Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus has been rewarded for his eye-catching displays with a maiden Germany call-up. - © DFL
Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus has been rewarded for his eye-catching displays with a maiden Germany call-up. - © DFL
bundesliga

Why Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus deserves Germany call-up

Any midfielder earning a call-up to a Germany squad already including the likes of Toni Kroos, Ilkay Gündogan and Julian Brandt must be a bit special, and Borussia Mönchengladbach's Florian Neuhaus is certainly that.

Neuhaus is one of three new faces in the squad for Germany's UEFA Nations League fixtures against Spain and Switzerland - Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann and Atalanta left-back Robin Gosens being the other two.

At 23, the Bavarian native has already accrued 115 competitive appearances at club level, including 62 in the Bundesliga. He made a telling contribution to Fortuna Düsseldorf's 2017/18 promotion-winning campaign, and has a combined 23 youth international caps at U20 and U21 level in his favour.

"Florian Neuhaus is a very intelligent player and has proven himself with our U21s already," Joachim Löw explained of his decision to call on the Gladbach youngster. "He's earned his place in the squad."

Neuhaus reacted to the news by saying he "wouldn't get too excited", revealing he still hadn't received confirmation of his milestone inclusion when the squad announcement was made.

"I don't know the exact details yet," he told WAZ. "Players are often the last to know, anyway."

And yet Neuhaus is one of the first names on the Gladbach teamsheet.

Watch: Florian Neuhaus's Bundesliga Goal of the Month for January 2020, recreated using FIFA 20

Since returning to Borussia-Park following a formative loan spell in Bundesliga 2 with Düsseldorf, the 1860 Munich academy graduate has started 51 of the Foals' 68 league matches, whilst making a further 11 substitute appearances. He scored three times and assisted nine in 31 games in 2018/19, and had a direct hand in six goals in 30 outings as Gladbach secured a return to the UEFA Champions group stage for only the third time in their history last term.

Of all Borussia players present and correct across the course of both campaigns, only striker Alassane Plea, attacking midfielder Jonas Hofmann and forward Lars Stindl have proven more effective in the final third.

"Florian has made tremendous progress at Fortuna and here at Gladbach," commented the club's sporting director Max Eberl in November 2019, after Neuhaus penned a new long-term deal through to summer 2024.

"He's an integral player for us, and is a real threat in the final third. He has to be on Joachim Löw's radar. If he maintains his level, his performances will definitely merit a call-up."

Florian Neuhaus can become one of the new driving forces in the Germany midfield. - Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

If it was Neuhaus' output in front of goal that piqued Löw's interest, his input in the midfield engine room sealed the deal. The Gladbach No.32 covered 7.4 miles per Bundesliga game in 2019/20, whilst winning a mean 57 percent of his attempted challenges.

Needless to say his efficiency in the No.6 and No.8 roles makes him an ideal fit for a coach who won the 2014 FIFA World Cup using a 4-2-3-1 formation, and has experienced positive results adopting a 3-4-3 line-up in the post-2018 cycle.

"In a footballing sense, Florian is an exceptional talent," said Gladbach tactician Marco Rose in August 2020. "He's also a really good guy, with the potential to become an even better player. There's every reason to believe he will become a Germany player."

Neuhaus (l.) has assumed a deeper midfield role since Marco Rose (r.) took the Gladbach reins in summer 2019. - imago images

All signs point to it being a matter of when rather than if Neuhaus gets the chance to emulate the likes of Günter Netzer, Lothar Mätthaus and Stefan Effenberg - three pre-eminent Gladbach midfield talismen turned Germany internationals.

The latter two later represented Bayern Munich; Neuhaus turned down the record champions, aged 10.

"When I agreed to join 1860 München's U11 team, Bayern came asking for me a week later," he recalled. "My father is a big Bayern fan, but he was still happy for me. Would I play for Bayern one day? I would rather my dad become a Gladbach fan."

Perhaps one day Neuhaus Sr. will. The younger Neuhaus has a habit of using his head-turning qualities to his advantage, after all.

Chris Mayer-Lodge