Merlin Röhl has been conjuring up some real moments of magic at Freiburg in 2023/24. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the Germany U21 midfield wizard...
*Stats correct as of 6 December 2023
Position: Central/ attacking midfielder
Country: Germany (five U21 caps/ one goal)
Röhl's been a regular in the Freiburg midfield in 2023/24, producing his first Bundesliga goal and a pair of assists between Matchdays 10-13. The 6'3" midfielder also opened his UEFA Europa League account with a fine strike in the 5-0 group-stage win over Backa Topola. He's currently among his team's top seven individual players across the season for passes to a shot and goal attempts per 90 minutes, earning a Bundesliga Rookie of the Month nomination for his efforts in November 2023.
Röhl's performances have enabled him to make the leap from the Germany U20s to U21s. He registered an assist on his fourth appearance at that level, before scoring on his fifth, in a UEFA U21 Euro qualifying win against Poland. The Berlin native previously played for Ingolstadt in Bundesliga 2 and Germany's 3. Liga, as well as the club's various youth sections, between 2018 and joining Freiburg in 2022.
Plays a bit like: Leon Goretzka
A rangy central midfielder with good feet, an eye for a pass and the opposition goal, Röhl has a similar profile to Bayern Munich and Germany man Leon Goretzka.
Did you know?
Röhl came through the youth ranks at Babelsberg alongside former Freiburg teammate and Germany international Kevin Schade, now of Brentford.
"We knew each other a little back then," Röhl recalled in an interview with Märkischen Allgemeinen. "It was really funny to then be reunited at Freiburg."
Watch: Merlin Röhl is a Rookie of the Month candidate for November 2023
What they're saying
"Merlin's taking big strides after his injury troubles. He's got pace, great movement. He can be a real difference-maker, and he completely identifies with the club." - Freiburg head coach Christian Streich
"He fought his way into [Freiburg's] team. That's not easy. He focused on defensive work and also came into his own offensively. He's very quick and determined. He's very dangerous." - Germany U21 head coach Antonio Di Salvo
"Merlin's the complete midfielder. He can do it defensively and offensively." - Röhl's former coach at Ingolstadt, Tomas Oral
Rising stars: Xavi and Tel among top-10 talents
Bayern's Mathys Tel and RB Leipzig's Xavi are among a group of young players who have seized the moment at the start of the new campaign...
Can Kane and Bayern close the gap on Leverkusen?
Bayern are in Freiburg for the Matchday 24 opener, hoping for another win to keep up the pressure on leaders Leverkusen.
Matchday 24 probable teams
Will Dayot Upamecano, Eric Dier or both start in defence for Bayern Munich against Freiburg with Matthijs de Ligt suspended?