Florian Grillitsch turned heads as part of the Austria team that took Italy to extra-time in the UEFA Euro 2020 last 16. bundesliga.com trains the lens on the all-action Hoffenheim midfielder...
Position: Defensive midfielder/central midfielder/centre-back
Country: Austria (26 caps)
Grillitsch had not long won the U18 Austrian championship with St. Pölten when Werder Bremen made their move in summer 2013. He produced 10 goals and eight assists in 16 U19 Bundesliga appearances for the Green-Whites, and had a direct hand in a further 16 goals in 36 reserve-team outings, before debuting for the senior side, aged 17, in the 2015/16 DFB Cup first round.
Having marked his milestone outing with an assist, Grillitsch was rewarded with his first Bundesliga start just days later. It was one of 48 Bundesliga appearances he made for the four-time Bundesliga champions, before switching to Hoffenheim in January 2017. He took his senior international bow soon after, having represented his country at every level since the U17s.
The 2020/21 campaign was Grillitsch's sixth full season of Bundesliga football. He's played in 160 top-flight games to date, registering six goals and 14 assists. The 6'1" right-footer ranked among the Bundesliga's top five midfielders for passes completed in 2019/20 (90 percent), and was 30th league-wide in the same category the following campaign (86.3 percent). He was named Man of the Match in Austria's Euro 2020 Group C encounter with Ukraine.
Plays a bit like: Bastian Schweinsteiger
Grillitsch's hounding of opposition players coupled with his ability to roll his man, carry the ball and ping passes left, right and centre is remniscent of prime Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The Austria international also has versatilty in common with the Bayern Munich and Germany legend, who was an attacking wide player in his youth and featured at centre-back in is twilight years at Chicago Fire.
Did you know?
Grillitsch has been pushed deeper and deeper with age, even lining up at centre-back on occasion. It's a far cry from his teenaged years - he topped the 2012/13 Austrian U18 league scoring charts with 22 goals.
What they're saying
"Florian is an extremely gifted footballer. He has a real football brain and great technique, and can apply himself to a number of different roles." - Hoffenheim sporting director Alexander Rosen
Watch: Grillitsch scored a brace against Augsburg in 2020/21
"The way he interprets playing at centre-back is fantastic." - Hoffenheim head coach Sebastian Hoeneß