Silas Wamangituka has been named the Bundesliga's Rookie of the Season for 2020/21. bundesliga.com has the lowdown on the VfB Stuttgart flier...
Club: VfB Stuttgart
Country: DR Congo
Born on 6 October 1999 in the Democratic Republic of Congo's capital city Kinshasa, Silas was discovered at 12-years-old by Black Mountain Sport academy before going on to join local side Olympic Matete FC. Young Wamangituka spent six years with Matete before moving to France, where he first arrived at fifth-tier side Ales in 2017. A year later, Silas made the move to Ligue 2 outfit Paris FC in the French capital, where he made his professional debut on 31 August, 2018. Silas was largely used as a centre-forward with the Parisians and he scored 11 times in 32 appearances in his first season before Stuttgart came calling in the summer of 2019.
He took a little bit of time to get going at the Mercedes-Benz Arena and bagged his first Stuttgart goal in his seventh appearance - an otherwise disappointing 6-2 loss at Hamburg in October 2019. His second goal for the club a week later was far more enjoyable as Stuttgart saw off Dynamo Dresden 3-1 and by the end of the campaign, he had played a significant role in securing VfB's return to the top-flight. Silas closed out the 2019/20 season with seven goals and eight assists in Germany's second division, contributing four assists and a goal in Stuttgart's last four games to see them over the line in style.
Silas's rapid ascent took him from France's fifth division to the Bundesliga in just three years, and top-flight football was yet another hurdle he took in his stride. He had played at centre-forward, left-wing, right-wing and at wing-back on both flanks in the second tier, but made the right-hand side of Stuttgart's attack his own for much of 2020/21. Silas scored on his Bundesliga debut in the derby defeat to Freiburg on the opening day, and won the November, December (2020) and February 2021 Rookie of the Month awards after a stunning start to the campaign. Silas, who also clocked a top speed of 22mph, scored for the fourth match in a row on Matchday 19 with a stunning solo effort in victory over Mainz to take his tally to 11 goals and three assists, before being ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with an anterior cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee.
Watch: Silas scores wonder-goal in 2-0 win over Mainz
Plays a bit like: Timo Werner
There are few players as direct as Silas, who plays as if there is a magnet drawing him toward the opposition goal. One player that is similar in that regard, however, is former RB Leipzig and Stuttgart man Timo Werner, who can also ply his trade from either the wing or through the middle but almost always finds himself in the opposing penalty box.
With his rangy, imposing 6'2" frame, Silas also has something in common with the Cristiano Ronaldo of a few years ago - a winger with pace, dribbling and an appetite for goals, who, frankly, played like a striker even if his starting position didn't necessarily demand it.
Did you know?
Silas' early career was heavily linked with former France striker Nicolas Anelka, who founded the Black Mountain Sport academy in Kinshasa and has close ties with Matete - the team that gave Silas his big break in his homeland.
What they're saying
"He is a calm guy, but on the field he is really wild. He is really good at dribbling and is really fast. We are happy that he is with us. We are enjoying every minute that he is playing with us." - Stuttgart teammate Orel Mangala
"He and a few others have huge potential. They're keeping their feet on the ground and giving it 100 per cent every day in training. The potential Silas and several others have knows no bounds." - VfB coach Pellegrino Matarazzo
"I know with Silas that he doesn't like to pass the ball, but as long as he scores, I won't say anything." - Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic after Silas' wonderful solo goal against Mainz