German football is awash with so much young star talent that it would have been possible to construct an entire list dedicated solely to the Bundesliga’s ability to successfully nurture youth. However, one player in particular has enjoyed a continued rise in the last year and is seen as one of Die Mannschaft’s brightest upcoming gems.
Schalke 04’s 19-year-old midfield sensation Julian Draxler has even put the injured Mario Gotze in the shade since the turn of the year. After a revelatory 2012-13 campaign, the German international has spurned offers from the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City in order to stay in Gelsenkirchen, as reported by ESPN's Stephan Uersfeld.
Now with the Royal Blues better equipped to challenge for the title, can Draxler lead his boyhood club to an unlikely title? "Unlikely" is the key word there, but with such talents as Leon Goretzka, Christian Clemens and Max Meyer reinvigorating Jens Keller’s side, Schalke will be an exciting team to watch.
With Champions League football once again coming to the Veltins-Arena should the German side dispatch Greek side PAOK—who replace disqualified Metalist Kharkiv as Schalke’s opponents—Draxler’s development will continue.
How much longer can the seven-time German champions continue to harness a player of the teenager’s potential without winning a first domestic title since 1958, though?