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He is taking the Bundesliga by storm, but who is Timo Werner?

Friday 13th January 2017
Timo Werner is causing a stir in the Bundesliga this season, scoring an impressive nine goals from 16 games, helping fire RB Leipzig into second  position. His efficiency in front of goal has attracted admirers from across Europe, but what makes him so effective?

Werner started his career at VFB Stuttgart. He made his Bundesliga debut in 2013 aged just 17 and in his three full seasons with the club he scored 14 goals from 102 appearances, becoming the youngest player in Bundesliga history to score two goals in one game before he had even signed his first professional contract. A number of big clubs across Europe were interested in signing Werner when Stuttgart was relegated last season, but it was Leipzig's 10 million Euro offer which tempted the 20-year-old to leave his boyhood club.

With a club record fee paid for a player who doesn't turn 21 until March expectations were high, however, Werner has lived up to these expectations with frightening effect. He suits Leipzig's high-tempo, counter-attacking style perfectly and has struck a wonderful partnership with assist machine Emile Forsberg in the first half of the season. Many of his nine goals have come from these typical, fast breaks with Werner using his pace and strength to outrun and muscle defenders before finishing.

His goals against Freiburg in November proved his class. The first fell to Werner inside the Freiburg penalty area after a quick Leipzig break and he finished calmly. The second, however, showed fans why Leipzig paid so much money for him. He ran almost the entire length of the Freiburg half, outpacing the defenders before dinking the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper. Both strikes proved Werner has composure on the ball, a trait rare to see in a player so young.
The almost telepathic understanding Timo has with Forsberg is a joy to watch. Forsberg is another member of the RB Leipzig team who has been on form this season, providing many of Werner's assists. Watching Werner make the early runs into dangerous areas and Forsberg finds him with ease has become a signature of Leipzig's attacking football. However, it is not just with Emile Forsberg that Werner plays well with. He has built a formidable partnership with his 22-year-old strike partner Yussuf Poulsen, a player who has had his fair share of critics in the four years he has spent with the club. Werner makes clever runs off Poulsen, splitting defences wide open and allowing easy passes to be made to create chances.

For all his good qualities, however, Werner has also got his critics. In the opening minutes of the game against Schalke this season he blatantly dived to win Leipzig a penalty. The outcry in Germany was huge, with supporters calling for him to be banned for his part in Leipzig's win. This hate is in addition to the abuse Werner, along with all new additions to Leipzig's squad, receives for joining RB in the first place. Many fans say that he is just after money and doesn't care about tradition in football, but it would seem the young striker has broad shoulders.

It's easy to forget that Werner is only 20 years old, therefore the best is surely yet to come. His electric performances this season have caught the eyes of some of Europe's big boys with Chelsea the most prominent club interested in his services this transfer window. Comparisons have been made to Harry Kane and a young Wayne Rooney and having been capped for Germany at every youth level it will surely not be long before we start hearing a lot more about Timo Werner.
Stephen Parkinson
23 year old Football fan, player and referee. Specialising in the Bundesliga since having lived in Leipzig for 2 years.

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