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'We knew Werner was a special player' - The story of Turbo Timo's rapid rise to Chelsea star

3:00 AM EDT 7/11/20
Timo Werner GFX RB Leipzig
Chelsea have made a huge impact by signing the German forward from RB Leipzig, a young man who worked hard alongside his father for a chance

Timo Werner has always been a young man in a rush.

He was the fastest player in Bundesliga history to reach 50, 100, 150 and 200 games before choosing to move on from RB Leipzig, for whom he is the all-time top goalscorer with 95. 

He has joined Chelsea for a £47.5 million ($59m) fee and has a reputation as one of the world's coming forces in the striking position. 

'Turbo Timo', as he has been dubbed since bursting onto the German scene with hometown club VfB Stuttgart, is renowned for his speed and his unerring finishing ability.

Those gifts he inherited from his father, Gunther Schuh, who also played as striker, albeit at a lower level for Stuttgart Kickers.

 Upon his retirement, Gunther went onto become a successful coach in the amateur game, working with TSV Steinhaldenfeld, a community-focused team in the north east of Stuttgart.

"Schuh was a pretty good player, a semi-professional," Michael Bulling, the TSV department head of football, told Goal. "He was a coach at our club and it was the most successful time in the history of our club.

"We won the league and got promoted. He came back 10 years later when we were relegated and we got promoted again. He has always been connected with our club.

"For Timo, his father was the most important in his footballing life. It was his father who pushed him, not our small club. It was all his dad who played with him every day, who took him to Stuttgart.

"We just knew from the beginning that he was a special player but it was hard to know how good he would become. The club is very proud of him. He was always playing with his dad."

TSV have produced three professional players in total, including Sassuolo's Jeremy Toljan and Sonnenhof Grossaspach's Julian Leist, but Werner is undoubtedly the best.

"We saw that he could shoot with both feet and he shot like he was five years older in terms of power. He was also always very fast," said Bulling.

"In our senior matches, while his dad was coaching, he ran around the field 10 times working on his speed.

"He always used to ask his dad how fast he was, as his dad was timing him. He always had a ball with him too. That's what I remember about him.

"He had an outgoing personality. He was open to everyone and his team-mates liked him. His father was the most important person in him making it in the sport, that’s for sure."

Alongside his runs around the 100-yard pitches of Stuttgart during the men's games, Werner used to do extra training in the mountainous landscape around his home district of Bad Cannstatt.

He outgrew TSV quickly and youth coaches Markus Simon and Bernd Fisel handed him over to the city's biggest club, Stuttgart, when he was aged only eight, having trained with both clubs for a time.

At VfB, Werner blossomed. Ahead of his senior debut, he had scored 24 goals for Die Roten's Under-19s in the 2012-13 campaign and won the Fritz Walter gold medal – an annual award given by the German Football Association to outstanding young players – in the U17 category.

Werner made his Stuttgart debut at just 17 years, four months and 25 days old, breaking the club record for the youngest debutant in a Europa League qualifier away to PFC Botev Plovdiv – a game that ended 1-1.

Current Vissel Kobe and former Stuttgart defender Gotoku Sakai was astounded by Werner's impact at such a young age.

"Even at 17, you saw his quality in speed, dribbling and shooting technique," Sakai enthused. "It was clear; you could see he was very good on the ball, in terms of running at opponents in one-versus-one situations.

"I recently watched Chelsea versus Crystal Palace. I saw Chelsea already have great players like Christian Pulisic with his speed up front, Olivier Giroud can really keep the ball and play as a target man, so it is great that they got Timo, who could use the space behind Giroud.

"There's also Mason Mount, who has a lot of speed in his play. When you have Timo Werner and Pulisic together, they will make those runs in behind and drive the team forwards. I think it is going to be very good for them."

Werner is currently on holiday but he is already officially a Chelsea player. He spoke to Lampard, via the translation efforts of Petr Cech, along with Germany and former Stuttgart team-mate Antonio Rudiger ahead of agreeing a move to Stamford Bridge.

In speaking with Werner, they will have felt the influence from his mother Sabine, from whom he takes his surname. She, too, has played a guiding role for Werner, making him complete his studies despite it not being a requirement in German football.

Werner, though, was always keen to take the fast track to superstardom, which is precisely why he elected to move to Chelsea in July, rather than play for RB Leipzig in the Champions League next month.

So, don't be surprised if 'Turbo Tim' hits the ground running as soon as next season starts.