Gio Reyna, Florian Wirtz, Dani Olmo, Joshua Zirkzee and Jude Bellingham are just some of the youngsters that you must keep your eyes on in 2020/21. - © DFL
Gio Reyna, Florian Wirtz, Dani Olmo, Joshua Zirkzee and Jude Bellingham are just some of the youngsters that you must keep your eyes on in 2020/21. - © DFL
bundesliga

The top 10 young players to watch in the Bundesliga in 2020/21

From Gio Reyna to Joshua Zirkzee via Jude Bellingham and Youssoufa Moukoko, there are plenty of itchy feet on Bundesliga training grounds as the latest crop of talented youngsters eyes a breakthrough into the big time.

bundesliga.com takes a look at the 10 young players to keep an eye on during the 2020/21 season…

Gio Reyna

Age: 17
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Attacking midfielder/Winger

Reyna has been drip-fed into the Bundesliga but with 15 top-flight outings following 11 starts for the U19s last season, the balance has been tipped firmly in favour of a first-team future for the 17-year-old. Indeed, the US attacking midfielder started both of Dortmund's final two fixtures of 2019/20, setting up a goal in the 2-0 win over RB Leipzig, and is now set to play an even greater role in BVB's bid for Bundesliga glory. With Mario Götze moving on and Andre Schürrle retiring, Reyna has edged even higher up the pecking order and his twinkling toes seem set to shine with even greater regularity, supplying chances for Erling Haaland and exchanging defence-destroying passes with Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard.

Watch: Gio Reyna living the dream

Joshua Zirkzee

Age: 19
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Forward

Boasting an average of a goal per game at U17 and U19 level, it came as little surprise that Zirkzee needed just five touches to open his account in the Bundesliga. He required just one more to score his second Bundesliga goal three days later, and his third shot in just 26 minutes of action among the pros resulted in – you guessed it – his third goal against Hoffenheim. No wonder Bayern were keen to tie him down to a long-term deal through to 2023, and he will now look to pay them back by proving to be a genuine alternative to Robert Lewandowski. He has the goalscoring instinct, strength on the ball and the advantage of having observed the master in training; and with such a tight schedule in the upcoming season, he will no doubt get the opportunities too.

Florian Wirtz

Age: 17
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Winger

One man – or should that be boy? – who benefitted from the Coronavirus-enforced break last season was Wirtz. Before the ball stopped rolling in March, Wirtz was best known to Bayer Leverkusen's U19s coaches Patrick Weiser and Markus von Ahlen, having scored two and set up three in four games since joining from Cologne's U17s, where he had scored eight in 10 outings. Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz knew he needed an enlarged squad for the restart and Wirtz not only found himself training with the first team, but he was thrust straight into his top-flight debut against Werder Bremen. Just 19 days later, he became the youngest ever goalscorer in the Bundesliga, netting in the 4-2 defeat to Bayern Munich at the age of 17 years and 34 days. Suddenly, the whole world knew Wirtz. Bosz wisely shielded him from the public glare for a few games, but there will be no such kid-glove treatment in a season when Wirtz could come of age and become a first-team regular from his favoured berth on the right wing.

Watch: Wirtz becomes Bundesliga's youngest ever goalscorer

Dani Olmo

Age: 22
Club: RB Leipzig
Position: Attacking midfielder

"I knew it was time to take the next step, and Leipzig showed the strongest interest in me," said Dani Olmo after leaving Dinamo Zagreb to move to the Bundesliga in January. Step by step, Olmo has climbed his way to prominence, which may sound odd when you consider he gained his footballing education at Barcelona. After seven years at La Masia, Olmo bravely left Spain to sign a three-year contract in Croatia, where he knew he would get the minutes he needed to develop his game further, rather than grazing down his knuckles knocking on the Barcelona first-team door. It was, therefore, a step in the right direction and the next followed with the move to Germany. After settling into his new surroundings pre-lockdown, Olmo flourished during the final eight fixtures in which he supplied his first three goals in a Leipzig shirt. The next step for the Spain international will most likely follow in 2020/21, with more goals, more assists and more influence in Leipzig's challenge for silverware, as they too look to take their next step and win a trophy.

Dani Olmo scored three goals in three games for RB Leipzig at one stage after the restart of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season. - Markus Gilliar/GES/Pool/imago images

Jude Bellingham

Age: 17
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Midfielder

"I'm really excited to join one of the biggest clubs in Europe," said Jude Bellingham after Dortmund fought off fierce competition for the services of a 17-year-old who had engraved his name in the history books of Birmingham City as their youngest debutant and goalscorer. "BVB's path, but especially how they help young players to improve, made the decision very easy for me personally and for my whole family." Only Dortmund could truly offer the England U17 international such conditions to convince him now was the time to move to a big league, as they have done in the past with the likes of Sancho, Reyna and Christian Pulisic, to name but a few. The box-to-box midfielder will no doubt be given the chance to shine on the biggest stage, and merely the fact his former club have retired his No.22 shirt as a sign of their respect for all he achieved with them should be enough to get Dortmund and Bundesliga fans excited.

