NXGN 2022 winner Jude Bellingham is one of many hopefuls to join Germany in recent years. Explanations.
An old saying goes, “Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a trend.”
What happens when this trend goes way beyond three? What happens when something happens dozens and dozens of times without ever stopping?
Not to miss
The continued rise of young Bundesliga stars is far beyond trend or coincidence. Rather, that rise is based on a mindset, one that has made Germany the home of world football’s best talent for nearly a decade.
Players from all over the world continue to flock to the country, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping, as new stars arrive every year, hoping to become the next big name in football.
Some stars of yesteryear, like Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz, have joined other leagues. Soon we will probably see some of them, like Erling Haaland, fly away to other skies.
But talent development has become a key part of German football culture, a mainstay for a league that continues to do things its own way.
A look at the NXGN 2022 list of football’s top prospects shows Germany’s influence.
This year’s winner Jude Bellingham opted for Borussia Dortmund over the Premier League, knowing that a stay in Germany would take him to another level.
Fourth-placed Jamal Musiala made a similar choice, leaving Chelsea and England for Germany, joining Bayern Munich with hopes of becoming a world-class player.
Finally, Florian Wirtz, second, is a local star whose future looks bright. Thanks to its ranking, the Bundesliga currently has three of the top four prospects in the world.
In total, the Bundesliga is home to five of this year’s top ten NXGN stars, while four other players from German clubs feature in the Top 50.
Of the players who have appeared in Europe’s top five leagues this season, five of the six youngest play in the Bundesliga. Among the eight youngest, only Mathys Tel (Rennes) and Luka Romero (Lazio) do not play in Germany.
The average age of players in the Bundesliga this season is just under 26, with Ligue 1 being the only other league to reach that figure. The average age of players in Serie A is just under 27 while that of the Premier League and La Liga are roughly the same.
Again, this is not a coincidence or a trend. This is the result of painstaking work by German clubs.
Currently, the best example of this effort is Dortmund. In the last decade, no club has hatched so many young talents, which has allowed it to become the real launching pad for the next football stars.
Bellingham, Haaland, Pulisic, Sancho, Ousmane Dembélé, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gio Reyna, Robert Lewandowski… the list is long. All these players were recruited outside the borders of Germany and all became stars.
This is no accident, but rather a key part of the club’s philosophy. Dortmund aren’t funded by a mega-rich owner like Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, nor do they have the money or legacy of clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern.
It was therefore partly out of necessity that the club turned to young people more than a decade ago, in order to adapt to the constantly changing landscape of European football.
But it was not only a necessity, but also a culture, because Dortmund prides itself on being a club that develops its players.
“It’s part of our DNA. Since we can’t recruit big stars, we train them”Dortmund general manager Carsten Cramer tells GOAL.
“And if you do this in such a sustainable and credible way for 10-15 years, and if everyone knows that this is the only alternative to be competitive, I am very sure that the players think that Dortmund is the right one. place to progress.
“Another reason could be that we are not in a capital like London or Paris. Dortmund is a calm and ideal place to flourish there. We also have a successful reserve team as well as perfect coaching for young people.
“Even if the players fail to make it to the first team, they know they will be watched with our reserve team or our youth teams.”
“This is our main reputation: Dortmund is a club where young players can progress,” he added in conclusion.
Translation and adaptation by Hocine Harzoune