Philipp Max played youth-team football for Bayern Munich, once outdid James Rodriguez for single-season assists and has an Olympic silver medal to his name - but still the Augsburg talisman awaits his first senior call-up to the Germany national team.
bundesliga.com profiles German football's leading contender for the title of 'best uncapped left-back'...
Country: Germany (three caps, U23 2016 Olympic Team)
Max was on the books of 1860 Munich when he joined the Bayern youth academy as a wannabe forward in 2007. He was still playing up top following his 2010 move to hometown club Schalke, where he won the U19 Junior Bundesliga title in his second season as a Royal Blue before making his top-flight debut in the Revierderby against Borussia Dortmund in March 2014.
Having played just twice at Germany's top table in a Schalke shirt, Max moved to second-tier Karlsruher in summer 2014. KSC missed out on promotion to the Bundesliga following an agonising extra-time play-off defeat to Hamburg, but the 5'8" left-footer - having made the permanent switch to left-back - had done enough in his 26 outings over the course of the 2014/15 season to earn another shot at the big time.
Augsburg swooped with a view to filling the void left by Abdul Rahman Baba's transfer to Chelsea, and Max has been a staple in the side ever since. He has made at least 25 league appearances per season, while in 2017/18 became the first defender since detailed data collection began in 1993 to reach 12 or more assists in a single Bundesliga campaign (13 in total - more than the likes of James, Leon Bailey and Thorgan Hazard to name but a few).
Max - who has scored 11 goals in over 130 competitive appearances for Augsburg, including a run of six in as many league games during the latter part of 2019 - helped Germany's Olympic squad earn silver at the 2016 Olympics, but has yet to step up to the senior team. He has a FIFA20 rating of 77, with a potential of 80.
Watch: Philipp Max scored a brace against Hoffenheim on Bundesliga Matchday 15
Plays a bit like: Aleksandar Kolarov
Max is a solid defender, but much in the same way as Roma and Serbia counterpart, Aleksandar Kolarov, it's going forward where he really shines. An ever-willing runner and the proud owner of a laser-guided left boot, the striker-turned-left-back is every centre-forward's dream. He takes set-pieces and isn't frightened to have a pop from range, making him one of the most dynamic and effective left-sided defenders in the Bundesliga.
Did you know?
Max's father, Martin, was a pretty handy striker back in the day. So handy, in fact, that he claimed the Torjägerkanone as the Bundesliga's top scorer twice in the colours of 1860 Munich (1999/00 & 2001/02).
All told, the Poland-born one-time Germany international registered 126 goals in 396 Bundesliga appearances across spells with Hansa Rostock, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schalke and 1860. He also won the 1994/95 DFB Cup and 1996/97 UEFA Cup with Gladbach and Schalke respectively.
According to Philipp, it was on his father's advice that he settled on a playing career as a left-back rather than as a forward.
What they're saying
"He's one of the best left-backs in Germany. He has to play for the national team." - Augsburg teammate, Tin Jedvaj
"We've watched Max a few times and he played very well in recent seasons." - Germany coach, Joachim Löw
"Philipp is a real asset. He's so dangerous in the forward areas." - Augsburg coach, Martin Schmidt