Borussia Dortmund and Germany forward Youssoufa Moukoko has a lot to be happy about after making an explosive start to his playing career. - © Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images
Borussia Dortmund and Germany forward Youssoufa Moukoko has a lot to be happy about after making an explosive start to his playing career. - © Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

Youssoufa Moukoko: Who is the Borussia Dortmund and Germany teenaged striker?


Youssoufa Moukoko is the Bundesliga's youngest debutant and goalscorer but what else is there to know about the record-breaking teenager?

Data correct as of 24 June 2023

Youssoufa Moukoko

Age: 18

Club: Borussia Dortmund

Position: Striker

Country: Germany (two caps)

Key stats

Born in Yaounde in November 2004, Moukoko spent the first 10 years of his life living with his grandparents in Cameroon's capital city before joining his father, a German citizen since the 1990s, in Hamburg in the summer of 2014.

The young Youssoufa soon started playing in the youth academy of local club St Pauli and wasted little time in displaying his incredible goalscoring prowess. Over the course of two seasons, Moukoko plundered 23 goals in just 13 games for Die Kiezkicker's underage teams, and it wasn't long until Dortmund came calling.

Moukoko's been producing astronomical figures ever since. He first played with BVB's U17s aged 13, their U19s aged 14, and after a total of 127 goals and 26 assists in just 84 appearances in all competitions for BVB at youth level, was promoted to first-team training in January 2020. That was some 11 months before his 16th birthday, so he scored 13 goals in four U19 games whilst waiting to be eligible for his full debut.

Further records were only a matter of time for Moukoko after the DFL reduced the age that a player could legally make his Bundesliga debut without special dispensation to 16. The day after his Sweet 16, the pocket-rocket forward duly became the league's youngest debutant when he replaced Erling Haaland in Dortmund's 5-2 thrashing of Hertha Berlin. Less than a month later, he wrote his name into the history books as the Bundesliga's youngest scorer with his effort against Union Berlin on Matchday 13 of 2019/20. At 16 years and 28 days he was almost a year younger than the previous record holder Florian Wirtz was when he had got his first goal.

Between times, Moukoko's run out against Zenit Saint Petersburg made him the UEFA Champions League's youngest player, aged 16 years and 19 days of age. He went on to break another Wirtz record by becoming the youngest player to make 50 Bundesliga appearances. Moukoko was just 18 years and 139 days when he did so, and he celebrated the milestone by hitting the winner against Union Berlin on Matchday 27 of the 2022/23 campaign.

Moukoko finished his first half season with the pros on three goals from 14 appearances, only for various injury setbacks to check his progress the following year. Despite that, he still managed two goals and two assists in 16 top-flight outings.

The 2022/23 campaign delivered brighter days, with Haaland's departure and Sebastien Haller's cancer diagnosis opening the door to regular minutes under Edin Terzic. A 2022 World Cup call-up was just reward for his six goals and four assists across 14 Bundesliga appearances, and Moukoko finished on double figures for top-flight goal contributions in 2022/23 (seven goals, three assists) after his heroics against Union.

And, yes, he's notched further milestones along the way as the Bundesliga's youngest player to get on the scoresheet in the Klassiker, the Revierderby, to score a brace and reach double figures for goals.

Watch: Moukoko and the 10 youngest goalscorers in Bundesliga history

Moukoko had already represented Germany at youth level when Hansi Flick picked up the phone ahead of the winter World Cup. He was already playing for the U16s at 12, scoring three goals in four games before jumping the queue to the U20s inside three years. The BVB teen was on the U21 books 12 months later, scoring struck six times in his five matches for Stefan Kuntz's side.

Moukoko made his senior debut in a World Cup warm-up against Oman, becoming the four-time world champions' youngest debutant since the late Uwe Seeler in 1954, and fourth all told. A week later, he made history as the youngest Germany player to appear at a World Cup finals, aged 18 and three days, breaking the record held by Karl-Heinz Schnellinger (19 years and two months, 1958 World Cup).

Plays a bit like: Samuel Eto'o

Of the somewhat 16 million people born in Cameroon over the last quarter of a century, you can bet that many of them grew up idolising and wanting to be Samuel Eto’o. And no doubt Moukoko was among that group. There have been a number of contenders in recent years to be dubbed "the next Eto’o", but none have come close to emulating the man regarded as one of Africa’s greatest ever footballers.

None of those, though, have shown such levels of talent as early as Moukoko. Not even Eto’o himself was as heralded as a teenager, having only been scouted by Real Madrid in France when he was 16 and failing to score in seven senior appearances for Los Blancos.

Watch: All 11 of Moukoko's Bundesliga goals up to the 2022 winter break

Yet the similarities between Moukoko and the Eto’o we all grew to know at Barcelona and Inter Milan are striking – and we’re not just talking about their almost identical height. They are both out-and-out centre-forwards who you can always bank on when the ball is played into them, scoring the majority of their goals from inside the penalty area. But they are also far more than your typical fox in the box.

Moukoko also possesses a powerful shot – primarily with his stronger left foot but equally comfortable on his right – that he’s unleashed from all distances when the chance has presented himself. However, he doesn’t just lurk between the width of the posts. Like Eto’o in his prime, the Dortmund teenager likes to get down the channels – both running onto and driving with the ball – and has proven he can beat goalkeepers from narrow angles as well.

Did you know? 

Youssoufa is not the only footballer in the family. Elder brother Borel, 22, is a left-back who most recently played in the Kosovan first tier with Ferizaj.

"If the talent runs in the family he should become an interesting footballer," his former coach Ralf vom Dorp at Essen told RevierSport.

It's a challenge Borel could be up to - kicking around against a young Youssoufa whilst growing up in Hamburg can't have been too easy a ride! "He's the wonder everyone thinks he is," the elder sibling explained with a smile.

Moukoko's low centre of gravity, fleet of foot and speed of mind has helped propel him up the Dortmund ranks. - IMAGO/Dennis Ewert/RHR-FOTO/IMAGO/RHR-Foto

What they're saying

"Youssoufa is quite simply developing really well. He's quick, lively and a good finisher." – Germany head coach Hansi Flick

"Youssoufa is doing exceptionally well. He's very confident and he's improved his game considerably. We're delighted that Youssoufa is injury free, that he's playing well, scoring goals and getting assists. We'll continue to accompany him along that path." – Borussia Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic

"Moukoko's much better than I was at his age. I've never seen such a good 15-year-old in my life. The advantage for him is that he's already playing for Dortmund at the age of 15. At his age, I was still playing for my home town of Bryne." - Moukoko's former Dortmund teammate Erling Haaland