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The best Under 23 Bundesliga players

Following on from the top 10 under 23 players in the Premier League, this will be the top 10 under 23 players in the Bundesliga. As there are only 10 spots, some players have had to miss out such as Tyler Adams whos had to miss out due to only played 723 minutes for RasenBallsport Leipzig (RB Leipzig) as he only joined them in January 2019 and as he came from the MLS his stats would be skewed as it has less quality.

10 – Dayot Upamecano, 20-years-old:

Another 20-year-old French centre back in this list, however he won’t be the last. One of the only defences to have been better than Dortmund’s according to xG and how it actually played out was Leipzig’s. Leipzig had the best defence in the league as they conceded 29 but according to xG, they had the second-best defence as they should’ve conceded and extra 10. This shows they got lucky defensively but still the second best, only behind the dominant Bayern Munich.

Upamecano does draw up many comparisons to Zagadou but more so than just the age, position and nationality. Just like Zagadou, Upamecano is commanding in the air as he wins 3.1 aerial duels per 90 and has a very high success rate of 66%. As well as this, Dayot is also fairly comfortable on the ball as he completes 49.9 passes per 90 with a success rate of 82.5%. The pass accuracy is lower as Leipzig is more direct than Dortmund as highlighted by Dortmund averaging 56.8% possession, the third highest in the league, in comparison to Leipzig’s 49.5%.

9 – Jonathan Tah, 23-years-old:

Tah has been subject of a move to Bayern Munich for the last four seasons and with good reason as the German international has had an impressive season at Leverkusen once again. This season Tah started 33 league matches as he played a total of 2939 minutes. Despite the poor form Leverkusen has before Peter Bosz took the helm, Jonathan Tah was still in contention for the Bundesliga team of the season. Since Bosz has taken over at Leverkusen, Tah has been given much more responsibility as Bosz has implemented a very attacking system with a defensive line on the halfway line to box the opposition in their own half. This system change has meant Tah has had a bigger part to play in Leverkusen’s defence as well as offence.

The Hamburger academy graduate is very adept on the ball. This is backed up by him averaging 75.5 passes per 90 with a 89.8% pass accuracy. These are ambitious passes as backed up by his 3.8 accurate long balls per 90 out of an attempted 6.6 long balls as well as his 0.2 key passes per 90. These numbers will rise next season if Bosz remains in charge as since his arrival, all Tah’s statistics have improved despite only being in charge since mid-December.

8 – Ibrahima Konaté, 20-years-old:

The other French 20-year-old centre back at RB Leipzig, Konaté is regarded higher up than Upamecano by Leipzig and the whole of Europe. The Frenchman started 27 of the 34 Bundesliga matches during the 2018/19 season at he played a major part in Leipzig earning the best defence as well as grabbing a goal and an assist. In his 2431 minutes he averaged 37 passes with an 76% pass accuracy highlighting he’s not as comfortable on the ball compared to Upamecano. However, during the under-21 Euros with France he averaged 59.5 passes with a success rate of 88.2% showing he can be used in build up play for Nagelsmann in 2019/20.

Ibrahima is more aerial dominant than Dayot as he wins 3.6 out of 5.1 per 90 giving him a colossal win rate of 70.6%. In comparison, Virgil Van Dijk is well known for being one of the most aerial dominant players, wins 75% of his aerial battles and he is in his prime at 28-years-old. Konaté is also a very good dribble as he has a dribble success rate of 88.8%. He only attempts 0.9 per 90 which is quite high for a centre back as they don’t tend to step out of the line but that shows he knows when to attempt a dribble and not put his team in unnecessary danger.

7 – Benjamin Pavard, 23-years-old:

Probably most well known for his goal at the 2018 World Cup against Argentina, the versatile Frenchman can play centre back and right back. This is important to Bayern Munich as at the end of the 2017/18 season they lost Juan Bernat and at the end of the 2018/19 season they lost long servant Rafinha which left Die Roten’s full backs thin. Benjamin managed to play 2606 minutes during 2018/19 as Stuttgart faltered as they conceded 70 goals in 34, 1 more less than the which is huge drop off from 2017/19 when they conceded 36 in 34 as they had the second-best defence.

