Freiburg defender Robin Koch has been called up to Joachim Löw's Germany for the first time ahead of games against Argentina and Estonia. 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 (5 U21 caps)
Koch's only in 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 is averaging 65 per cent for aerial challenges won so far 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 is now closing in on his 60th Bundesliga appearance for Freiburg. The five-time Germany U21 international - a natural right-footer - has registered three goals and two assists, whilst collecting just three yellow cards since making his top-flight bow in October 2017. He is yet to be sent off in 136 senior club outings.
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.
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