Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Nadiem Amiri has been called up to the Germany squad to take on Argentina and Estonia in the international break, but who is the freshest face in Joachim Löw’s squad?
bundesliga.com has the scoop…
Born in Ludwigshafen on the river Rhine to parents who had fled Afghanistan in the 1980s, Amiri made his first steps in the game with Kaiserslautern, but it was Hoffenheim’s academy whom he graduated from having joined the Sinsheimers at U17 level in 2012 – at the age of 15. Amiri raced through the age groups at the Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena, making his first-team debut under Markus Gisdol in February 2015 at 18 years, three months and 12 days of age. Trusted by Gisdol’s successors Huub Steven and Julian Nagelsmann in the seasons since, the 22-year-old Amiri had racked up a barely fathomable 106 Bundesliga appearances – plundering 11 goals – before making his summer switch to Leverkusen.
At international level, Amiri helped the Germany U21s to UEFA European Championship glory in 2017, starting seven games and chipping in with a goal against Denmark on the way to helping Die Mannschaft lift their second title at that level, at Spain’s expense. Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich, Timo Werner and Niklas Süle were among the Bundesliga players in that squad, and Amiri has deservedly joined them in the senior set up after concluding his youth national team career with 11 goals in 48 appearances.
Plays a bit like: Kai Havertz
Leverkusen-owned recent U21 internationals whose first positions are at attacking midfield and second on the opposite flank to their favoured foot, the parallels between Amiri and Havertz are striking. Both love carrying the ball forward at pace – although Amiri has a greater propensity to shoot from range, as evidence by his goals for Germany in their run to the European U21 Championship final in June. That Amiri is right-footed and Havertz left makes them the perfect counterbalance to one another, though. Both can play in the same team – something that Leverkusen and now Germany fans should be licking their lips about for years to come.
Did you know?
Amiri may be one of German football’s fastest-rising stars, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots. The youngster has been involved in various refugee projects with his clubs, working with the Red Cross and local volunteers to provide support for those who experienced a similar ordeal to his parents 30 years ago.
Watch: Nadiem Amiri's roots
"It's very hard to be forced to leave your family at a young age and go to a foreign country where you don't speak the language," he told bundesliga.com recently. "But my parents were determined to make something of their lives. To do that you need willpower and heart. You have to be ready to work and learn the language. You can't just wait for a solution to pop up out of thin air."
What they’re saying
"Nadiem is a special player, because he has come through the TSG academy and calmly matured into a young professional of exceptional talent, and he's still getting better" – Amiri’s former Hoffenheim coach Nagelsmann, now of RB Leipzig
"I'm a bit of a street footballer. I play with a lot of heart and try to do my best to help the team. My winning mentality definitely comes from the street. When it comes to football, skin colour and religion don't matter. Everyone gets together and we all enjoy it." – Amiri on his journey into the professional game