During the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, Pavard maintained his form which includes his all-round game being very good rather than excelling at one thing. The former Lille man averaged 49.8 passes which includes 0.4 key passes and 3.4 long balls with a 84.6% pass accuracy as he was vital to progressing the ball forward when he filled in at right back. Pavard also kept his place in the French set-up despite his teams faltering as his good performances shone through which helped him earn his move to the German champions.

6 – Lucas Hernandez, 23-years-old:

Another French centre back which shows that the French national team are set to continue performing at a high level as well as the Bundesliga being the place for young defenders to learn their trade. Another Bayern Munich newcomer that can play centre back and deputise at full back, Lucas Hernandez’s move from Los Rojiblancos made him the world’s second most expensive defender of all time behind Virgil Van Dijk and its clear why. Lucas, like Pavard is also a world cup winner with France but unlike Pavard, Hernandez played most of his minutes at left back.

In Lucas’ 1119 league minutes, he averaged a low 81.3% pass accuracy which would increase drastically as he moves away from Simeone’s counter attacking and towards a more possession dominant Bayern side. Despite him not getting consistent minutes and him playing defensive football, he still averaged 1.3 key passes per 90 showing he’s able to fill in for Alaba. However, he also wouldn’t shy away from his defensive duties as he also averaged 3.5 tackles and interceptions per 90 highlighting his all-round attributes.

5 – Leon Bailey, 21-years-old:

A very versatile forward as he’s filled in all across the front line for Leverkusen during 2018/19. The Jamaican managed to play 1921 minutes but only had 1 minor injury concern towards the end of the season that meant he missed 2 matches. Due to his inconsistent game time, he only managed to get 5 goals and 1 assist. Despite his lack of goal involvements, Leon still had a promising 2018/19. He averaged 1.9 shots with 1 from outside the box which shows his shot location would require improvement but as he is very young, you expect as he gets older this will naturally improve as he matures.

Leon only managed 1 assist however, xA has him down at 4 assists which is backed up by his 1.6 key passes per 90 which shows he was unlucky, and his team mates couldn’t finish off the chances he had created for them. With all this, per 90 his xG was 0.24 whilst his xA was 0.19, 0.43 expected goal contributions per 90 at 21. There is the argument that this is so high due to Peter Bosz’s incredibly attacking tactics but on the other side of the argument, for the first half of the season Leverkusen were very defensive and dogmatic as well as Bailey still performing despite the inconsistent game time.

4 – Julian Brandt, 23-years-old:

The 2018/19 season was huge season for Brandt as it earnt him his move to Dortmund and its easy to see why. In 2674 minutes, the 25-time capped German scored 7 and assisted 11 which meant he got the third highest assists as he helped Leverkusen finish fourth. Julian took 2 shots per 90 with 0.9 from outside the box which leaves room for improvement but as he will be playing with better creators such as Reus, Hazard and Sancho, Brandt’s shot location should improve as he’s given better chances and he matures as a player.

Brandt was also bought due to his versatility and ability to fill multiple positions as during 2018/19 he played on both wings, as an attacking midfielder and Bosz even played him at central midfield as well as left wing back for a match. Despite being shifted around a lot, Brandt still maintained 2.6 key passes caveated with 1.7 successful dribbles per 90. All this how pivotal and important Brandt was to the Leverkusen attack as Brandt was directly involved in 26.1% of Die Werkself’s goals.

