Few can get past Bayer Leverkusen and Germany defender Jonathan Tah. - © /
Few can get past Bayer Leverkusen and Germany defender Jonathan Tah. - © /

Jonathan Tah: Who is the Bayer Leverkusen and Germany defender?

Jonathan Tah has been recalled to the Germany national team, albeit featuring for the first time since Hansi Flick replaced Joachim Löw as head coach. bundesliga.com profiles the bedrock of the Bayer Leverkusen defence...

Jonathan Tah
Age: 25
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Centre-back
Country: Germany (13 caps)

Key stats

Following spells at Altona 93 and SC Concordia, Tah was 13 when he joined the youth section of local powerhouse Hamburg. Within four years, he became the senior team's youngest debutant at at the age of 17 years, five months and 23 days - a record that stood until 2018. He made his Bundesliga debut a couple of weeks later, with a short cameo appearance against Hertha Berlin, before making his first start on Matchday 6 of the 2013/14 campaign.

Tah furthered his development in Bundesliga 2 with Fortuna Düsseldorf, making 23 appearances during a successful loan spell in 2014/15 that paved the way for a move to Leverkusen. He ended his first campaign back in the top flight with the gold Fritz Walter Medal as Germany's best young player in his age group, and remains a virtual ever-present in the Bayer defence to this day. Playing every minute for Die Werkself in the early part of 2021/22, Tah is poised to break through the Bundesliga's 200-appearance barrier before the campaign is out. He's averaging 93.6 percent for passes completed and has won 45 aerial challenges - a league-high among defenders.

Watch: Jonathan Tah's first steps at Leverkusen revisited

The 6'4" Tah's growth domestically has been reflected on the international scene with Germany. A firm fixture throughout his teen years and captain of the side that reached the 2019 U21 Euros final, he made his senior debut in March 2016 and was part of his country's Euro 2016 squad. The Leverkusen stalwart won his most recent of 13 caps in a UEFA Nations League defeat to Spain, in November 2020.

Plays a bit like: Dayot Upamecano

Tah regularly plays as one of two central defenders in a back four, but has also proven his versatility in a back three with Germany. Physical in the tackle, dominant in the air and confident on the ball, he has much in common with Bayern Munich counterpart Dayot Upamecano.

Tah (r.) has made over 200 competitive appearances for Leverkusen. - Eibner-Pressefoto/Gabriel Boia via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Eibner

Did you know?

Prior to receiving the call ahead of Euro 2016, Tah had just landed in Miami for a summer break. Just as he arrived at his hotel room — with his bags still unpacked — he took a call from Löw asking if he was available. He replied with a "yes" before immediately catching the next flight to Germany.

“That night, the guys I had watched win the World Cup only two years before, were now sitting across from me at dinner,” he later told The Players' Tribune.

What they're saying

"Jonathan has a great history here. He's an international player. He's ambitious. He is held in high regard by his teammates. We expect him to take the next step personality-wise." - Leverkusen head coach Gerardo Seoane

"Jona has really matured. He's already experienced a lot and, in difficult times, always tries to push through." - Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes

"He's a young player with a lot of potential. He's physically strong and very quick. Everything is possible." - Löw before Tah’s first Germany call-up