Why the Bundesliga is a budding youngster’s paradise
Every youngster aspires to play vibrant, attacking football. Be it a striker, midfielder or even a defender, as a child, a budding footballer aspires to go forward and try to score goals. Some places withdraw freedom from youngsters, others give them wings to fly. The German Bundesliga is the heaven which gives kids the chance to run free.
The League’s vibrant structure and positive mindset make it the perfect place for a youngster to grow. Not only the senior teams, the youth sides in Germany are also designed to play positive football. After their grassroots level was restructured in 2002, the country as a whole has been encouraged to promote players from their own academies rather than signing them from somewhere else.
It’s the move which convinced many teenagers into starting their careers in Germany. Whether it’s Bayern Munich or Fortuna Dusseldorf, the Bundesliga’s always been home to exciting, end-to-end football. Often undermined due to the Bavarians unprecedented domination, it’s given rise to more youngsters than anywhere else in recent years.
The Bundesliga isn't tactically astute like the Serie A, not as competitive as the Premier League nor does it have the panache of La Liga. In turn, it’s ideology offers freedom to the players. This results in fast-paced, fluid football that is attractive to a larger audience.
These days, footballers can make their own decisions at a very young age. They don’t need their elders making decisions for them anymore. As a result, players like Jadon Sancho, Reiss Nelson and Ademola Lookman have made the long journey to Germany. Despite having to operate in unfamiliar conditions, these players were compelled to move because of Bundesliga’s booming nature.
Sancho, in particular, is a revelation this season. After signing for a meagre fee of around £8m, he’s made millions in profit for Borussia Dortmund by filling Ousmane Dembele’s boots. Sancho’s heroics at Manchester City’s youth team caught Dortmund’s attention. After realising City’s hesitant approach towards keeping him around, Sancho made the move. He hasn't looked back since.
He was called back from the FIFA U-17 World Cup because Der BVB wanted to speed up his process. Sancho dazzled in the World Cup group stages but returned to Germany immediately after. After that, his development started under Marco Reus’ guidance. Reus, a Bundesliga product himself, has been immense to teaching young Sancho the tricks and trades of the league.
Sancho’s scored four times and assisted six goals in the Bundesliga. That’s more than the likes of James Rodriguez, Thomas Muller, and last season’s breakthrough star, Leon Bailly, have managed. He’s been at the core ends of Dortmund’s counter-attacks. Dortmund gives him much freedom due to his pace and stunning ability on the ball.
Jacob Bruun Larsen, a Borussia Dortmund youth academy product, is also enjoying a stellar season. Larsen’s scored two goals in five matches for Dortmund, earning them crucial points with his deft finishes. Nelson, too, is enjoying a prolific period at Hoffenheim, having scored four goals in five appearances.
However, this isn’t the first time that young players took the Bundesliga by storm. The league’s been creating world-class players since their overhaul. Bayern Munich, for instance, has derived some excellent players from their booming academy.
The Bavarians academy has unearthed talents like Thomas Muller, David Alaba, and Toni Kroos. Their youth players play a big part in their sustained success. Muller and Kroos, in particular, have shone through for both club and international level.
Larsen is the latest of numerous excellent talents produced by the Borussia Dortmund academy. Infamous for their electric style, the Dortmund academy’s produced some excellent attackers like Reus, Mario Gotze and Christian Pulisic. Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke, and VfB Stuttgart have also given much importance to youngsters.
It’s the evolving thought-process of the Bundesliga clubs and their youth academies which has resulted in so many breakthrough stars. After a dire period following the turn of the century, in which Germany underperformed at Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, the DFB decided to revamp the whole structure. They gave priority to developing coaches and training them accordingly to unearth the best from the young players.
Each and every academy was given equal resources to develop themselves and encouraged to elevate young talents. At the moment, there are 50+ certified club academies in Germany. The kids are properly trained from age eight and given education in local schools.
It’s etched in the children’s heads to play clever, attacking football. No sense of negativity can be seen floundering at the academies. The DFB has been spending €130million per year on improving their academics and giving more emphasis to youth.
The Bundesliga keeps on producing top-level talents due to their eye for youth. The youngsters are given more importance in the premier division than in any other top-flight league in Europe. The Premier League and La Liga sides might give debuts to more youngsters. Yet it’s in Germany that they’re honed properly by being given opportunities ahead of experienced candidates.
Jadon Sancho’s continued rise is proof that the Bundesliga is arguably the best place for a budding youngster right now. It’s a youngster’s paradise where opportunities are limitless if one actually possesses the talent to stand out.