Tyler Adams, Mamadou Doucoure, Joshua Zirkzee, Erling Haaland, Rabbi Matondo and Exequiel Palacios are young and hungry in 2020. - © DFL
Tyler Adams, Mamadou Doucoure, Joshua Zirkzee, Erling Haaland, Rabbi Matondo and Exequiel Palacios are young and hungry in 2020. - © DFL
bundesliga

Wonderkids to watch in 2020: Part III

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.

bundesliga.com 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 III, we pick out six young players from clubs in the top third of the table who will hope to help their clubs in 2020.

Tyler Adams

Age: 20
Position: Central midfielder/right-back
Club: RB Leipzig
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 1 (0)

The last few months have been a learning curve for the USA international. On the crest of a wave last season after establishing himself in the Leipzig first team and earning his first USMNT cap, injury struck.

"It takes time, and it's hard for me as a young player," he explained recently having only featured in the Matchday 17 win over Augsburg that ensured his club spent the winter break comfortably perched atop the table.

Watch: Adams speaks about making his comeback!

Adams' winter break has not been quite so peaceful as he "does everything I can to be healthy" following the adductor problems that hijacked the first half of the season.

Leipzig may be a winning side with Konrad Laimer bossing things in the middle, but a fit Adams is the perfect foil for him in midfield and can also fill in at right-back should form or injury haunt Lukas Klostermann or Nordi Mukiele. When Julian Nagelsmann needs him in the Rückrunde, you can be sure he'll be ready.

Mamadou Doucoure

Age: 21
Position: Centre-back
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 0 (0)

When Doucoure joined Gladbach in 2016 after a five-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain, the Foals looked to have got themselves one of the hottest young centre-backs in the game.

The Senegal-born stopper had captained PSG to the UEFA Youth League final just months before; the next step - into the Gladbach first team - seemed inevitable. But while Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram have both swapped France for Germany with great success, Doucoure's Borussia-Park experience has been confined to the treatment room, not the pitch.

Mamadou Doucoure's injury nightmare since joining Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2016 will hopefully end in 2020 so he can finally make his Bundesliga debut. - imagoimages

A succession of injuries have prevented Doucoure from making a competitive first-team appearance for the Foals in three-and-a-half years, but the Rückrunde could see that long, long wait end with coach Marco Rose "convinced he can help us soon".

"When I see him in training, he's one of the biggest talents in that position I've ever seen," teammate Breel Embolo added. "He's a top footballer with impressive technique."

Joshua Zirkzee

Age: 18
Position: Striker
Club: Bayern Munich
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 2 (2)

When not even Robert Lewandowski can compete with your goalscoring statistics, then you're doing something right. Zirkzee has played just eight minutes of Bundesliga football, and averages a goal every four.

Both strikes have been crucial too: breaking the deadlock in added time at Freiburg on Matchday 16, and striking relatively early - in the 86th minute - to do the same against Wolfsburg in the Hinrunde finale. The fact he has played 13 reserve team games this season without scoring once makes his impact all the more staggering.

Watch: Zirkzee's first moment of heroics vs. Freiburg!

"To be able to develop in the shadow of Robert Lewandowski is an ideal situation for such a talent," ex-Schalke and Netherlands international Youri Mulder said recently. With the Bundesliga's leading scorer a slight doubt for the Matchday 18 encounter with Hertha, might Zirkzee even step out of that very long shadow in the Rückrunde?

Erling Haaland

Age: 19
Position: Striker
Club: Borussia Dortmund
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 0 (0)

How do you spell 'anticipation' in Dortmund? H-A-A-L-A-N-D. The winter arrival from RB Salzburg has got everyone talking. Well, everyone bar himself.

"I’m a guy who works hard, who loves scoring goals and who loves to play football," the Norway international said after joining BVB. "I want people to see what kind of player I am. I don’t want to talk too much."

Watch: Haaland on why he chose to join Dortmund!

He doesn't need to use words - his goals speak for themselves: 28 in 22 competitive games this season for Salzburg, including eight in six UEFA Champions League group stage games.

In comparison to the justified fanfare that has accompanied the Leeds-born teenager's signature for BVB, Lewandowki's 2010 arrival at the club barely registers. Can Haaland live up to the hype? You'd better believe it.

Rabbi Matondo

Age: 19
Position: Winger
Club: Schalke
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 8 (1)

The former Manchester City starlet is clearly starting to find his feet in Gelsenkirchen. He has already made more appearances and - crucially - significantly more starts than the 18/19 campaign after joining in January.

Schalke boss David Wagner has included Matondo in every matchday squad since the youngster returned to full fitness in mid-September, and was repaid with the Wales international scoring his first Bundesliga goal in the impressive 3-1 win at RB Leipzig on Matchday 6.

"We know Rabbi Matondo can do damage with his pace and he did that today," said Wagner. "He played one of his best games for me. He played cleverly and used the space very intelligently." You can expect more rabble-rousing in opposition defences from Rabbi in the Rückrunde.

Exequiel Palacios

Age: 21
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
19/20 Bundesliga appearances (goals): 0 (0)

The injury that means Charles Aranguiz is missing Leverkusen's winter training camp is a blow, but the Chile international's absence is softened by the winter window arrival of this Argentine prodigy.

He came through the ranks at River Plate, helping them lift the Copa Libertadores - the South American version of the Champions League - in 2018, and played a central role to them returning to the showpiece event last season too.

Exequiel Palacios is looking to take his incredible attacking talents to the Bundesliga in full flow with Bayer Leverkusen. - David Fernandez/imago/Agencia EFE

With ex-River teammate Lucas Alario already at the BayArena and a number of Spanish speakers peppered through the squad, Palacios should have little trouble settling, and could follow in the footsteps of fellow South Americans Aranguiz, Emerson and Ze Roberto in making a first mark on European football in Leverkusen.

Click here for Part II of our wonderkids!

Click here for Part III of our wonderkids!