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Julian Weigl

Weigl, Kimmich, Brandt, Sane - Germany already building for the future

14:45 BST 17/05/2016
Leroy Sane - Germany
Some of the most promising talent in world football is now lining up in the Bundesliga with the World Cup holders set to reap the benefits for a long time to come


GOALCOMMENT

Joachim Low is the master of integration and has a proven track record of turning raw prospects into established international players. He has repeated this particular trick in the qualification series for the 2008 European Championships, the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup. It's a tough balancing act, blooding players and maintaining standards but Germany have not slipped before the semi-finals of any tournament on his watch and are reigning World Cup holders.

Low has consistently overseen the deployment of players to the senior team through two-year tournament cycles since taking up the job 10 years ago. Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze are just four of the stellar names who have been put in by Low and he doesn't tend to pick many duds once tournaments roll around. 

The systems of German talent production are well-known. There is a clear path for young players to reach the senior team and the indications are that the DFB might well have produced its best crop yet with the 1995/1996 intake. Promising centre-back Jonathan Tah may not have made the cut this time around but the presence of three other young talents in Germany's preliminary Euro 2016 list is a hugely positive sign and a clear sign that the German talent flood of recent years shows no signs of stopping. 

Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will be given a chance to prove his fitness as he has been summoned again by Low. Schweinsteiger is an old favourite of the coach but must himself be feeling that another summer of tournament football at this stage of his career would be a stretch. There is no place for Christoph Kramer in the squad this time round and so it could be reasonably inferred that Low has plans to use the as-yet uncapped Julian Weigl in midfield if Manchester United's Schweinsteiger fails to make it.

It would be a risk on paper but the Borussia Dortmund man has come of age under Thomas Tuchel this season. No occasion is too big for the former 1860 Munich captain and he plays the game like a 10-year veteran. Weigl has already attracted the attentions of Pep Guardiola, who would like to have him at Manchester City, as well as Paris St-Germain. He will lead Germany's midfield for a generation too. 

Another player favoured by Pep is Bayern Munich midfielder-cum-central defender Joshua Kimmich. Signed by Bayern last summer, the 21-year-old quickly established himself as a starter. He has shown a great level of adaptability in taking on board Guardiola's complex instructions and has excelled with his range of passing, reading of the game and crisp interceptions. A player of his versatility is a precious commodity at tournaments when games come thick and fast. He looks assured of his place now. 

Further forward there is Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brandt. No one player did more for Leverkusen's charge towards the Champions League places than Brandt at the tail end of the season. He scored in six consecutive matches as Roger Schmidt's side exploded into form with eight wins from their last 10 games in the Bundesliga. That was enough to earn the acclaim of Low, who has not hesitated in giving the youngster his chance to deliver internationally on his devestating potential. 

And then there is superstar-in-the-making Leroy Sane. The Schalke forward is destined for the very top having already made his senior Germany debut and won't be hanging around long at his boyhood club. All the biggest clubs in Europe are aware of his unique talents and it could well be Real Madrid or Barcelona where Sane ends up. He has the best chance of this trio to make the final 23 for France. German options up front are a little more limited than elsewhere on the field these days while the likes of Andre Schurrle and Lukas Podolski are consistent picks but not always up to the task. The sight of Sane dribbling through opposition defences and scoring goals at a major tournament is a mouth-watering prospect. 

The odds are that for Weigl and Brandt - and possibly even Sane - these European Championships might have come a summer too soon. All of those three are 20 years of age and attempting to break into what remains a world champion squad. However, Low has once again given youth its chance to prosper.