3 – Kai Havertz, 20-years-old:

Another player that flourished under Peter Bosz’s new implemented system, Haverz, like Dele Alli, is a rare kind of player as he plays as a second striker. Due to his position being very rare within football at current, his price has been inflated from an already high price due to his attacking qualities at such a young age. Kai is coming off a season in which he scored 17 and got 3 assists which meant he ended the 2018/19 season as the equal third top goal scorer. The German took 2.6 shots with 0.8 from outside the box which highlights his maturity especially at such a young age however, his xG was 11.99 which either highlight he got the rub of the green or he is a clinical finisher. As in his last 2 seasons/his first 2 seasons he’s been in line with his xG, it would suggest he got luck but due to his age, it might have been his breakthrough season.

Havertz is not just a goal scorer, he also had 1 key pass and 1.4 successful dribbles per 90 showing good awareness and variety to his game. Kai is also a good passer as he has a pass accuracy of 87.2% which is very high for an attacking player especially in the Bundesliga as most sides play with high intensity and whilst applying a lot of pressure to the opposition. Another key attribute for him is his fitness as during 2018/19, he made 34 appearances which included 33 league starts and he played 94.8% of the league minutes available which could be another factor that could drive his price up even further.

2 – Jadon Sancho, 19-years-old:

Probably the only player on this list that hasn’t had very strong links to the Bavarian champions, the Englishman has had a breakthrough season during 2018/19. Jadon started the league campaign as a bench player but after impressing coming off the bench he was given a starting role which meant he started 26 games with 8 substitute appearances resulting in him playing 2464 minutes. He scored 12 goals and topped the Bundesliga assist charts with 14. However, xG has him at 7.42 and xA at 8.31 which shows considerate luck but the whole Dortmund had luck as they nearly stopped Bayern Munich’s stronghold on the Bundesliga. Despite the rub of the green, per 90 his xG is 0.27 and xA is 0.3 which would result in a very impressive 0.57 expected direct goal involvements per 90, yet he only turns 20 in March 2020.

Jadon’s shot numbers aren’t very high as he only averages 1.2 per 90 but with his xG as high as it is, this shows he is decisive and makes good decisions as backed up with his shot location, only 0.3 shots from outside the box per 90. Sancho is also very creative with 1.9 key passes, but his main attribute is his ability on the ball. The former Man City winger has a pass accuracy of 84.9% which is high for an attacking player, but he completes 3.3 dribbles out of 5.5 attempted per 90 giving him a success rate of 60%. Sancho prominently plays off the right but has also played on the left for the German outfit which highlights his versatility.

1 – Timo Werner, 23-years-old:

Timo has been brought into the limelight since joining RB Leipzig from Stuttgart as since getting promoted, Leipzig have been challenging towards the top end of the table. Werner has played a big part in Leipzig’s success as he has scored consistently. In 2525 minutes during the 2018/19 season the former Stuttgart man scored 16 and assisted 7 which meant he was his teams’ top scorer and equal top provider as Forsberg also got 7 assists. These numbers are about on par with what is expected as his xG was 17.38 and his xA was 5.61 which is an expected 22.99 direct goal involvements and he ended the season on 23.

As Leipzig finished third behind the dominant Bavarians and the lucky Dortmund, Werner had another impressive season. Werner takes a high 3.6 shots with only 0.4 from outside the box per 90 which highlights his maturity as his shot location is with the elite. Werner is also creative as highlighted by his 7 assists, he averaged 1.2 key passes per 90 which doesn’t sound too impressive but for a predatory striker that’s taking 3.6 shots, this is very high. He emulates aspects of Icardi as the Argentine averaged 2.5 shots with 0.3 from outside the box caveated with 1.2 key passes, and like Icardi, Werner isn’t involved much in build up play. The Stuttgart academy graduate averaged 25.5 passes with a 74.2% pass accuracy which is very low even for a forward. Like passing. Timo isn’t great at dribbling, he completes 1 dribble per 90 but fails 1.7 per 90. His passing and dribbling abilities highlights why he doesn’t get involved in build up play and why Leipzig play counter attacking football, therefore Werner thrives there.


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