Borussia Mönchengladbach and Germany defender Matthias Ginter can count Joachim Löw and Lothar Matthäus among his growing list of admirers. bundesliga.com profiles one of the German top flight's most dependable operators...
Club: Borussia Mönchenglabach
Country: Germany (38 caps)
A Fritz Walter Gold Medal winner in 2012 and 2013 as the best German player at U18 and U19 level respectively, Ginter has made a habit of delivering on his potential. Two days after turning 18 in January 2012, he made his Bundesliga debut as a substitute for Freiburg, marking the occasion by becoming his hometown club's youngest ever Bundesliga goalscorer. He then lifted the 2014/15 DFL Supercup and 2016/17 DFB Cup during a three-year stint at Borussia Dortmund before switching to Gladbach.
Ginter has only missed 10 of a possible 36 Bundesliga games across four full seasons with the Foals, whom he captained for the first time during the latter part of 2020/21. He finished the campaign fifth league-wide for aerial challenges won (131), and as Gladbach's second best for successful passes from open play (87.04 percent). The 6'3" defensive specialist also took his combined goals and assists tally to 28 across 263 league appearances.
Watch: Matthias Ginter - a Gladbach bedrock from the get-go
With such consistent performance levels at one of the Bundesliga's biggest clubs, there was no way Löw wasn't going to include Ginter in his 26-man squad for the rescheduled UEFA 2020 Euros. The former Freiburg striker has been a fan going as far back as 2014, when Ginter made his senior international bow in a friendly win over the Czech Republic. He was an unused substitute at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but made four appearances as Germany added the Confederations Cup to their collection three years later. The Gladbach No.28 been a firm fixture ever since.
Plays a bit like: Sergio Ramos
Play-doh pliable, Ginter has operated at centre-back in a four-man defence, in a tournament-winning three-man backline at the 2017 Confederations Cup, and even at right-back in Euro 2016 qualifying and the 2018 UEFA Nations League. Throw in his aerial prowess, distribution honed during his early days as a holding midfielder, and threat from set-pieces, and it's hard to ignore comparisons with Spain and Real Madrid staple Sergio Ramos. 'Matze' just needs a few tattoos and a beard to complete the look.
A World Cup and European championship winner with Germany, a seven-time Bundesliga champion, and a recipient of the 1990 Ballon d'Or, Matthäus is inclined to agree.
"Ginter has become a leader at the back, in a similar way to Ramos at Real," the German football legend told Sport Bild. "He doesn't just give instructions to his teammates, but leads them as well. That's what Ginter is doing really well at the moment. He reminds me of Ramos."
Did you know?
In 2018, Ginter set up a foundation to help disadvantaged young people in his home city of Freiburg.
"I would like to use my privileged position to support children and young people," he writes on the foundation's official website. "The foundation is designed to provide the necessary support to give disadvantaged young people, whatever their origin or faith, the chance to follow their path and achieve their goals."
What they're saying
"I have the feeling that Matze is undervalued by the public. When he's played with us, he's always done his job well. As a coach, you know what to expect from him. He has a certain calmness about him, which is what makes him so solid, reliable and dependable. He's great in the air, and tactically sound." - Germany head coach Löw
"There was never any need in debating Matze's inclusion in Germany's Euro squad. He's been a a regular for years now - he's a leader." - Ginter's former coach at Gladbach Marco Rose
"We told him he'd have the chance to develop in his preferred centre-back role here. He's got stronger, toughened up. He throws himself into challenges with greater intensity than he used to. He's so consistent and reliable." - Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl