It's been a whirlwind 12 months for David Raum who, after securing promotion to the Bundesliga with Greuther Fürth, winning the U21 Euros, playing in the Olympic Games, and making his top-flight debut after signing for Hoffenheim, has now been called up to the senior Germany squad for the first time.
Country: Germany (8 U21 caps)
Despite being born and raised in Nuremberg and joining local club Tuspo Nuremberg aged just four, it was neighbouring city rivals Fürth - just six miles to the west - who noticed Raum within just a year and signed him at five years of age. The then out-and-out midfielder rose through the ranks quickly, scoring 10 goals and providing 12 assists in his final full season with the club's U19s.
By the end of the 2016/17 season, Raum was part of Greuther's first-team squad and made five appearances from left midfield. That number became 20 the following season while he was tested in several positions such as left midfield, right midfield, left-back and even centre-forward. By the start of 2019/20, his third full season in Bundesliga 2, Raum was settled on the left side for Fürth.
His defensive quality was evident, but the local boy had yet to burst onto the professional scene with the same attacking output which saw him climb up the youth ranks at the Sportpark Ronhof | Thomas Sommer. That was until 2020/21 where Raum took the league apart. He scored just once but assisted a league-high 15 times to help push Fürth to promotion on the final day.
Those performances and his development over the previous seasons had sparked interest from several Bundesliga clubs, and it was with Hoffenheim where Raum signed on the dotted line in January of last season. He then played in each of the Germany U21 team's games on their way to the European Championship title this past summer, as well as playing every minute of Germany's campaign at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Plays a bit like: David Alaba
Raum's versatility in the positions he has played and - in left-back and central midfield especially - the positions he is used to playing has an air of David Alaba about it. The majority of Raum's assists in his final Bundesliga 2 campaign with Fürth were from passes rather than crosses, as may have been expected from his left wing-back position.
That midfield past means that Raum is very comfortable on the ball and has the smarts to know when to come inside from his left-back position or when to race down the flank. He possesses the vision to both find his attacking teammates within tight spaces as well as with crosses. Raum is also an aggressive attacking player, using his speed and strength to attack opposition full backs.
Did you know?
Raum was one of only three players to both represent Germany's U21 side at the European Championships this past summer, going on to win that competition, and the Olympic Games in Japan which followed directly after. The others being Amos Pieper of Arminia Bielefeld and Arne Maier of Augsburg.
In total, Raum made 46 appearances from the start of the 2020/21 season until the start of the current Bundesliga campaign, 2021/22.
What they're saying
"David is a highly talented and extremely fast player with a strong left foot who has developed into one of the most sought-after full-backs in Germany thanks to his outstanding performance this season" - Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen
"Once you've earned that kind of promotion, you soak it up. And when you can play for your own country, that's motivation enough, also because you've seen how much support came from Germany fans. It's not difficult to run yourself into the ground for 120 minutes. - Raum himself on playing for Germany at the Olympics.