Jan Thielmann (r.) made his Bundesliga debut for Cologne - and in the starting line-up at that - in the derby against Bayer Leverkusen. - © imagoimages
Jan Thielmann (r.) made his Bundesliga debut for Cologne - and in the starting line-up at that - in the derby against Bayer Leverkusen. - © imagoimages
bundesliga

Cologne striker Jan Thielmann becomes first player born in 2002 to appear in the Bundesliga

Cologne attacker Jan Thielmann made Bundesliga history on Matchday 15 by becoming the first player born in 2002 to feature in Germany's top flight.

It was something of a baptism of fire for the 17-year-old, a Germany U17 youth international, as the Billy Goats hosted fierce local rivals Bayer Leverkusen in the Rhine derby.

Thielmann started the game on the right side of midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, just behind lone striker Anthony Modeste as head coach Markus Gisdol looked to inject fresh impetus into his side, currently at the foot of the Bundesliga standings with a league-low 12 goals scored this term.

It was Thielmann’s first ever time in a Bundesliga matchday squad and his appearance makes him the youngest player to appear in the league this season. Furthermore, he is the second-youngest player ever to play for Cologne in the Bundesliga after Yann Bisseck, who made his debut shortly before his 17th birthday approximately two years ago.

Thielmann's presence in the starting line-up underlined the youngster's growing reputation at the club, where he has played in the U19s until now this season, scoring six goals in 13 to fire the side three points clear at the top of the U19 Bundesliga West standings.

Thielmann, who doesn't turn 18 until 26 May next year, staked his claim for a first-team berth after impressing in a 6-0 friendly win for Cologne against city rivals FC Viktoria Köln in early October.

"I've seen him play twice now and I've liked what I've seen both times," said former head coach Achim Beierlorzer at the time. "And when you see what he's capable of doing, we know that we've got the next big talent on our hands. He's got a clear head, too. I like him a lot: he covers a lot of ground, has desire, he has everything. We'll take good care of him."