Munich - Having only moved to FC Bayern München in the summer of 2014, it seems strange to think that 24-year-old midfielder is already regarded as something of a role model for the club's bumper crop of young talent.

The former Eintracht Frankfurt man has only made seven appearances in all competitions so far this season, but has left a lasting impression in each and every one of them.

'Shoot for the stars'


"You have to be different," Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer told teenage duo and at the Bundesliga leaders' recently ended winter training camp in Doha, Qatar. "You have to do more and as young players have an element of brashness about you. When you've learnt that, that's when you can really shoot for the stars."

Chances are Rode was given a similarly straight-from-the-shoulder tutorial seven months earlier. His performances in a Bayern shirt at least suggest as much, with the former Germany Under-21 international generally covering 12-plus kilometres of ground and hitting the mark with over 80 per cent of his attempted passes every game.

'I've got better'


"My place in the team has changed since the summer," he admitted after rounding out the calendar year with one league goal and four assists to his name. "I've noticed that I've got better. There's just so much quality on show here - you're only going to benefit from it as a young player."

Breathing the same air as seasoned World Cup winners , Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso has undeniably had the desired effect, and while Sammer says "big clubs need alternatives", to class Rode in that category alone would be to do the Seeheim-Jugenheim native a great disservice. His avid predisposition sets him apart from the rest and - injury-permitting - is what could ultimately earn him megastar status.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge