Youssoufa Moukoko, Paul Wanner, Gio Reyna and the 10 youngest players in Bundesliga history
Youssoufa Moukoko is the youngest Bundesliga player in history, but who else joins the Borussia Dortmund super talent among the German top flight's all-time list of fresh-faced debutants? bundesliga.com reveals the top 10…
Age on debut: 16 years, one day
Moukoko became the Bundesliga's youngest ever player, making his top-flight debut for Borussia Dortmund against Hertha Berlin on on 22 November 2020, just one day after turning 16. Moukoko has flown through the Dortmund youth teams, amassing a barely credible 141 goals and 27 assists in just 88 games at youth level, and it was only a matter of time before he made his top-flight bow having been made captain of the U19s - aged 15 - earlier in 2020/21. Moukoko came on for Erling Haaland for the final five minutes of die Schwarzgelben's victory at the Olympiastadion, supplanting BVB legend Nuri Sahin as the Bundesliga's youngest ever player. Sahin had been a month off his 17th birthday when his made his league debut for Dortmund against Wolfsburg in August 2005.
Watch: Moukoko makes his debut!
2) Paul Wanner
Age on debut: 16 years, 15 days
Wanner made history as Bayern's greenest Bundesliga debutant with his cameo from the bench in the record champions' 2-1 loss to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 18 of the 2021/22 season. The Germany U17 international took the plunge two weeks after turning 16, on 23 December 2021, in keeping with an accelarated career to date. Signed by Bayern at 14, he was playing for their U16s within a year and was promoted to the U17s at the start of 2021/22. Before celebrating his 16th birthday, the left-footed attacker had already turned out nine times in the U19 Bundesliga South/South-West, producing two goals and two assists.
3) Sidney Raebiger
Age on debut: 16 years, eight months and 22 days
At just 16, Raebiger followed in Wanner's footsteps on Matchday 18, becoming Leipzig's youngest player in the club's history, just 24 hours after his Germany youth international teammate had done the same for Bayern. Raebiger's three-minute cameo puts him third on the all-time list, having previously been named among the substitutes for the final two matches of Leipzig's 2020/21 Bundesliga campaign and six of Leipzig's 17 Hinrunde fixtures. The one-time Germany U17 midfielder made his Leipzig debut earlier in 2021/22, featuring in the 4-0 win over Sandhausen in the first round of the DFB Cup and will now be hoping for more first-team action over the remainder of the season.
Age on debut: 16 years, nine months and three days
Sertdemir was just seven minutes away from becoming the first 16-year-old to play in the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen. He was pipped to that honour by Iker Bravo (see below), but instead came on in the 1-1 draw away at Hertha Berlin on Matchday 11 of 2021/22 to snatch the record as the club’s youngest debutant and the second youngest ever in the German top flight from his teammate. Born in Denmark and of Turkish descent, the central midfielder only moved to the BayArena in summer 2021 from Nordsjaelland. He’s been in and around the first team but mostly with the U19s. “The debuts of Zidan and Iker are reward for hard work,” Werkself coach Gerardo Seoane said.
5) Iker Bravo
Age on debut: 16 years, 9 months and 25 days
Sertdemir came on with four minutes remaining in Berlin, but Bravo’s introduction seven minutes prior ensured he went down in history as Leverkusen’s first 16-year-old and – at least for those seven minutes – the club’s youngest-ever player, surpassing the record held by Florian Wirtz (17 years, 15 days). Briefly the Bundesliga’s second greenest player, the teenager was another summer arrival at the BayArena after leaving Barcelona’s La Masia academy. Injuries up front saw the striker make his senior debut, against Karlsruhe in the DFB Cup, 11 days before his Bundesliga bow. He’s also settled into life in Germany with the Leverkusen U19s, having a hand in five goals in his first six U19 Bundesliga games, while also beginning the 2021/22 season with seven goals in four caps for Spain’s U17s.
