The Bundesliga is home to the brightest young talents in world football. After a breakthrough season in 2017/18, the "flagship of the Hertha Berlin academy," according to sporting director Michael Preetz, Arne Maier's rapid rise is set to continue in 2018/19.
Position: Defensive midfielder
Club: Hertha Berlin
From his 17 appearances in the Bundesliga last season – of which 14 were starts – Maier gathered one assist. But that’s not what he’s on the pitch to do. The lynchpin between defence and attack, the 19-year old is superb in finding space between the opposition lines himself, as well as playing through balls and managing the match from his central midfield position. His 86 per cent pass completion rate from nearly 600 passes last season shows his composure in his work, rarely giving the ball away. The six-footer prefers to play the simple game and keep the ball moving quickly, but he can also take matters into his own hands: with three goals in only nine appearances for the Germany U19 team, he’s proving that he can’t be underestimated in any class.
Did you know?
Due to a mishap from the dentist, Maier is now forced to wear braces on his teeth in order to play football. Maier explained to bundesliga.com the story of the incident which almost halted his career from taking off.
"I think I got braces when I was 13 and kept them until I was 16," Maier said. "I got them off, and then we had the Nike Premier Cup here at the training ground, and a month after getting them off I got serious back pains and had to stop playing football until they found the cause.
"Everyone said something different so they never really found the cause, but then I went to see a professor in Potsdam with Frank Vogel from the club, who said my teeth were all askew and that was the problem because the nerves are linked to my back. At first, I got a night guard, and from then I was able to play football again. I then got a permanent brace and need it until my teeth have recovered from what the other doctor did wrong."
What they're saying
"I’m getting a lot of game-time, we have an exciting squad, it’s my city, my team – it doesn’t get any better at 19" – Arne Maier
"He produced an endless amount of goals and assists in the youth leagues. He has to show that in his next step with the first team." – Hertha head coach Pal Dardai
"He has mastered the leap from junior to senior level and has shown how much potential he has. We’re convinced that his great development up to now is far from over." – Michael Preetz