope that he will stay for years to come.
Right Back: Andreas Beck (TSG Hoffenheim, 21 y.o.)
(16 Bundesliga matches, average grade: 3.00)
Andreas Beck is not the typical footballer - he spends his spare time reading books written by Nietzsche and Dostoewski and publishes book reviews on his personal website. He has good technical skills and creates danger when he links up with Hoffenheim`s attacking play.
Kicker magazine has just voted him to be the Bundesliga`s second best wide back after Philipp Lahm (kicker: "They are exceptions but they do exist: defenders who can contain Bayern`s Ribery. One of them was in the first half of the season Andreas Beck - a true sign of quality")
Beck has come a long way - literally: He was born in the Siberian town of Kemorovo and moved to Germany when he was three years old, since his parents were of German descent (Volga Germans as they are called in English) and thus qualified for German citizenship.
He began his professional career at VFB Stuttgart, but despite showing great potential he didn`t get enough match practice and decided to switch to Hoffenheim rejecting an offer from Spartak Moscow. His move paid off and his (so far) outstanding form might rather sooner than later earn him his debut for the German national team.
Left Midfielder: Marko Marin (Gladbach, 19 y.o.)
(17 matches, average grade: 3.25)
Many football fans might associate ZZ with Zinedine Zidane, but it is also short for Zauberzwerg (German for "magic midget"), the nickname of Marko Marin. Although Gladbach finds itself in last place after the first half of the season Marko Marin has impressed so far. The 19 year old Serbian-born midfielder is one of Germany`s greatest talents.
Marin has celebrated his debut for the German national team this season and you can expect to hear more of the small and skillful winger in the years ahead. In a recent interview Marin has stated his desire to play in the Champions` League - which makes Gladbach fans worry that they might lose their best player in the near future, and should alert Europe`s top clubs to make efforts for his signature.
If you want to see Marko`s first goal for Germany just follow that link:
Centre Midfield: Renato Augusto ( Bayer Leverkusen, 20 y.o.)
(17 bundesliga matches, average grade: 2.79)
Renato Augusto came to Bayer Leverkusen last summer and is the latest of a number of high calibre Brazilians who have signed for the German pharmaceutical giant`s football team in the recnt past. In the first half of the season Renato Augusto has been the most impressive midfielder bar Franck Ribery in the German top flight. Sooner or later, he will move on to a bigger club, but until that happens Leverkusen fans enjoy the former Flamengo star`s dribblings and decisive passes.
Centre Midfield: Sami Khedira (VFB Stuttgart, 21 y.o.)
(14 Bundesliga matches, average grade: 3.13)
Sami Khedira has already won the Bundesliga title in his first season as a professional football player at Stuttgart. The son of a Tunisian father and German mother is physically strong with good technical skills and extremely dangerous in the air. He has been one of the best players at Stuttgart this season and his two goals against Bayern along with his high work-rate in the defensive midfield earned him a place among the best young players of the Bundesliga season.
Right Midfielder: Kuba Blaszczykowski
(17 Bundesliga matches, 3.19)
In his first season at Dortmund, Kuba Blaszczykowski had problems to adapt himself to his new environment. But this season Kuba`s performance at club level and in the Polish national team have been truly eye-opening. The former Wisla Krakow player has become Dortmund`s most dangerous forward whose dazzling dribblings cause shock and awe within enemy defenses.
He has just been named Poland`s footballer of the year (ahead of Artur Boruc) and rumours about Liverpool being interested in signing the "Polish Figo" just won`t go away.
Forward: Chinedu Obasi (TSG Hoffenheim, 22 years)
(12 matches, average grade: 2.59)
With all the buzz about Hoffenheim`s leading striker Ibisevic, the name Obasi has often fallen under the table. But in my opinion, the powerful and technically skilled Obasi is the most talented of Hoffenheim`s impressive forwards. At the start of the season, Obasi was Nigeria`s star player at the Beijing Olympics and hence missed the first few games of Hoffenheim`s Bundesliga campaign.
But when he returned to his club, he soon made himself a name in the Bundesliga scoring 6 goals and giving three assists. Apparently, Chelsea wants to secure his services—Chinedu`s friend Obi Mikel is already playing for the Londoners.
Forward: Edin Dzeko (VFL Wolfsburg, 22 y.o.)
(15 matches, average grade: 3.27)
The current Bundesliga season could be dubbed "The year of the Bosnians" as so many of them have become the stars of the league: Ibisevic, Misimovic, Salihovic and last but not least Edin Dzeko.
The powerful striker has been on fire this season with five goals and seven assists in his curriculum vitae. The tall and powerful forward has not only become one of the Bundesliga`s best strikers, but he has also scored four goals in Wolfsburg`s current Uefa Cup campaign.
Substitutes: Neuer (Schalke) - Höwedes (Schalke), Compper (Hoffenheim), Boenisch (Werder), Hummels (Dortmund), Santana (Dortmund), Henrique (Leverkusen), Tasci (Stuttgart)- Weis (Hoffenheim), Diego (Werder), Carlos Eduardo (Hoffenheim), Özil (Werder), Barnetta (Leverkusen), Kacar (Hertha Berlin), Kroos (Bayern), Ottl (Bayern) - Ba (Hoffenheim), Fenin (Frankfurt), Gomez (Stuttgart), Podolski (Bayern)