6) Nuri Sahin
Age on debut: 16 years, 11 months and one day
Another Dortmund youth product, Sahin made his full debut at the base of a midfield including Thomas Rosicky, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw with Wolfsburg on 6 August 2005. A first goal followed - against Nuremberg - on his seventh outing. He also chipped in with six assists in his maiden top-flight campaign. The Turkey international spent a formative stint on loan in the Netherlands with Feyenoord in 2007/08 and moved to Real Madrid in summer 2011, but between times produced a career-best six goals - including a belting free-kick against Bayern Munich - and eight assists during BVB’s 2010/11 title-winning campaign under Jürgen Klopp. Sahin was unable to muscle his way in at Real and struggled for form and fitness whilst on loan at Liverpool, but a return to Dortmund had the desired effect. He added the 2016/17 DFB Cup to his collection in his penultimate campaign at the club, only to fall down the pecking order under Lucien Favre the next year. Following a two-year spell at Werder Bremen, the now 32-year-old joined Antalyaspor in Turkey.
Watch: The Nuri Sahin story!
7) Yann Bisseck
Age on debut: 16 years, 11 months and 28 days
What does Sahin have in common with Yann Bisseck apart from a place in our big top 10 youngest debutants reveal? Both played under Peter Stöger - just not in the same team. Before coaxing the best out of and older-wiser Sahin at Dortmund, Stöger handed Bisseck his Bundesliga debut for Cologne. The Austrian played the teenager from the off in a 2-0 defeat to Hertha in November 2017, only to be dismissed a week later on the back of another defeat to Schalke. Bisseck started that encounter, but a second-half cameo in a 4-3 loss to Freiburg under Stöger’s successor, Stefan Ruthenbeck, was the last Bundesliga audiences would see of the Germany youth international. He featured for the Cologne U19s and reserve teams before a January 2019 move on loan to Holstein Kiel. The following season saw the centre-back farmed out to Roda in the Netherlands, where he made 10 first-team appearances. A contract extension with Cologne until 2023 was accompanied by another loan, this time for two years, to Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal from summer 2020.
8) Florian Wirtz
Age on debut: 17 years, 15 days
What a whirlwind few months it was for Wirtz to kick off his senior career. In the first half of the 2019/20 season he was playing for Cologne's U17 team in the U17 Bundesliga West. His impressive displays there earned him a transfer to local rivals Bayer Leverkusen, where he was immediately bumped up two age categories to the U19s. After posting two goals and three assists in four games prior to the coronavirus-enforced break in play, he began training with the first team after head coach Peter Bosz liked what he saw: “If he’s training with us then he has to be a good player. I rate him very highly. He’s a very good player, absolutely.” So much so that the Dutch tactician handed him his starting debut in Leverkusen's Matchday 26 clash with Werder Bremen. Still only 18, the now Germany international has over 50 senior appearances for Die Werkself, also becoming the youngest player to reach double-digit goals in the Bundesliga.
9) Jürgen Friedl
Age on debut: 17 years and 26 days
Like Bisseck, Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Jürgen Friedl turned out just three times in the Bundesliga. Like Bisseck, a clean sheet proved elusive. Friedl conceded the only goal of a 5-1 win against Hannover after making making his debut as a 74th-minute replacement for Wolfgang Kleff; was beaten twice on his first and only full Bundesliga start on Matchday 31 of the 1975/76 campaign - a 3-2 win over Fortuna Düsseldorf; and was given the half-time hook in a season-ending victory at home to Dortmund. The Frankfurt native moved on to see out the bulk of his playing career in the backwaters of German football, representing Heinsberg and Bad Vibel before hanging up his gloves in summer 1990.
10) Ibrahim Tanko
Age on debut: 17 years and two months
Ibrahim Tanko accumulated a fair share more than three Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund after making his bow against VfB Stuttgart in September 1994. The Ghanaian was only a bit-part player at best, scoring three goals in 52 top-flight games across six-and-a-half seasons as a BVB player, but still picked up two Bundesliga winner’s medals and was part of the all-conquering ensemble that lifted the 1997 UEFA Champions League. He later spent six years with Freiburg, producing eight goals and as many assists in 122 outings in Germany’s top two divisions for the Black Forest dwellers.
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