Watch: Jude Bellingham's first day at Dortmund

Paulinho

Age: 20
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Winger

The move across the Atlantic for a talented young Brazilian is fraught with hurdles, and Paulinho has had to cross many on his way to hitting the flat, green grass which now lies in front of him. Signed from Vasco da Gama in early 2018, a heavy weight of expectation followed the then 17-year-old as he - like many of his compatriots before him - needed time to adapt to a new culture and new surroundings. A brief return home for an Olympic Games qualifying tournament was like a burst of oxygen, with three goals and four assists in seven games convincing Paulinho of what he was capable of achieving. Back in Germany, he scored three and set up a further two as he grasped Bosz's way of thinking, and the number seven could have Leverkusen fans in seventh heaven next season.

Paulinho is striving to make the No.7 his own for Bayer Leverkusen at the BayArena in 2020/21. - imago

Christoph Baumgartner

Age: 20
Club: Hoffenheim
Position: Attacking midfielder

One of the most prolific midfielders in the Bundesliga last season that may have slipped under your radar, get ready to hear a lot more about Baumgartner in 2020/21. Hoffenheim's Austrian midfielder had a direct hand in 13 goals last term, scoring seven himself. That is still a fraction of the nine goals and 15 assists he supplied in Hoffenheim's U19s – enough to earn him his Bundesliga debut under Julian Nagelsmann in 2018/19 – but fewer only than Andrej Kramaric for the Sinsheimers. Whether playing in his favoured No.10 role, off a leading striker to the left or right or indeed leading the attack himself, it was sufficient proof he can deliver at German football's top table. Expect more of the same to come from the Austrian in his second full season of senior football in Hoffenheim's blossoming attack.

Watch: Baumgartner's magic for Hoffenheim

Youssoufa Moukoko

Age: 15
Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: Forward

The current record for the youngest debutant in the Bundesliga is looking increasingly under threat after a rule change made it possible for Youssouffa Moukoko to run out at Signal Iduna Park as soon as he turns 16 on 20 November. A glance at what he has already achieved at youth level for the Black and Yellows makes it quite likely that Moukoko will smash Nuri Sahin's record of 16 years, 11 months and one day, as soon as Lucien Favre is legally able to pick him. His 34 goals at U19 level last term – against defenders often four years his senior – is a new all-time record at that level, having struck another record of 50 for the U17s in the 2018/19 campaign. With over 100 goals to his name already since first appearing for Dortmund's U17s aged just 12, that Bundesliga debut and first professional goal are perhaps one of the safest bets for the upcoming campaign.

Youssoufa Moukoko may still be waiting to make his Bundesliga debut, but his performances in the U19 team at Borussia Dortmund have German football watching. - Revierfoto via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Revierfoto

Ismail Jakobs

Age: 20
Club: Cologne
Position: Winger

Promoted to the Cologne first team alongside Noah Katterbach by coach Achim Beierlorzer at the start of the 2019/20 campaign, injury meant we had to wait until Matchday 11 to get a first sight of the left-winger. It was worth the wait and just five games into his senior career, Jakobs had his first professional goal. He was on target as Cologne came from 2-0 down to register a 4-2 win at Eintracht Frankfurt as they went on their best run of the season. The Bundesliga Rookie of the Month award was just reward for a fine December 2019 and the 20-year-old would end the year with two Bundesliga goals, two more assists and a total of 1,678 minutes under his belt across 20 league appearances - all of which were starts. It's some return for a debut campaign, and big things are expected in 2020/21 if an injury-free Jakobs can have a full run at all 34 matchdays.

Having made his breakthrough for his boyhood club in 2019/20, Ismail Jakobs has his heart and eyes set on taking Cologne to the next level in the new campaign. - imago images

Ruben Vargas

Age: 21
Club: Augsburg
Position: Winger

Vargas arrived in Germany last summer with 50 Swiss Super League appearances to his name, but an entirely bigger test ahead of him in one of Europe's major leagues. He took to the Bundesliga in his stride, however, buoyed by his senior international debut for Switzerland just a week prior to his Augsburg bow at Dortmund on the opening day. A first Bundesliga goal followed in the 1-1 draw against Union Berlin a week later and, by the time he hit a brace past Werder Bremen, Vargas had three goals from his first three games. He ended the season in similarly rich form, scoring twice across the final three matchdays of 2019/20 - a season that also saw the 21-year-old bag a first goal for Switzerland back in November. Only Florian Niederlechner (13) and Philipp Max (eight) scored more top-flight goals for Augsburg than Vargas last term and - now that he has his eye in - he'll be eager to build on his six strikes by the time his second Bundesliga campaign comes around.