A cursory glance at the German Under-21 side's recent successes shows the unit to be blessed with numerous youngsters thriving in the German top flight. bundesliga.com took a look at some of the starlets from that team who are on the cusp of taking the next step with club and country...
The mere fact that at 19 years young Max Meyer has clocked up 41 Bundesliga appearances is testament to his precocious talent. Identified from a young age as a future key cog in FC Schalke 04’s midfield, the fleet-footed attacker already has a full cap against Poland to his name and was included in Bundestrainer Joachim Löw’s 30-man provisional FIFA World Cup squad. Seems a matter of when, not if, he will make his international mark, in the same way as his club-mate Julian Draxler has.
Current U-21 captain and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim youngster Kevin Volland also has one international cap under his belt and featured in Löw’s provisional World Cup ensemble. The versatile attacking midfielder can operate as a lone striker and is a veteran of German youth teams since U-17 level. With 74 Bundesliga appearances and 17 goals, Volland's abilities are no secret to seasoned Bundesliga watchers, but the time may well be ripe for regular full international appearances.
Another attacking midfielder off the production line, Borussia Dortmund's Jonas Hofmann has begun his season-long loan spell at 1. FSV Mainz 05 in superb fashion, scoring twice in seven games this season to take his total tally to four Bundesliga goals in 36 appearances. Even more impressively, Hofmann has five goals in nine U-21 appearances since 2013, and his high-pressing game is made to measure for the style implemented across teams sporting the Germany crest.
One of Hofmann's team-mates at club and youth international level is Johannes Geis. The holding midfielder offers plenty defensively and going forward, with excellent set-piece delivery. After a breakthrough 2013/14 which saw him record one goal and seven assists, he has featured in every game in 2014/15 at club level. Geis, who has also been involved in every German youth team since U-16 level, made his U-21 debut in August 2013.
The VfL Wolfsburg youngster, earmarked to be the heart of club and country's defence since childhood, has been quietly impressing with the U-21s since his debut in 2013. Strong in the air, but equally composed with the ball at his feet, Braunschweig-born Knoche has notched up 51 Bundesliga appearances since 2011, in the process forming one of the league's best partnerships with Brazilian veteran Naldo. Three Bundesliga goals testify to the 1.90-metre stopper's threat in the box from set-pieces.