Torben Rhein has been enjoying regular minutes under Julian Nagelsmann as part of Bayern Munich's preparations for the 2021/21 season - but what's his story? bundesliga finds out...
Club: Bayern Munich
Position: Central midfielder
Country: Germany (One U18s cap)
Rhein joined Bayern at the age of 14, after tearing it up on the rubber pitches of Germany's capital city and captaining the Hertha Berlin youths. The 5'8" midfielder - who "prefers the freedom of the No.8 role" - started to make his mark in Munich with the U17s in 2018/19, when he produced 12 goals and four assists in 24 Junior Bundesliga appearances. He spent the following season in the U19s Bundesliga, registering four goals and as many assists, before making his debut for the reserves in Germany's Third Division in June 2020.
A 2019/20 U19 Bundesliga and 3. Liga champion, Rhein scored one and made another in 11 further games for Bayern II in 2020/21, among them nine starts. It proved a calendar year to savour for the Berlin native, who won the 2020 U17 Fritz Walter Silver Medal as Germany's second best player in his age group behind Bayer Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz. The Germany youth international - capped up to and including U19s level - made his senior Bayern debut in a July 2021 friendly defeat to Cologne, before setting up a goal for Tanguy Nianzou in a 2-2 draw with Ajax a week later. His current deal runs until summer 2022.
Plays a bit like: Toni Kroos
Rhein cites Barcelona and Spain legend Andres Iniesta as his "role model", but it's comparisons with another cerebral FIFA World Cup-winning No.8 that have stuck. Toni Kroos is his name; scanning the the playing field, fending off opposition players and picking passes is his - and Rhein's - game.
"My strengths are my passing game and finishing, but being two footed is probably my biggest weapon," he teased after making his full Bayern II debut in February 2021.
Did you know?
Regular sessions with Steffen Tepel have played their part. Rhein - who reportedly rebuffed Arsenal's advances in a favour of a move to the record champions - has been training privately under the pioneering neuro-athletics coach since the age of 15, working on ways to teach his brain how to enhance performance levels and unlock potential.
What they're saying
"He is excellent with both feet, moves well and has great technique, so is able to achieve an extraordinary degree of precision in his shooting and passing. His peripheral vision is very well developed, which allows him to play strong passes out of difficult situations." - Tepel
"Torben Rhein: Remember the name!" - former Bayern coach Hermann Gerland
"His game intelligence and his two-footed ability are among his best qualities. That makes him so unpredictable and difficult to defend when he has the ball at his feet." - former Bayern reserves coach Holger Seitz