Teenage stars Gio Reyna, Florian Wirtz and Alphonso Davies (from l.) are all first-team regulars already, respectively at Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen. - © DFL
Teenage stars Gio Reyna, Florian Wirtz and Alphonso Davies (from l.) are all first-team regulars already, respectively at Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen. - © DFL
bundesliga

Alphonso Davies, Gio Reyna and the Bundesliga’s teenage titans in 2020/21

Borussia Dortmund duo Gio Reyna and Jude Bellingham and Bayern Munich quadruple-winner Alphonso Davies are just three of the headline-grabbing teenage talents you can expect to hear a lot more about in the 2020/21 Bundesliga season.

bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the fresh-faced fledglings that will light up the German top flight this season.

Gio Reyna
Date of birth: 13 November, 2002
Nationality: USA
Club: Borussia Dortmund

Football is in Reyna's blood. His father, Claudio, played for Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga as well as for the USMNT; his mother, Danielle Egan, also played for her country. He is named after his dad's former Rangers teammate, ex-Netherlands international Giovanni van Bronckhorst, and with what Gio has achieved so far, there is a good chance he'll surpass them all.

The English-born teenager nicknamed "The American Dream" by Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland has been living it up since leaving New York City FC to move to BVB in 2019. He became the youngest American to play in the Bundesliga — taking that record from Chelsea's ex-Dortmund man Christian Pulisic — when he made his top-flight debut in the stunning 5-3 win over Augsburg in January 2020.

Watch: Reyna ready to seize his chance

The third-youngest player to appear in a UEFA Champions League knockout game, Reyna netted his maiden Bundesliga goal in Dortmund's Matchday 1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach at an age only slightly older than when Pulisic first found the net in Germany.

"I think tactically I'm still learning a lot because the game from the youth level to the professional level is so different," explained Reyna, who along with the likes of Haaland and Jadon Sancho — both only 20 — is among a clutch of hugely talented BVB babes.

"It makes you feel like we're little kids again, playing in a youth team or the backyard. There are 17-year-olds, some 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds, it's really fun to play with everybody like that."

Jude Bellingham
Date of birth: 29 June, 2003
Nationality: English
Club: Borussia Dortmund

It is usually only legends of the game that get their shirt number retired. Bellingham already had that honour when he left Birmingham City to join Dortmund this summer. He's not a legend outside of the English Midlands just yet, but we surely won't have to wait long.

Watch: Dortmund's teenage dreamers

He was barely 16 when he made his first-team debut for Birmingham, and scored his maiden senior goal shortly afterwards. It's déjà vu at Dortmund when he stepped in for his debut in the DFB Cup win against Duisburg, scoring to beat the club record mark Reyna had set in the competition the previous season.

The 17-year-old duo, whose combined age is less than that of 35-year-old BVB teammate Lukasz Piszczek, teamed up on Matchday 1 with Bellingham providing the assist for Reyna's goal.

"I like the way he handles the ball, how he defends it. He gives us a number of tactical possibilities and has a fantastic presence," purred Dortmund coach Lucien Favre pre-season.

"He can play as a number six or number eight, is a good passer and tries to put himself in scoring positions. He has the technical skills and a feel for space. That's why it's easy for me to work with such a talent. With someone like him, I don't look at the date of birth."

Alphonso Davies
Date of birth: 2 November, 2000
Nationality: Canada
Club: Bayern Munich

"My life is complete," screams an elated Davies in a social media post, his treble-winning T-shirt on and the music of Bayern's UEFA Champions League victory party providing the soundtrack. "I'm going to bed, I'm going to bed."

No, the Canada international is not overwhelmed by the scale of his achievement from his birth in a Ghanaian refugee camp to the top of the football world aged just 19. What was simply too much for Davies to take in was that superstar rapper and fellow Canadian Drake had just followed him on Instagram.

What Davies seems not to have yet grasped, but that the rest of the football world has, is that he has become a superstar himself.

Watch: All of Davies' goals and assists in 2019/20

A winger when he arrived at Bayern from Vancouver Whitecaps in 2019, Davies has enjoyed one of the most spectacularly successful conversions ever seen to become the planet's hottest property at left-back.

Fellow left-back Real Madrid and Brazil legend Marcelo praised Davies' all-action style of play as he played an integral part in Bayern's historic 2019/20 season, earning himself all those winner's medals… and to top it all, a follow from Drake.

Jamal Musiala
Date of birth: 26 February, 2003
Nationality: German/English
Club: Bayern Munich

"The Cup is quite heavy," said Musiala when he was made part of Bayern's UEFA Champions League victory celebrations after joining the squad in Lisbon. "Since I was a kid, I've dreamed of holding the European Cup in my hands. I'm really hungry to be on the pitch myself in such games and help my team."

It was a smart move from Bayern to take some of their most talented youngsters with the established stars on their journey to history in Portugal. Musiala got a taste for not only the glory, but also what it takes to get there, though he clearly already had a sense of that.

