Germany's top flight has been a hotbed of fresh young stars in recent years and the coming campaign is set to see many others follow in their footsteps.Friday sees the commencement of another edition of the Bundesliga. The mood will be celebratory after Germany won the World Cup, boasting a host of stars who have been reaping the rewards of the shake-up in the nation's academy system over a decade ago.
Each passing year in the domestic top flight sees new talent come to the fore and the coming campaign will be no different. So who could be the next crop of young stars to catch the eye in the Bundesliga? Goal is here to give you the scoop on the next generation.
|Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: Midfielder, Bayern Munich
Recruited from Brondby's academy two years ago and already capped by Denmark, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg could be another gem for Bayern Munich.
The 19-year-old rose to prominence at the tail end of last season, when the Bundesliga was wrapped up, and soon cemented his reputation as one of the most promising players in Germany. Pep Guardiola is a big believer in his talents and had no fear to play the midfielder — as a wing back no less — in the DFB-Pokal final victory over Borussia Dortmund.
Hojbjerg, whose talents involve quick feet, precise passing and a ferocious free kick, was a frequent scorer for Bayern II during his two years in Bavaria and can expect further playing time with the full team this season, with Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and Bastian Schweinsteiger all struggling with injuries and Toni Kroos having departed.
|Timo Werner: Attacker, Stuttgart
Timo Werner gave the world a glimpse of his extraordinary talent after making his first strides into the Stuttgart first team last year and the coming campaign represents a major chance for him to become one of the stars of the Bundesliga.
Blessed with unbelievable pace, the 18-year-old was unplayable at times last season but, understandably — given his age — he struggled to replicate his match-winning form on a regular basis.
However, with a year of senior action behind him, he will be looking to kick on and reach the next level and perhaps even make inroads into the Germany squad, with Joachim Low short of forward options following Miroslav Klose's retirement. Most of his Bundesliga education has been on the flanks, but his natural position is up front and his speed and finishing could be invaluable.
|Maximilian Arnold: Attacker, Wolfsburg
One player who is set to rival Werner in the Germany setup for years to come is Maximilian Arnold, who, at 20, is something of a veteran, having made his debut for Wolfsburg three years ago, becoming the youngest player to represent the club in the process.
Since then, he has developed the happy knack of scoring vital goals aplenty, thanks in part to his brilliant left foot and his ability to time a shot to perfection. His strikes are not limited to the spectacular, though, and he is often able to break through the last line of defense to finish in the box.
He made his debut for Joachim Low's side in the pre-World Cup friendly against Poland and will certainly be hopeful that further international caps will be on the way.
|Matthias Ginter: Defender, Borussia Dortmund
Matthias Ginter's final season at boyhood club Freiburg may not have gone to plan as Christian Streich's side failed to live up to the standards it had set during the previous campaign, but the talented defender still finds himself a World Cup winner and a Borussia Dortmund player this season.
The 20-year-old is certain to be a mainstay of the Germany setup for years to come and, though he initially arrived at Signal Iduna Park as cover for Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic, the senior defenders' injury problems present him with the chance to prove himself at the top level.
Per Mertesacker's international retirement leaves room for a center back in Joachim Low's squad and Ginter is the most likely candidate to fill it. With Hummels' future the source of constant speculation, Ginter may well find himself first choice at BVB before too long.
|Max Meyer: Playmaker, Schalke
Max Meyer can certainly look back on last season — his first full campaign as part of Schalke's first-team squad — with some pride, having shown the world just what he is capable of doing, but a big season awaits the attacking midfielder.
The 18-year-old demonstrated the extent of his talents last time out but it is obvious there is more to come from the Schalke academy graduate, another one of the up-and-comers to make his Germany debut in the friendly against Poland.
Sooner or later, S04 will lose Julian Draxler and Meyer is his obvious successor within the squad. Capable of pieces of magic in the lines between the opposition midfield and defense, all he has to do now is produce on a more regular basis and he'll be a force to be reckoned with.