Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry, Julian Brandt and Luca Waldschmidt. Could these five young stars be the future of the German attack? - © imago
Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry, Julian Brandt and Luca Waldschmidt. Could these five young stars be the future of the German attack? - © imago

Germany's fab five for the future: Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Serge Gnabry, Julian Brandt and Luca Waldschmidt


Gerd Müller, Jürgen Klinsmann, Rudi Völler, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski…Germany have been blessed with some of the game's most deadly strikers.

The remarkable stream of top-grade talent shows no sign of drying up with Joachim Löw now able to pick a clutch of high-quality forwards rich in experience and still very poor in terms of their years. Hardly seems fair, does it?

bundesliga.com sheds light on a quintet who have flourished in the German top flight and are spearheading their country's UEFA EURO 2020 bid.

Timo Werner

His story so far

The lightning-quick Leipzig forward is the most experienced of our five picks, not only at international level, but also with his club where UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League appearances have punctuated his last three seasons.

Those European escapades have embellished the lessons learned in nearly 200 Bundesliga appearances - since he became Stuttgart's youngest-ever top-flight debutant aged 17 in August 2013 – to make him one of the continent's most potent forwards.

Blessed with "enormous speed", as his former Stuttgart coach Thomas Schneider put it, Werner's fleet of foot makes him a real headache for opposing defenders. But Löw recognises that there is more to him than that.

Watch: Find out what makes Timo Werner so good

Where will he play for Germany?

"Timo is a player who defines himself by how many goals he gets, but he has a lot of other qualities going forward," explained the Germany boss. "We think of him very highly. It's important to have a player like him who is so drawn to the goal."

Surging in from the left at breakneck speed has served Werner well, allowing him to score 68 goals in his Bundesliga career to date.

Though his play with his back to goal still needs some work, he is a nightmare when facing opponents, and could even play alongside Gnabry in a two, as part of a front three in a 4-3-3, or as the lead man in a 4-2-3-1.

Kai Havertz

His story so far

"I'm happy that Kai Havertz, who will clearly be a player for us in the coming years, has started the new season well." Löw loves Kai. Who doesn't? The Leverkusen midfielder has long been earmarked as "one for the future". And he's so good, he's also one for the present, too.

Twenty-five goals in 91 Bundesliga appearances is a healthy record for a senior pro, never mind a young man who only turned 20 this past summer.

Seventeen of those top-flight strikes came as Havertz was ever-present in Leverkusen's 2018/19 season -if Löw needed it, that was proof to back up the claims of potential.

Where will he play for Germany?

What is most exciting is that there is surely so much more to come. The prospect of Havertz driving upfield and beyond the forwards to add his goal threat in the opposition penalty area is a mouthwatering one. Unless you're a defender, of course.

Having played in an almost free-roaming role at club level, it could be a similar story for him at international level. Replacing Joshua Kimmich alongside Toni Kroos is an option, however, Havertz's qualities are better suited to a final-third position. It could be as the No.10 behind the frontline, or even on the right side of a front three.

Serge Gnabry

His story so far

Gnabry did not take long to make an impression at the top level of international football. Klose had scored the winning goal in a 2-1 defeat of Albania on his debut, Gnabry outdid him - and how! - with a hat-trick in an emphatic 8-0 win over San Marino. "The three goals will certainly give Serge a boost," said Löw at the time. "He has good potential."

True, hardly the most testing of opponents, but the ex-Arsenal, Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim man has since developed on that promise. He found the net against Russia, the Netherlands home and away, and fired a brace to help defeat Estonia in Germany's Euro qualifier in June. He has scored eight goals in just nine internationals for his country.

Gnabry scored in Germany’s 4-2 loss against the Netherlands in a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier in September. - imago images / Nordphoto

Where will he play for Germany?

His return of 31 goals in 81 Bundesliga matches gives a good indication of his finishing ability. It is encouraged to come to the fore by Löw playing him in a more advanced and central role than he would for Bayern, where he is usually the right-sided attacker/midfielder and is expected to track back as well as go forward.

His ability to play in both roles gives Löw what all coaches want: options. But with out-and-out strikers at a premium, Gnabry's future - at least in the colours of his country - could well be at centre-forward, rather than out on the wing. In either position, Gnabry will be a fixture of the Nationalmannschaft.

"Serge always plays," said Löw before the defeat to the Netherlands in September. How about that for a vote of confidence? The manager's faith was repaid, of course, when he got his fourth goal in as many qualifiers in the home match against the Netherlands.

Julian Brandt

His story so far

It's still ridiculous to know that Brandt only turned 23 in May. He's been around forever, hasn't he? The answer to that question is 'Yes', if you count 'forever' as him making his Bundesliga debut for Bayer Leverkusen aged 17 in February 2014.

His move to Dortmund in the summer was a bold statement by him to move his career up a gear, and a clear sign that last season's Bundesliga runners-up see the quality that Löw has also spied.

"We have a few players who can replace Leroy [Sane]," Löw said when asked how the Manchester City man's Community Shield cruciate ligament injury would harm Germany's prospects. "There's Timo Werner, for example, or also Julian Brandt."

Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Julian Brandt plans to become a key player for club and country. - imago images / eu-images

Where will he play for Germany?

Less pacy than Gnabry, less of a goalscorer than Werner, Brandt is a young man who can make things happen in that most high-pressure zone of the pitch: the final third.

More than 40 Bundesliga assists in 168 appearances attest to that, while his return of 35 goals shows his ability to find the net is a part of his game that is often downplayed.

His qualities mean he can be used right across the line of three behind a central striker, with Löw employing Brandt on the right - as opposed to his usual position on the opposite flank - in recent internationals.

That ability to be a round peg that fits in round holes wherever his coach wants him, and to then still be able to perform, means Brandt will have a major role in his nation's plans for the best part of the next decade.

Luca Waldschmidt

His story so far

Waldschmidt is just over two weeks younger than Brandt, but - in comparison to the Dortmund man - is very much the new kid on the block as he was called up by Löw without a single senior cap to his name.

But there was solid reasoning behind the decision. Anyone who watched Waldschmidt for Germany's U21 team at this summer's European championship in Italy and San Marino will know that.

Stefan Kuntz's side came home with runners-up medals that they owed in large part to Waldschmidt, who finished as the tournament's top scorer with seven goals in five matches, including a hat-trick against Serbia.

Freiburg’s Luca Waldschmidt scored the Goal of the Tournament for Germany at the Euro U21 Championship. - imago images / DeFodi

Where will he play for Germany?

"In the past year, you could see that he still isn't as consistent as you would like a player to be, but with the U21 EURO he took another step forward," explained Löw. "More than anything, he convinced me by the way he interpreted his position."

That position is hard to pin down, with Waldschmidt having popped up right across the front line for the U21s. His top-rate first touch, ability to spot and deliver a pass, as well as his range of goalscoring finishes from any distance mean he would be best suited to a central attacking role, either as part of a three or as a support striker.

"We have called him up for his potential," added Löw. "He's a player who can play between the lines. He's earned his chance."