He may only stand at 5'6" (168 cm), but what Vincent Koziello lacks in height he more than makes up for with towering displays in Cologne's midfield, enough to earn him a nomination for March's Bundesliga Rookie Award by Tag Heuer.

The 22-year-old only joined the Billy Goats during the winter break from OGC Nice, but he has already established himself as a pillar of Stefan Ruthenbeck's side.

Watch: Vincent Koziello - March Rookie of the Month candidate

The Frenchman's breakthrough came in March, starting his first Bundesliga game in a 2-1 win away to RB Leipzig and netting his first goal in that fixture to level the score at 1-1.

Koziello is a hard worker (averaging 7.89 miles per game), at ease in possession (93 per cent pass completion) and robust in the tackle (wining 56 per cent of all duels), making it no surprise that Cologne's upturn in form and results have coincided with his presence in the side.

"I've never been the biggest player so I've had to find other ways to establish myself," said the France Under-21 international, who can play both in defensive and attacking midfield. "I have to be more alert, see things further in advance and be more intelligent."

Koziello (r.) has brought some much-needed bite to the Cologne midfield. © imago / mika

'I want to help us stay in the Bundesliga'

Koziello demonstrated his fearlessness in the face of more physical opponents in Cologne's recent derby win against Bayer Leverkusen. On one occasion he thundered into a tackle with Jonathan Tah – a defender seemingly twice Koziello's size - setting the tone for his team-mates in a hard-fought match.

And while the Bundesliga is new territory for the pint-sized terrier, there are nevertheless some familiar faces for him in Germany: VfB Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard and Eintracht Frankfurt forward Sebastien Haller are former team-mates from the France youth set-up.

Yet the question remains as to why he chose to join a team threatened by relegation.

"I wanted to go to a club where I was really needed," Koziello explained. "Cologne's current situation presents a big challenge for me. I want to help us stay in the Bundesliga."

Thanks to his outstanding displays, the Billy Goats might just make it.

Click here to vote for your Bundesliga Rookie Award by Tag Heuer for March!