In a week where the limelight was at its blinding brightest to focus on the match up between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, a familiar trend was playing out in the Bundesliga shadows. Across the country there were some star performances from a number of prodigious talents, and one only need consult WhoScored's team of the week to gather as much.
Of the top rated XI five were under the age of 23. Mainz’s Stefan Bella and Loris Karius joined Gladbach’s duo of Patrick Herrmann and Christoph Kramer. Elsewhere, at left-back, there was a place for Leverkusen's 19-year old Emre Can, while outside of the team of the week there was a man of the match performance from fellow teenager Maximillian Arnold as he netted his fourth goal in 5 games for Wolfsburg.
In this article we give you a rundown of the top 6 rated Bundesliga teenagers thus far, with the fact that neither Can or Arnold make our leaderboard evidence enough of the abundance of talent coming through the youth ranks in Germany right now.
6. Timo Werner (Stuttgart) - 6.93
He may well be the most talked about teenager in Germany at present but Stuttgart's Timo Werner only comes in at six in our study, with a WhoScored.com rating of 6.93 thus far. The winger only turned 17 in March but such is his raw talent that he's becoming a key threat for Thomas Schneider's side. With 3 goals to his name in 11 league appearances, the left-sided trickster stole the show with a brace against Freiburg before the international break and he's got two assists to his name to boot this season.
He's a player full of confidence, completing a dribble every 28 minutes thus far, though with age he will need to pick and choose his moments more wisely. A 63% success rate is certainly not to be sniffed at but of the 50 players to complete at least 20 dribbles in the Bundesliga that ranks 35th. Improvements in his teamwork (0.5 key passes per game) and overall involvement in general play (15.1 passes per game) will also come with time but Werner is undoubtedly one to keep an eye on.
5. Matthias Ginter (Freiburg) - 6.95
Having made his debut just days after his 18th birthday, the fact that Matthias Ginter is now just one game away from a 50th Bundesliga appearance for Freiburg speaks volumes of the esteem in which the young centre-back is held at the club. Since a substitute appearance against Augsburg in January 2012 Ginter has featured in 49 of a possible 63 league games for the club, playing every single minute of the current campaign - one of only thirteen Bundesliga outfielders to do so.
A cultured defender, the 19-year old is averaging 56.5 passes per game this season - the second most in the Freiburg squad - while his accuracy from said attempts is at a team high of 88.2%. Only six centre-backs in the division have a superior success rate and Ginter also impresses when it comes to intercepting opposition passes, with 2.2 per game. While he's comfortable with the ball at his feet, the teenager is also a force in the air, winning 3.2 aerial duels per game.
4. Niklas Süle (Hoffenheim) - 7.07
Hoffenheim may have the joint worst defensive record in the Bundesliga (30 conceded) but it's hard to portion much of the blame to 18-year old centre-back Süle, who made his first start for the club last month. He's played from kick-off in the last 5 matches and performed admirably for the most part in an open and attacking side. A goal against Bayern Munich will live long in the memory for the centre-back, who will hope to help Hoffenheim sure things up at the opposite end.
Despite being just 18, Süle is an intimidating presence in the backline, standing at over 6'4" tall. It comes as little surprise then that he's won 3.6 aerial duels per game thus far, but his reading of the game on the ground also deserves recognition. An average of 2.4 interceptions per game is an impressive figure for a centre-back, while he's shown good timing in the challenge to win 16 tackles and commit just 6 fouls.
3. Jonathan Tah (Hamburg) - 7.07
The third centre-back in our top 6, edging ahead of Süle by the smallest of margins, is Hamburg's Jonathan Tah. The fact that the youngster, who was just 16 at the start of the year, has now started the last 8 of his side's league matches is somewhat remarkable in such a high-pressure department of the field. The 17-year old is another whose age belies his physical frame, and the 6'3" plus defender relishes an aerial battle.
He's won 5.3 aerial duels per game thus far, which is only less than teammate Lasse Sobiech and Nurnberg's Emanuel Pogatetz of centre-back's in Germany's top-flight. Tah, meanwhile, is another player who is comfortable with the ball as well, averaging 41.9 passes per game, and he too has been economical in the challenge, committing just 4 fouls and winning 14 tackles to date.
2. Max Meyer (Schalke) - 7.16
He may have only just celebrated his 18th birthday but there are high hopes for Max Meyer at Schalke, who they feel can follow in the footsteps of Julian Draxler, whose teen years came to an end just two days later. The pocket playmaker has only started 5 of his 10 league appearances, making his average rating of 7.16 incredibly impressive. Meyer's most recent league outing heralded a score of 8.24 after the teenager completed an exceptional 11 dribbles in a thrilling game in Frankfurt.
His exploits took him to the top of the minutes per successful dribble chart in the Bundesliga (12.7) ahead of Franck Ribery, and his touch and technique in tight areas are not dissimilar to those of the aforementioned Draxler. Meyer's success rate from his attempted dribbles is actually slightly better than his teammate (79.6% to 76.6%) and if he can add to his 3 goals and 1 assist already this season he could be one of the real revelations across Europe.
1. Hakan Calhanoglu (Hamburg) - 7.22
HSV's attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu may not be getting the same recognition as the likes of Meyer and Werner just yet but if the 19-year old continues his form from the weekend gone by he’ll soon be sharing their column inches. Moved into a number 10 role having played wide on the left in the most part this season, the teenager capped an impressive display with a goal in a 3-1 home win over Hannover.
It was his third for the club but his exploits elsewhere hadn't gone unnoticed by Hamburg's coaching staff, with the playmaker featuring in all of their 12 league matches to date since his arrival in the summer. His performances have already earned Calhanoglu a first senior international cap for Turkey, and with averages of 1.9 shots, 1.8 key passes, 1.6 successful dribbles and 1.4 accurate crosses per game he could become the poster boy for Fatih Terim's side in the years to come, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Arda Turan.
Who has been most impressive of the Bundesliga's teenage crop this season? Let us know in the comments below