Christoph Baumgartner, Lino Tempelmann, Xaver Schlager, Fredrik Jensen, Lennard Maloney and Arne Maier are young and hungry in 2020. - © DFL
Christoph Baumgartner, Lino Tempelmann, Xaver Schlager, Fredrik Jensen, Lennard Maloney and Arne Maier are young and hungry in 2020. - © DFL

Wonderkids to watch in 2020: Part II


Borussia Dortmund new boy Erling Haaland, RB Leipzig and USA’s ‘Mr Versatile’ Tyler Adams, and Bayern Munich’s surprise striking success Joshua Zirkzee are just some of the youngsters set to take the Bundesliga by storm in 2020. has picked out a fledgling talent from each of the German top-flight’s 18 clubs that we expect to make a major impact on the Rückrunde.

In Part II, we pick out six young players from clubs in the middile third of the table who will hope to help their clubs in 2020.

Christoph Baumgartner

Age: 20
Position: Attacking midfielder
Club: Hoffenheim
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 9 (1)

The Austria U21 international is primed to continue his impressive debut season for Hoffenheim having been in the matchday squad for all but two of the Hinrunde games in 2019/20, one of which he was suspended for.

The young midfielder – who can play anywhere in the middle of the pitch, preferring a central attacking midfield role – scored his first Bundesliga goal on the penultimate weekend of the first half of the season, helping his side beat high-flying promoted Union Berlin.

Christoph Baumgartner scored his first goal for Hoffenheim before the winter break in a win over Union Berlin. - imagoimages

While his three starts from nine appearances may not seem many, it should be remembered that the 20-year-old is in a battle for places alongside the likes of Sebastian Rudy, Dennis Geiger, Diadie Samassekou and Florian Grillitsch.

The arrival of Munas Dabbur will only increase competition for places in the final third, but Baumgartner has the ability to fight his corner and convince Alfred Schreuder he is worthy of a spot in the starting XI. The ball is now in his court.

Lino Tempelmann

Age: 20
Position: Central midfielder
Club: Freiburg
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 1(0)

Anyone once on the books of Bayern Munich must have a healthy helping of talent.

Tempelmann was just nine when he was picked up by scouts from his hometown club, and spent five years there before joining other local sides in Unterhaching and then 1860 Munich. His start at Freiburg was derailed by a knee injury in February 2018, and another knee problem curtailed his 2019/20 Hinrunde.

Sandwiched in between was a bittersweet Bundesliga debut hosting RB Leipzig, starting against the Bundesliga leaders before being injured – the game ended in a 2-1 win for the home side. At a club where youth is given its head, his chance to shine will surely come again in the second half of the season with the sturdy central midfielder already back to full fitness.

Xaver Schlager

Age: 22
Position: Central midfielder
Club: Wolfsburg
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 8(1)

Four league titles and three domestic cups with RB Salzburg and an impressive U21 European Championship showing with Austria last summer seemed to be a solid platform for Schlager to make the step across the border and up to the Bundesliga.

His assist on his top-flight debut in Germany - in the Matchday 1 win over Cologne - confirmed that, which made the broken ankle he sustained just 11 minutes into the Matchday 3 draw with Paderborn all the more frustrating.

"Are you not entertained?" - Xaver Schlager has made a flying start to life at Wolfsburg. - gettyimages

The fact that Schlager - after almost two months on the sidelines - immediately returned, and even scored, in the victory over then table-toppers Borussia Mönchengladbach is a sign of the impression he has already made with coach Oliver Glasner.

With a winter training camp upping his fitness levels to the maximum, Schlager should be one of the stand-out stars of the Rückrunde, adding bark, bite and a touch of brilliance to the Wolves' midfield.

Fredrik Jensen   

Age: 22
Position: Attacking midfielder
Club: Augsburg
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 8(1)

"He can develop into a great asset for Augsburg," the club's sporting director Stefan Reuter had said after seeing Jensen pen a five-year deal in summer 2018. The Finland international's five-year schooling at Dutch club FC Twente is now starting to serve him well 18 months after he swapped the Eredivisie for the Bundesliga.

Watch: Jensen played a key role in Augsburg's 4-2 win at Hoffenheim!

After a bedding in period and six top-flight games in his maiden season in Germany, the Swedish-speaking attacker has eased his way into the first-team frame.

With Alfred Finnbogason sidelined since November, Martin Schmidt scoured his squad for effective support for Florian Niederlechner. He eventually found it in Jensen, who started three of the last four Hinrunde matches and scored his first Bundesliga goal against Hoffenheim. That trio of starts all ended in wins…

Lennard Maloney

Age: 20
Club: Union Berlin
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 0 (0)

The centre-back, who has an American father and German mother, has yet to make a top-flight appearance for this season's newcomers, but it is surely only a matter of time before he breaks his duck.

At Union since 2012, Maloney has done enough in the club's youth teams to make a trans-Atlantic impression, and has already been called up for the USA's U20 squad having featured at junior levels for Germany, the country of his birth.

Lennard Maloney was part of Union Berlin's squad which one promotion to the Bundesliga last season. - imago/Matthias Koch

The Berlin-born centre-back can also count on the advice of another Union defender who has represented the USA at youth level, Neven Subotic. Maloney has already started a game for Union during the winter break with coach Urs Fischer giving him the chance to impress ahead of the Bundesliga’s return.

Arne Maier

Age: 21
Club: Hertha Berlin
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 2 (0)

It's not the only reason, but if you're looking for a significant part of the explanation for Hertha's Hinrunde troubles then you need to go no further than the fact they missed Maier.

After the U21 EURO with Germany meant he missed a chunk of pre-season, a succession of knee injuries blighted the midfielder, who - along with his club - must have been hoping he make a quicker return to action in the first half of the season to follow on from his 24 impressive top-flight appearances in 2018/19.

Arne Maier is one of the Bundesliga's best defensive midfielders, and will look to find his form again in 2020 after an injury-ridden start to 2019/20. - Boris Streubel/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images

Instead, just two cameos - totalling 20 minutes – were possible in the Hinrunde. Maier, though, will know a full winter break gives him the time he needs to return to full health and strength, ready to return and pull the strings for his side looking to stay clear of a potential relegation battle in 2020.

Click here for Part I of our wonderkids!

Click here for Part III of our wonderkids!