Lazar Samardzic has only played 32 minutes of Bundesliga football for Hertha Berlin, but the Germany U19 playmaker is already garnering attention from a number of big-name European clubs. bundesliga.com profiles one of the Old Lady's brightest prospects...
Club: Hertha Berlin (U19s)
Position: Attacking midfielder
Country: Germany (six U19 caps, two goals)/ Serbia
Berlin-born, but with Serbian roots, Samardzic burst onto the scene with the Hertha U17s during the 2017/18 season when he chimed in with a league-leading 24 goals and four assists in 25 U17 Bundesliga Nord appearances. The cultured left-footer returned 16 goals and 10 assists in 16 matches the following campaign, before stepping out with the U19s for the first time in 2019/20. The six-time Germany U19 international - previously capped at U16 and 17 level - delivered once again, helping himself to 14 goals and nine assists across his 16 outings.
Samardzic hit four braces, one hat-trick and captained the side once, whilst dabbling with the second team in Germany's fourth tier. Two assists in five matches at that level earned him a call-up to the seniors, duly followed by three substitute Bundesliga appearances, including a pro debut in the Berlin derby drubbing of city rivals Union on 22 May 2020. The 6'0-tall playmaker can play across the midfield, but is most at home in a No.10 role. His current Hertha deal runs until 30 June 2022, while he has an overall rating of 60 of FIFA 20, with a potential of 79.
Plays a bit like: Kai Havertz
With his flicks, tricks, eye-of-the-needle passes and laser-guided finishing, Samardzic is - stylistically - reminiscent of Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz. He also boasts the self-same forward strides and finely tuned nose for goal that have underpinned Havertz's record-breaking young career. The Hertha prodigy loves his set-pieces and cheeky penalties, too.
Did you know?
Like Havertz, Samardzic can count a Fritz Walter Medal among his accolades. The award has been bestowed upon the best young footballers in Germany since 2005. A jury made up of members from across the German Football Association (DFB) - from the youth coaching system to technical staff and executives - decides which players should be handed the gold, silver and bronze medals in each category.
Samardzic claimed bronze in 2019 for his star turn at U17 level, but you wouldn't bet against him adding a gold as Germany's top U19 player to his collection - just as Havertz did in 2018. Germany internationals Julian Brandt, Leon Goretzka, Mario Götze, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer and Timo Werner are all former winners.
What they're saying
"The first-team door's open to him; now it's up to him to push through it." - Hertha head coach, Bruno Labbadia
"He's a very exciting player. He reminds me a bit of Max Kruse." - former Hertha interim coach, Alexander Nouri
"Lazar is a fantastic young player, and has a superb attitude. He's irreplaceable. " - Andreas Neuendorf, Samardzic's former U17 coach at Hertha