Deniz Undav is making a real impression in front of goal for VfB Stuttgart. - © IMAGO/Eibner-Pressefoto / Michael Berm
Deniz Undav is making a real impression in front of goal for VfB Stuttgart. - © IMAGO/Eibner-Pressefoto / Michael Berm

Deniz Undav: Who is the VfB Stuttgart striker set to star for Germany at UEFA Euro 2024?


Deniz Undav's goals have fired him to a UEFA Euro 2024 call-up. Get to know the VfB Stuttgart striker who just loves finding the back of the net...

Stats correct as of 5 June 2024

Deniz Undav

Age: 27 (born 19 July 1996)
Club: VfB Stuttgart (on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion)
Position: Forward
Country: Germany (2 caps)

Key stats

While Serhou Guirassy stole plenty of the headlines at Stuttgart during the 2023/24 campaign, Undav's contribution certainly didn't go unnoticed. It took the forward a few weeks to adapt after arriving on loan from English Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion, but after netting twice against Cologne on Matchday 5 of the Bundesliga campaign, he never looked backed. As Stuttgart qualified for the UEFA Champions League, Undav struck 18 times, also adding nine assists. There was nothing Julian Nagelsmann could do but add him to his Euro squad.

Born in Achim, in Lower Saxony, Undav joined the youth academy of Werder Bremen in 2007 and spent five years on their books before being released, apparently because he was too small. "That really hurt," he told Kreiszeitung Syke. "Particulary because I was a little lad from the Bremen region. It took me a couple of days to come to terms with it, but then I just looked forward."

Forward was a move to SC Weyhe. Two years later, he joined TSV Havelse, a club at the time playing in Germany's fourth tier Regionalliga. His second season at the club set a very high standard, with 16 goals and 4 assists. He managed to match his goalscoring haul the following season, adding a further six assists and earning a switch to Eintracht Braunschweig's reserves.

He played only one season for Braunschweig, with injuries limiting him to just 18 appearances, though he still scored nine goals and was part of the matchday squad for the first team in Bundesliga 2 on the penultimate day of the season. He nevertheless left Braunschweig in the summer, joining SV Meppen in the third division.

Watch: All of Deniz Undav's 23/24 Bundesliga goals

Undav could only manage six goals in his first season, but delivered a return of 17 in his second campaign, with a further 13 assists. That caught the attention of Belgian second division side Union St Gilloise, whom he joined in the summer of 2020 and helped, with his 17 goals, to earn promotion to the Belgian top flight as second division champions. There, he really started to hit the headlines, scoring 25 goals to earn the league's top-scorer prize, although St Gilloise only narrowly missed out on winning the league title.

Brighton swooped for Undav in 2021 – allowing him to end the season with St Gilloise – though when he did move to England, he struggled to break into the first team on a regular basis and scored only five goals in 22 Premier League appearances before moving back to Germany in 2023.

Undav's first seven goals for Stuttgart came with both feet (two right, two left) and three with his head, underlining his versatility and threat inside the box – something Germany will most certainly welcome in their pursuit of European glory. The Player of the Month winner for November, he added the January prize to his collection, thanks in no small part to his maiden Bundesliga hat-trick, against RB Leipzig. No German national across Europe's top five leagues per UEFA coefficient has more goals in 2023/24.

Watch: Deniz Undav voted January Player of the Month

Plays a bit like: Niclas Füllkrug

Undav's return to Germany in the summer of 2023 was fuelled partly by his desire to represent his country at Euro 2024. Having never played for his nation before – not even at youth level – Undav is at a prime age for a footballer, and his goals have done plenty of talking on his behalf. Yet playing abroad makes it harder to beep on the radar of the Germany coach, which is why playing and – more importantly – scoring in the Bundesliga is the easiest route into the frame.

Germany already have a player in Borussia Dortmund's Niclas Füllkrug who provides a mould that Undav would fit in nicely, with a similar predatory presence in the penalty area and an aerial threat. He can lead the frontline as a target man, holding the play up for teammates, or be the target for pinpoint crosses to nod at goal.

Did you know?

When Undav joined Brighton, it was only his third season as a professional footballer. His second season was with St Gilloise, having only been an amateur at previous clubs Havelse and Meppen. He was therefore philosophical about his first half year in England. "If I'm not playing from the start in six months or the first year, it's nothing to be ashamed of," he told The Athletic. "I'm trying to do something that's really hard. From Belgium to the Premier League is like five, six levels higher. The Belgian league was hard for me in the beginning too, because it was my second year as a professional."

Undav is the top-scoring German national in the 2023/24 Bundesliga. - IMAGO/FRANK HEINEN/rscp-photo

What they're saying

"He's a genuine striker who has a gut feeling for being in the right place." – VfB Stuttgart sporting director Fabian Wohlgemuth

"He's had a really interesting career: he's had to fight a lot to get where he is now and that shows a lot about his character. He’s a goalscorer who makes players better around him." – former Brighton manager Graham Potter