Germany's Lukas Nmecha won the UEFA U21 Euro Golden Boot after sinking Portugal in the final - now he's on his way to Wolfsburg. bundesliga.com has the career skinny on the former Manchester City and England youth player...
Country: Germany (20 U21 caps, 12 goals)
Shortly after he had moved from his birthplace, Hamburg, to northwest England with his Nigerian father and German mother, Nmecha's talent was spotted by Man City, who snapped up the then nine-year-old. He struck 28 times at U18, U19 and U21 level during the 2017/18 season - more than any other player in his age category in England - and opened his senior account in a penalty shoot-out against Leicester City en route to lifting the League Cup. When he replaced his idol Sergio Aguero for City's summer tour of the USA at the end of that campaign - having not long debuted in the English Premier League - he scored again in a 3-2 win over Bayern Munich.
Continuing his search for regular first-team football, Nmecha emulated ex-England captain David Beckham in moving to Preston North End for the 2018/19 campaign, scoring four times in 41 appearances for the English Championship club. He later turned out 12 times for Wolfsburg and played in 13 senior matches for Middlesbrough, before getting his club-level break at Belgian giants Anderlecht, registering 21 goals in 41 competitive appearances in 2020/21.
While his younger brother Felix, who is also on City's books, chose to represent Germany, Lukas initially wore England's Three Lions. His back-heel finish took a side featuring Chelsea's Mason Mount and Hoffenheim's Ryan Sessegnon past the Czech Republic and into the U19 EURO final they would eventually win in 2017. A year later, the 6'1" right-footed forward was part of the U21 squad that won a third successive Toulon tournament. But come the 2019 U21 EURO - after three U21 outings for England - Nmecha was in a Germany shirt. His trophy-clinching goal in the 2021 U21 final was his competition-best fourth, and 12th in 20 appearances to date.
Plays a bit like: Mario Gomez
Nmecha wasn't always a penalty-box predator. By his own admission, he used to enjoy running in off the flanks - but his goal-laden stint at Anderlecht teases a devilishly effective centre-forward in the mould of Mario Gomez. Much like the former VfB Stuttgart, Bayern, Fiorentina, Besiktas and Germany striker, he has the ability to hold the ball up, play as a target man or on the shoulder of the last defender and make runs in behind.
Did you know?
With the 2020/21 Jupiler League having been played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anderlecht fans were desperate for Nmecha to stay in Belgium for another season. So much so that fan group 'Mauves Army' unveiled a banner at RSC's training ground that read: "Lukas, you didn't have the opportunity to meet us. Stay one more year!"
Nmecha - who says he joined Anderlecht to play under former Man City teammate Vincent Kompany - responded to the gesture on Instagram with a heart emoji.
What they're saying
"I don't like to put pressure on the lads, it's a big leap to the senior Germany team, but I like his development and he's not the finished article yet. He delivered consistently at Anderlecht - that did him good." - Germany U21 head coach Stefan Kuntz
"He works really hard for the team. Of course, he still has room for improvement, but he is already a quite complete striker. He does not have any obvious weaknesses. He is already one of the best strikers in Belgium. In time, he will lead the line for a top European team." - Anderlecht head coach Kompany
"Lukas has great prospects. He's hungry, he takes in everything you tell him." - Man City head coach Pep Guardiola
2022 summer friendlies overview
Find out what the Bundesliga clubs are getting up to in pre-season ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
10 things on Robert Lewandowski
Thought you knew everything about Bayern's FIFA World Player of the Year? Think again!
Sadio Mane to wear No.17 shirt
Bayern's superstar signing has picked his jersey number for the new campaign.