If you've been impressed by Borussia Dortmund academy graduates like Christian Pulisic and Mario Götze, prepare to be stunned by another outrageously gifted BVB youngster: Youssoufa Moukoko. The teen has broken Bundesliga scoring records at U17 and U19 levels within two seasons.
The 15-year-old (do not rub your eyes, yes, we did say 15!) has been so prolific in his three short years with the Dortmund U15s, 16s and 17s that he is already playing for the U19s.
Moukoko has adapted seamlessly to the new level, and on Matchday 20 of the U19 Bundesliga West season in early March he scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Rot-Weiß Oberhausen to take his tally to 34 goals for the season - with six games still to play in the campaign.
That haul means he has already overtaken the previous record for a full season of 33, set by VfL Bochum's Haluk Türkeri in 2004/05 and equalled by Werder Bremen's Johannes Eggestein in 2015/16.
"Youssoufa has now reached the age in which he is allowed to play in the U19 team," youth chief Lars Ricken told German daily Bild ahead of Moukoko's promotion.
"We see this as the right year for him to play in this age group, which corresponds to his performance. He's scored a lot of goals, is very inquisitive, hungry for success, hardworking and always comes with a smile that distinguishes him. That’s what we look at. The tools are there."
After netting 50 league goals for the U17s in 2018/19 - also a new record - the teenage sensation had been looking forward to the new campaign despite losing the final of the B-Junioren Bundesliga (U17 level) to Cologne. "I'm proud and thrilled by what we've achieved. Fifty goals – I never would've managed it without you [his teammates]," Moukoko wrote on social media before sending out a warning to this season’s competition. "I'll come back even stronger and we’ll rock the U19s!"
The prodigious forward has been true to his word. Before August was done, he had netted another hat-trick – this time in a 6-2 hammering of Arminia Bielefeld. A goal in the 2-0 success at Viktoria Köln took Moukoko’s tally to 10 for the season, and on 22 September he made it 13 goals in six league matches as he recorded yet another treble in the 6-1 home win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Watch: Moukoko's wondergoal for the U17s against Leverkusen!
In between the Viktoria and Leverkusen games, the talented teen also helped Dortmund to a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the UEFA Youth League – although, for once, he was held scoreless in that game.
Moukoko’s rise to stardom truly began in October 2017 when he was just 12. The child prodigy was the hero of the hour against Schalke, netting a stunning Revierderby brace as the BVB U17s recovered a three-goal deficit to draw 4-4.
The Cameroon-born prospect finished that season with 'just' 40 goals as Dortmund topped their regional division, before lifting the national title with decisive goals from Moukoko in the semi-final against Leverkusen and final against Bayern Munich.
In 2018/19 he helped Dortmund seal top spot in Bundesliga West with a game to spare and to reach the final once again. He scored two and also provided an assist as BVB beat their Wolfsburg counterparts 4-1 in the first leg of the semi-final. He netted once more in the return leg and in the final against Cologne. Although Borussia fell short of defending their crown, the youngster’s goal in the decider brought up his half century of goals for the campaign.
Moukoko, who was born in Cameroon on 24 November 2004, joined Dortmund from Bundesliga 2 side St. Pauli in 2016 and immediately hit the ground running.
In 2016/17, he was top scorer in the club's all-conquering U15 side, netting 33 times in 21 games to help them win the Regionalliga West title with five matches to spare. His performances did not go unnoticed by the German FA, who called him up in September 2017. Moukoko responded by scoring twice in a 3-1 win over Austria, netting three goals in his first four games at international level.
While it may be a couple more years until Moukoko is ready to step up to the pros, the teenager already has big plans for his BVB career. “My goal is to become a professional with Dortmund, win the Champions League with Borussia and win the Ballon d’Or,” the striker told SportBild.
His progress has already caught the eye of first-team head coach Lucien Favre, who has been keeping tabs on Moukoko's development.
"We have a plan with him, but I can't say exactly when he’ll join us," the Swiss tactician said ahead of his side's Matchday 24 clash with Freiburg. "Maybe in March, but we still have to wait on a few things."
Nuri Sahin remains Dortmund's and indeed the Bundesliga's youngest-ever player at the age of 16 years, 11 months and one day. Should Moukoko feature for the first team by the start of the 2021/22 season, he could break that record by a couple of months.
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