Hamburg and Germany Under-17 striker Jann-Fiete Arp made his Bundesliga debut in the Nordderby against Werder Bremen on Matchday 7. - © © imago / Ulmer
Hamburg and Germany Under-17 striker Jann-Fiete Arp made his Bundesliga debut in the Nordderby against Werder Bremen on Matchday 7. - © © imago / Ulmer

Hamburg's Jann-Fiete Arp: A Bundesliga star of tomorrow, today

The UEFA European Under-17 Championship in May represented another chance for Bundesliga clubs to showcase the quality of their youth systems. Chief among the attacking threats for beaten semi-finalists Germany was their skipper Jann-Fiete Arp – the only player to have scored two hat-tricks in one UEFA tournament at that level.

Read: Arp awarded prestigious Fritz Walter Medal

The Hamburg striker - who became the first Bundesliga player to be born after the year 2000 on Matchday 7 against Werder Bremen - signalled his intent from the first game in Croatia – netting a 13-minute hat-trick in a 5-0 success against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He got a typical poacher's goal to start with, then rifled home from the edge of the area before nodding in a third for good measure.

The number nine only turned 17 in January, but he already looks a cut above most of his peers around Europe. In his team’s next group game against the Republic of Ireland he demonstrated the full range of his talents, scoring his team’s second, fourth and fifth goals in a 7-0 demolition.

Arp’s opening strike in that game – teeing himself up just outside the box before almost instantly turning to drive into the corner – was further proof of how sharp he can be. His next two – a diving finish with his right foot and a calm one with his left – showed how dangerous he will become if afforded too much room.

A last-gasp volleyed winner in a come-from-behind victory over the Netherlands in the quarter-finals made it seven goals in four games. Arp failed to add to that tally in the 0-0 draw with eventual champions Spain in the last four, but he did score in the penalty shootout as Germany bowed out of the competition.

That kind of form has not gone unnoticed. Hamburg have handed Arp a new contract, keeping him with the club until 2019. Coming off the back of reported interest from "some of the world's biggest clubs", in Hamburg's own words, the deal has been greatly received by the club's fans.

"He’s performing well on the field, but also off it," Germany U-17 manager Christian Wück told football magazine kicker after the tournament. "In terms of his intellect and his character, he is very far ahead in comparison to others of the same age. He stands out in that way.

"I think that as a result he can cope well with the hype around him. After all, Hamburg are already discussing whether he should be brought into the professional squad. He is intelligent and can integrate."

Rather than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, Arp has cited Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane as a role model since he plays in a similar way. In terms of his own game, the lanky teenager feels he has a lot of the qualities required to be a potent forward but also knows that there is still progress to be made.  

“I can definitely still work on my weaker left foot,” Arp told the DFB website last year. “I can also improve my heading. All in all, I have to work on myself in every area.  No part of me has already reached its full potential.”

By no means the finished article, Arp is nonetheless on the right track. Remember the name.

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