Jamal Musiala opened his Bundesliga account with a superb goal against Schalke on Matchday 1. - CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images

The son of a Nigerian father, Musiala grew up in England where his German mother was studying, and went from Southampton's youth academy to Chelsea's before joining Bayern in 2019.

Whether he or the club expected him to rise quite so quickly to the first team is unlikely, but he stepped off the bench in the penultimate Bundesliga game of 2019/20 to become Bayern's youngest top-flight debutant. He then did the same and scored to cap the 8-0 rout of Schalke on Matchday 1 and — at the age of 17 years, six months and 23 days — beat Roque Santa Cruz's club record as the Bavarian juggernaut's youngest top-flight scorer by some six months.

"He's an exceptional footballer," said Bayern coach Hansi Flick. "We'll try to carefully guide him so that he can get even better and help us even more. But there's still a long way to go."

Paul Nebel
Date of birth: 10 October, 2002
Nationality: German
Club: Mainz

It takes a special player to just come in and perform. Mainz think they have one in Nebel. "It gives your heart a lift. Paul doesn't think too much about things," said 05ers coach Achim Beierlorzer. "He just does it."

Beierlorzer will surely give Nebel more opportunities to showcase his talents after bringing him off the bench in the Matchday 1 defeat at RB Leipzig to make the teenager the club's youngest Bundesliga debutant at 17 years 346 days.

Unafraid to mix it with the big boys, Paul Nebel takes on Germany international Marcel Halstenberg on his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 1. - Jan Huebner/Voigt via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Jan Huebner

Nebel's ability to hit the ground performing had already come to the fore in helping Mainz avoid a banana skin in their DFB Cup tie against amateurs Havelse. The score was 1-1 when Nebel emerged from the bench on the hour mark, by full-time it was 5-1.

"He just worked straight away," said an admiring Beierlorzer. "It's just what Paul does, and it lifts my heart as a footballer."

Florian Wirtz
Date of birth: 3 May, 2003
Nationality: German
Club: Bayer Leverkusen

If you surpass the prodigious achievements of Kai Havertz, you must be doing something right. And Florian Wirtz is doing a lot right!

When he started the 4-1 win at Bremen on Matchday 26 last season, Wirtz not only replaced Havertz as the club's youngest Bundesliga debutant, but also put himself into the league's all-time top three aged a baby-faced 17 years and 15 days. He topped that by becoming the German top-flight's youngest-ever goalscorer, putting an absolute peach beyond Manuel Neuer no less in his team's 4-2 loss to Bayern Munich on Matchday 30.

"If he stays fit, he's a player in the Havertz category at the very least," said Jörg Jakobs, who worked with Wirtz at Cologne, the club the local-born youngster left in January 2020 to join Leverkusen.

Watch: Wirtz fires past Manuel Neuer to become the Bundesliga's youngest ever goalscorer

"Florian can do everything. He's got great gamecraft, strong technique, unbelievable game intelligence, is quick with the ball, and can dribble."

"We already knew he's a huge talent. That's why he's played a few games with us before," said Die Werkself coach Peter Bosz after seeing Wirtz strike against the champions in his fourth Bundesliga appearance.

"Today, the boy got the best lesson since he started playing football. With his first three, four touches, he lost the ball every time. You could see the tempo was higher than he's used to. But he's a good player, an intelligent player, and he'll take that on board. He'll learn a lot from it."

Jan Thielmann
Date of birth: 26 May, 2002
Nationality: German
Club: Cologne

Cologne might have lost out on Wirtz, but Thielmann's emergence might ease the pain. After coming through Eintracht Trier's youth teams, Thielmann made his presence felt in Cologne almost immediately after joining them in 2017, helping the U17 side win the title.

His first Bundesliga appearance — the 2-0 derby win over Leverkusen on Matchday 15 last season — was also memorable as the prelude to him signing a pro contract with the Billy Goats.

"For his age, he's already come very very far, both physically and personality-wise, and he also understands the game very well," explained Cologne sporting director Horst Heldt after tying the young forward to a deal that runs through to 2022. "We believe that he'll establish himself at the top level in the long term."

Nick Woltemade
Date of birth: 14 February, 2002
Nationality: German
Club: Werder Bremen

When you are 6'6" tall, you are — literally — going to stand out from the crowd, but Woltemade is so much more than a 'big man up front'.

His qualities with the ball at his feet rather than merely those when it is played onto his head certainly caught the eye of Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt, who blooded him in the first team in February 2020. Aged just 17 years and 352 days, Woltemade took the club record from Thomas Schaaf, who had made his Bundesliga bow at just one day older in 1979.

After Josh Sargent made his breakthrough as a teenager at Bremen, Nick Woltemade is hoping to follow suit this season. - Getty Images

"You could see his quality in some of the moves," said sporting director Frank Baumann after watching Woltemade shine on the right flank.

"We must have patience with him and not place too much expectation on his shoulders."