Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil and Leroy Sane are among the glittering prospects turned world stars to come out of Schalke's acclaimed Knappenschmiede academy - is Ahmed Kutucu next?
bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Royal Blues' latest emerging talent...
Country: Turkey (six youth international caps)
Gelsenkirchen born and bred, Kutucu was just 11 years old when he joined the Schalke youth academy. After a spell with the U16s, he went on to hit 10 goals and eight assists in 22 appearances for the U17s. The 5'11" frontman made the step up to the U19s towards the end of the 2017/18 campaign, and that's where he stayed - registering 24 goals and eight assists in 44 outings - before being called up to the senior side in November 2018.
Kutucu made his first-team debut as a substitute in a UEFA Champions League group game against Lokomotiv Moscow, before taking to the Bundesliga for the first time in a 1-1 draw with Augsburg. He scored his first top-flight goal five minutes after replacing Yevhen Konoplyanka at VfB Stuttgart on Matchday 17, and added a first effort on home soil to his account in the DFB Cup Round of 16 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf on 6 February 2019. The teenager then netted on his full Bundesliga debut at Bayern Munich on Matchday 21, but the 3-1 loss did end his six-match unbeaten start to his senior career.
Watch: Skip to 01:36 to see Ahmed Kutucu score his first Bundesliga goal
Plays a bit like: Robert Lewandowski
It's a bold claim, but Kutucu has the makings of a top-end all-round striker. He's a presence in the box and poses a real threat from range, as evinced by his belting strike against Düsseldorf - lashed in with his supposed weaker left foot. The Turkey youth player knows how to mix it physically and strikes a mean free-kick, while he also proved against Bayern that he possess blistering pace as he ran clear of the record champions' defence to score.
Did you know?
Despite making three appearances apiece for Turkey's U17 and U19 teams, Kutucu still has the option to represent Germany.
He needn't look further than Özil for inspiration in that regard. Another Schalke boy of Turkish descent, the now Arsenal playmaker won 92 caps over the course of a nine-and-a-half-year senior international career with Germany, lifting the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
What they're saying
"It means the world to be here. Whether I start or come off the bench, I always give my all and fight for this club." - Kutucu
"He's just a quality footballer. He can get out of tight spaces and is always looking to shift towards the opposition goal with his first touch." - Schalke head coach Domenico Tedesco
"The longer he's with the first team, the better he'll get. You can see how confident he is, and he has so much more potential that we want to tap into in the coming years." - Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel
Watch: Weston McKennie lauds his new teammate