Sane (pictured, l.), Kimmich (c.) and Weigl (r.) have blossomed for their clubs over the last season.
Sane (pictured, l.), Kimmich (c.) and Weigl (r.) have blossomed for their clubs over the last season.

Gamble on youth a safe bet for Löw

Five players in Joachim Löw's Germany UEFA EURO 2016 squad would have been eligible to play in next year's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Poland.

Whilst VfL Wolfsburg midfielder Julian Draxler and Liverpool FC utility man Emre Can have already established themselves in Germany's senior set-up, FC Schalke 04's Leroy Sane, FC Bayern München's Joshua Kimmich and Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl have had significantly less international air-time. Just who are the Bundesliga-based former Under-21 trio, and why will they shine in France? takes a closer look…

Leroy Sane

Perhaps the highest-profile of the 20-year-olds at Löw's disposal, Sane burst onto the scene with Schalke in the 2014/15 Rückrunde, chipping in with three goals as the Gelsenkirchen team qualified for the UEFA Europa League. A fleet-footed, left-footed right-winger, Sane is a menace to mark. Eligible for France and Senegal through his parentage, coach Horst Hrubesch's decision to take a gamble on Sane's talent in the Under-21s last year was rewarded with a return of five goals in six games.

With Dortmund's Marco Reus missing the trip to France through injury, Sane has a chance to shine out wide, and all signs point toward him seizing that opportunity. Sane finished the 2015/16 campaign with eight goals and six assists as the Royal Blues once again qualified for European club football's second-tier competition - with his individual effort in Schalke's 2-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 6 showcasing the the kind of close ball-control most can only dream of.

Joshua Kimmich

When Kimmich swapped RB Leipzig for FC Bayern at the start of the season, few would have imagined the positive impact the Baden-Württemberg-native would have on the Bavarians' first-team during the campaign. With Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal keeping the central midfield positions on lockdown, Kimmich was kept in the shadows until an injury-crisis at centre-back forced Pep Guardiola's hand.

Kimmich deputised with aplomb, enjoying 14 clean sheets at the heart of Bayern's defence as the champions went on to wrap up a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title. Kimmich played more minutes than each of Jerome Boateng, Javier Martinez and Medhi Benatia, and, having ended the season with a league second-best 92.6 pass completion percentage, he could prove invaluable in Die Nationalmannschaft's spine, regardless of how far up or down it he plays.

Julian Weigl

This time last year Weigl was playing in Bundesliga 2 with TSV 1860 Munich. Fast-forward a season and Die Löwen's former club captain is the lynchpin of a Dortmund side that finished the campaign as the best-ever Bundesliga runners up. Thomas Tuchel was forced to turn to Weigl with long-time captain Sebastian Kehl retiring and Nuri Sahin struggling with injury, and he did not disappoint. Dortmund barely started a move without going through Weigl, and his 214 touches in BVB's 2-2 draw with 1. FC Köln on Matchday 34 were a Bundesliga record in a single game, outdoing a certain Xabi Alonso, who managed 204 - also against the Billy Goats - in September 2014.