Patrick Wimmer: Who is the Wolfsburg winger drawing comparisons with Kevin De Bruyne and Lionel Messi?
Following a breakout Bundesliga season at Arminia Bielefeld, Patrick Wimmer has been on sensational form with Wolfsburg in 2022/23. We take a closer look at the up-and-coming Austria winger...
Position: Winger/attacking midfielder
Country: Austria (one cap)
Wimmer's rise from amateur to professional football was about as quick as it gets. Starting out at SC Sitzenberg-Reidling, he moved to SG Waidhofen/Ybbs for 2015/16 and climbed to the fourth division of Austrian football in 2017/18 with SV Gaflenz, still as an amateur. From there, it took just two years before he was noticed by Austria Vienna, whose vice-president Raimund Harreither had first spotted his talent at a club he had formed. AFW Waidhofen is an academy and college where youngsters get to play football and study at the same time.
Watch: The best of Patrick Wimmer
Harreither felt Wimmer was good enough for a professional football career and found a place for him in Austria Vienna's reserve team – the Young Violets – but the top-flight club's coach Peter Stöger, formerly of Cologne and Borussia Dortmund, soon realised he was good enough for the first team. Six months after debuting in Austria's second division, the 5'10" right-footer was making his first appearance in the Austrian Bundesliga, entering late on in a derby against Rapid Vienna.
After 47 games and four goals for Austria Vienna, Wimmer took the next step in his career by joining promoted Bundesliga club Bielefeld in summer 2021. He marked his debut with a goal, but made even more headlines with a 'Rabona' assist in the 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt later in the 2021/22 season, having given Bielefeld the lead in the same game. The January 2022 Rookie of the Month was Arminia's top provider last term with six assists, and he also notched three goals in his 31 appearances.
After penning a five-year deal with Wolfsburg through to summer 2027, Wimmer needed just 11 minutes of his debut against Werder Bremen to show what he could do. Collecting a pass from Ridle Baku, he skipped away from two defenders before sliding a perfect ball to Lukas Nmecha for the opening goal.
After suffering an unfortunate head injury in training in mid-August, Wimmer was sidelined for almost six weeks. However, he struck a rich vein of form in the lead-up to the World Cup, providing assists in wins over Bochum and Dortmund and notching his first Bundesliga goal for Wolfsburg in a 3-0 victory at Mainz.
The 21-year-old has continued to go from strength to strength, contributing a goal and assist to the 6-0 demolition of fellow European hopefuls Freiburg, before terrorising the Hertha Berlin defence and grabbing another assist in a 5-0 demonstration.
Wimmer also made his senior debut for Austria in June 2022 - under former RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick - starting in a 2-0 loss to Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.
Plays a bit like: Lionel Messi
Wimmer is at his best when he gets the ball at the feet and is able to run at opposition defenders, using his pace and ball control to get into dangerous positions either for a cross or to take a shot himself. Sound familiar? Like Messi, the Austrian loves taking on his man and is currently averaging 30 duels per game. Perhaps less of a pure finisher than the Argentine, Wimmer also has shades of another of Wolfsburg's favourite sons: Kevin De Bruyne, who racked up goals and assists for fun during his 18 months in green.
The Wolfsburg No.39 is currently averaging a goal or assist every 95 minutes, which underlines his growing importance to Niko Kovac's side. And interestingly, he is one of only three men in Europe's top five leagues (with at least 500 minutes under their belt) to have created more than one big chance per game. The other two? You guessed it: De Bruyne and Messi.
Did you know?
Wimmer's goal in the 1-1 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt on 28 August 2021 made him the first ever Austria U21 player to score on his Bundesliga debut, and the fifth-youngest Austrian ever to score in Germany's top flight after David Alaba, Harald Cerny, Kevin Danso and, by just four days, Martin Harnik.
What they're saying
"He’s versatile, can play on either wing but also be used as a second striker or right-back. He brings power, energy and pace. He also possesses great shooting ability, plays without inhibition, creates chances and has an eye for his teammates. He wants to keep getting better and he will certainly enhance our game." - Wolfsburg sporting director Marcel Schäfer
"It's nice to be compared to two world-class players. I'm on the right track myself, but I still have a lot of room for improvement." - Wimmer on being likened to Messi and De Bruyne
"There's something crazy and care-free about him; he's got a youthful folly. If he sticks at it and works on getting some of the basics right, then he'll be even more valuable." – Wimmer's former Bielefeld teammate Stefan Ortega
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