Bundesliga: Top 10 Young Players in Germany This Season
The Bundesliga is arguably one of the most entertaining leagues in the world.
With high-scoring games, end-to-end play, attacking teams and talented young players, German football is definitely something to watch.
The likes of Hoffenheim, Hamburg and former champions Wolfsburg have struggled so far, but sides like Dortmund, Leverkusen and surprise packages Borussia Mönchengladbach have set the league alight, with several players in particular impressing.
So without further ado, let's look at the top 10 youngsters of the season so far.
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Mario Gotze: not quite as impressive as last season.
Shinji Kagawa: has blown hot and cold this year.
Ilkay Gundogan: a decent, if unspectacular, replacement for Sahin.
Marko Marin: trying his best in a poor Bremen side.
André Schurrle: finding it hard to replicate last season's form.
Marc-André Ter Stegen
The precociously talented 19-year-old goalie has endured a baptism of fire this season.
Ter Stegen was one of the outstanding Gladbach players as they battled to earn a 1-0 opening-day win against Bayern Munich.
The goalkeeping prodigy, who recently signed a new contract with his club Borussia Monchengladbach, cemented his place in the side after making his debut in April this year, and he hasn't looked back since.
Lasogga is one of the brightest lights in Hertha Berlin's squad this season.
The 19-year-old striker scored six goals in preseason. Unfortunately, he was injured before opening day and missed over a month of action.
However, this hasn't held back the pacy German, as Lasogga has gone on to win matches single-handedly, scoring six goals in the process and replacing Canadian forward Rob Friend in attack.
As a Werder Bremen fan, I was delighted to see the back of Martin Harnik.
The Austrian international was lazy, wildly inconsistent, erratic and sometimes anonymous in games.
However, the 24-year-old has proved myself and the majority of German football fans wrong with some outstanding play at new club Stuttgart, which has propelled the side into the Europa League places.
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The Bender brothers have won over many fans in the past few months.
With Sven at Dortmund and Lars at Leverkusen, the defensive midfielders have played crucial roles in victories for their respective sides.
However, it is arguably Sven at Dortmund who has had the better year so far, as his vital interceptions, pinpoint passes and through-balls have put his side in the top three.
Like his fellow countryman Ter Stegen, young Bernd Leno has enjoyed a remarkable first half of the season.
The 19-year-old was loaned out in August from Stuttgart to Bayer Leverkusen for six months as cover for Rene Adler, but four days after arriving in Leverkusen, Leno made his debut for the club.
After a sterling maiden performance, manager Robin Dutt showed faith in the teenager by persisting with him in goal, and he soon became the third goalkeeper in Bundesliga history to keep a clean sheet in his first three league games.
The young German continued to break records. On September 13, 2011, at the age of 19 years and 193 days, Leno became the youngest ever German goalkeeper to play in a Champions League match, when his side faced Chelsea.
Leverkusen made the transfer permanent just last week in a deal that keeps Leno with Bayer until 2017.
He's taken a while to find his feet, but Robert Lewandowski finally got going.
The 23-year-old only scored nine goals last season for Borussia Dortmund, but this year, the imposing centre-forward has already bagged 14.
Boss Jurgen Klopp now seems to prefer him to experienced striker Lucas Barrios.
The Polish superstar was signed for £4.1m from Lech Poznan in 2010, and his value is expected to rocket after next year's European Championships.
This is one player you definitely want to keep an eye on.
English-born Lewis Holtby is a superstar with rockets attached to his boots.
The sky's the limit for the 21-year-old, who took his time to reach his full potential but has now seized the opportunity with both hands.
Holtby, who is a massive Everton fan, has already been linked with big-money moves away—and it's hard not to see why, with his impressive close-control, dribbling skills and shooting ability.
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It's taken a while, but Toni Kroos has finally blossomed into the player he originally promised to be.
Ever since winning the Golden Ball at the U-17's World Cup in 2007, Kroos has been burdened by the weight of high expectations, and it looked for some time that he would fail to take off.
However, after a successful 18-month loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen under current Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes, the 21-year-old has gone from strength to strength and has already played a key part in Bayern's title challenge this year.
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Bayern Munich will still be shaking their heads at the one who got away—Mats Hummels.
The teenager, who Bayern sold just two seasons ago, has now transformed into one of Europe's up-and-coming defenders, with dominant aerial displays, commanding performances and even some goals, catapulting him to the forefront of Borussia Dortmund's talented squad.
The 6'3" centre-back will no doubt be a part of the German squad at next summer's European Championships.
The footballing world is going mad for Marco Reus.
Arsenal, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona are just a few of the teams who are eager to sign up the unbelievably gifted 22-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach playmaker.
"Rolls-Reus," as Gladbach fans have dubbed him, not only has the engine of the aforementioned vehicle, but also the speed, acceleration and class of one.
Throw in some trickery, incredible dribbling skills and wonderful shooting ability, and you have the Bundesliga's most impressive player this season, hands down.
Reus has been at the forefront of Gladbach's charge for the title, most notably smashing a hat trick past Werder Bremen a few weeks ago in a 5-0 romp.
Marco's side were expected to be staving off relegation, but instead, they're fighting it out alongside the likes of Bayern and Dortmund.
And if Gladbach can hold onto their prized player for just a little longer, who knows what could happen?