Freiburg defender Robin Koch has become one of the newest names in Joachim Löw's Germany squad after his first call up back in November 2019. bundesliga.com profiles the up-and-coming youngster, who has more than just a head of highlights in common with Javi Martinez...
Position: Centre-back/defensive midfielder
Country: Germany (2 caps)
Koch recently completed only his third season of Bundesliga football, but already ranks among the most promising central defensive players under the age of 25. He doesn't just stand out for being 6'3", either. The Freiburg No.25 averaged 64 per cent for aerial challenges won in 2019/20, AND he's found a man with 89 per cent of his attempted passes, putting him in the top 25 for that particular category league-wide.
Koch spent his formative years in the fourth tier with Eintracht Trier before getting his big break at Kaiserslautern - playing 27 times in Bundesliga 2 in 2016/17 - and has now reached his 82nd Bundesliga appearance for Freiburg. A natural right-footer, Koch has registered three goals and two assists, whilst collecting just 10 yellow cards since making his top-flight bow in October 2017. He is yet to be sent off in 136 senior club outings.
In October 2019, Koch made the first of his two international appearances for Germany up until the end of the 2019/20 season. The first, a friendly against Argentina, before Koch faced Belarus in the Euro 2020 qualifier with the Freiburg defender playing the full 90 minutes on both occasions.
Plays a bit like: Javi Martinez
A rangy battering ram happy at home at the heart of the defence or in defensive midfield, Koch shares more than a few traits with Bayern Munich's Martinez. The Freiburg enforcer boasts a tremendous willingness to get stuck in and get his hands dirty, and comes complete the necessary engine to snap at opposition players' heels long past the allotted 90 minutes is up. They've even got the same blonde highlights.
After a head injury sustained in the 2019/20 season, Koch even wore headgear for a few months to make sure he had confidence in going into challenge wholeheartedly despite the scare he had had.
Did you know?
Robin - a reported summer 2019 transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Valencia - is not the first Koch to play in the Bundesliga. Dad Harry - also a central defender - was part of the Kaiserslautern team that became the first and, as yet, only promoted team in Bundesliga history to win the Meisterschale in 1997/98. A 1995/96 DFB Cup and 1996/97 Bundesliga 2 champion with the Red Devils, he hung up his boots in 2007, a veteran of 307 professional appearances at club level, including 187 in the Bundesliga.
What they're saying
"It fills you with pride as a Dad, when your son follows in your footsteps. I didn't always think he'd make it, but he's developed phenomenally." - Robin's father, Harry
"Robin is a warrior!" - Freiburg head coach, Christian Streich