Munich - The summer of 2014 in German football was one for the history books, with the Nationalmannschaft lifting the FIFA World Cup just 18 days before Marcus Sorg’s Under-19s side were crowned European champions in Hungary. The nation's game has reached new heights, and it's thanks in no small part to a thriving youth policy.

Dreams of reaching the pinnacle of the footballing profession often require several iterations to become reality. In Germany, though, where the likes of Julian Draxler can become the youngest player to break the 100-appearance barrier at the age of 20 years and 225 days, things work a little differently.

FC Schalke 04’s World Cup winner is but one example, as the Bundesliga is awash with highly coveted young talents. Over the course of this four-part series, bundesliga.com will cast an eye over the top 20 ‘Ones to Watch’ under the age of 20, listed in order of their Bundesliga appearances to date. It's a select group that includes familiar faces and unknown quantities in equal measure....

With the World Cup stars away, the kids came out to play at FC Bayern this summer, none more so than Gianluca Gaudino, who hadn’t missed a minute of pre-season action up until being replaced by Dante in the 62nd minute of the MLS All-Stars encounter. “His brain works a lot faster than the other players,” praised head coach Pep Guardiola of his summer discovery, whom he handed a starting spot in the 2014 Supercup loss to Dortmund. “Gaudino will be part of Bayern’s first-team in the future.”

Bundesliga career statistics:
Appearances: 0
Goals: 0

Yet to make a break through at senior level, precocious midfield prospect Kurt is hoping to change that in the coming campaign. “2013 was an awesome year, but 2014 has to be even better. This year will be my year - I promise you that,” said the dynamic attacker on his Facebook page. An unerring desire to beat his man on the dribble saw the left-winger bag 16 goals in 24 appearances for the Foals' Under-19s last year. "He's got a lot of quality in the final third, a super left foot. He's one of our top talents," said head coach Lucien Favre.

Bundesliga career statistics:
Appearances: 0
Goals: 0

Brother of FC Augsburg striker Shawn Parker, Devante has been the discovery of pre-season for Mainz. With pace to burn, strength in one-on-one situations and able to play in defence and attack on the left side, he has even drawn comparisons with former FSV superstar Andre Schürrle. “He’s a hard-working player, but he still needs to work on his passing,” said new head coach Kasper Hjulmand. “He might not be involved straight away this season, but his future looks bright.”

Bundesliga career statistics:
Appearances: 0
Goals: 0

Were it not for persistent injuries, holding midfielder Dahoud may well have already appeared on our radars. The elegant youngster’s talents are based on a foundation of composure beyond his years, a fact again underlined by his positive pre-season performances. “He has that certain something,” said Foals’ boss Lucien Favre. “Mo plays with intelligence and a fantastic oversight. Some things he does…oh la la.” Now injury-free, Favre's new No 6 is relishing the competition with Christoph Kramer and Granit Xhaka: "I'm learning so much. I don't want to stop."

Bundesliga career statistics:
Appearances: 0
Goals: 0

He may not have taken his Bundesliga bow, but big things are already expected of Schalke’s worst-kept secret, now a regular in first-team training. “He’s one of the last remaining street footballers,” claimed sporting director Horst Heldt of the two-footed forward. His adeptness at playing both in the hole or leading the line was evidenced by the 76 goals and 19 assists he racked up in 77 outings for the Royal Blues' U-17s and U-19s. “He’s intelligent, technically gifted and boasts incredible instincts. We’re convinced he’ll make the breakthrough,” believes Heldt.

Bundesliga career statistics:
Appearances: 0
Goals: 0