The brother of Dejan Lovren and another future England star Keanan Bennetts are among the newest gems that you have to keep your eyes on in 2018/19. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
The brother of Dejan Lovren and another future England star Keanan Bennetts are among the newest gems that you have to keep your eyes on in 2018/19. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Lovren, Bennetts, Mai, Maina and Kiprit get their teenage kicks in the Bundesliga

They've already hit the ground running in Germany's top-flight, but with the 2018/19 season almost upon us, get ready to see teenage sensations Muhammed Kirprit, Davor Lovren, Lars Lukas Mai, Keanan Bennetts and Linton Maina take their game to the next level.

Muhammed Kiprit

Age: 19
Position: Striker
Club: Hertha Berlin
Nationality: German-Turkish
Bundesliga appearances: 0

Muhammed Kiprit was one of the main reasons Hertha lifted the 2017/18 U19 Bundesliga title. His 22 goals in 25 matches propelled the Old Lady to the top of the North/Northeast division for the first time in over a decade, and he scored a further three times in the two-legged semi-final against Borussia Dortmund to secure a final showdown against Schalke that ended 3-1 in their favour.

- © imago / MAtthias Koch

Davor Lovren

Veteran striker Vedad Ibisevic and young gun Davie Selke are an effective strikeforce for the capital team, and recently-signed Pascal Köpke brings a breadth professional experience to the table after scoring 20 goals for Erzgebirge Aue in the Bundesliga 2 over the last two seasons. The competition for a spot in the team will be fierce, but Hertha will likely reward their young pearl with a professional debut soon.

Age: 19
Position: Left winger
Club: Fortuna Düsseldorf
Nationality: Croatian
Bundesliga appearances: 0

The Bundesliga has a special relationship with Croatia. Some of the Balkan nation’s brightest stars like Ivan Rakitic, Ivan Perisic and, most recently, Andrej Kramaric have polished their game in Germany. After a remarkable run by the Vatreni to the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, this partnership will continue to grow thanks to Davor Lovren and newly-promoted Fortuna. The younger brother of Croatia international Dejan, the winger is a product of Dinamo Zagreb’s youth academy, just like his more seasoned sibling and nation's star midfielder Luka Modric.

- © imago / Revierfoto

Lars Lukas Mai

After a convincing 2016/17 season with Dinamo’s reserve squad, Fortuna signed him on loan to aid in their 2017/18 bid for promotion from the Bundesliga 2. Although more experienced players were higher up in the pecking order, he was still widely used throughout the season and managed to score a goal. The coming campaign will be his first full year in the European elite and his club are determined to leave a mark in their return to the top flight after their five-year absence.

Age: 18
Position: Centre-back
Club: Bayern Munich
Nationality: German
Bundesliga appearances: 2

Although Bayern have the meanest defence in the league, conceding just 28 times last season, the record champions are relentless in their pursuit of continuous improvement. Young centre-back Lars Lukas Mai exemplifies this perhaps better than anyone. The 6’2” teenager came to Munich from his native Dresden in 2014 and has gradually developed into a potential defensive stalwart for years to come.

- © imago / ActionPictures

Keanan Bennetts

After captaining Bayern to the U17 Bundesliga title in 2016/17, Mai was promoted to the U19 squad last season, where he was also entrusted with the leader’s armband. Although they were pipped by Hoffenheim to the South/Southwest division title on goal difference, the defender’s performances both in the domestic league and the UEFA Youth League earned him his first team debut on Matchday 31 against Hannover before playing the full 90 minutes once more the following week versus Eintracht Frankfurt. Niklas Süle, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are all ahead of him in the Bayern pecking order, but Mai will surely learn a lot from that trio this season.

Age: 18
Position: Left midfielder
Club: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Nationality: English/German
Bundesliga appearances: 0

After the tremendous performances that Jadon Sancho and Ademola Lookman delivered last season with Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig respectively, it is no wonder that more and more young English players are looking at the Bundesliga as the perfect place to reach their full potential. Glabach made the most of this trend to bring Tottenham-bred left midfielder Keanan Bennetts - who is half-German and speaks the language fluently - to the continent.

Linton Maina

Although he has the pace you’d expect from a wide offensive player, his positioning and sense of timing are arguably of equal importance to his game, allowing him to create danger even from more central areas. Furthermore, as he is left-footed, Bennetts is a prime candidate to be used as an inverted winger, especially considering that the Foals’ main man, Thorgan Hazard, roams mostly on the left flank of the final third on the pitch.

Age: 19
Position: Attacking midfielder
Club: Hannover
Nationality: German
Bundesliga appearances: 2

One of the best ways for a young player to break through as a senior professional is positional ersatility. Hannover’s Linton Maina is the perfect example of this, having played in every outfield position except striker and centre-back during his youth career with the northern club and the various junior German national teams.

- © imago / Jan Huebner

Maina can play on either flank but is most comfortable in the middle of the pitch. Hannover evidently believe he has the wherewithal to have an impact in the first team after being promoted to the senior side in the latter stages of last season, and he earned his professional debut against Dortmund, as well as a further outing against Bayer Leverkusen. Given the configuration of Hannover’s squad, his chances of racking up game time are high next term especially on the left flank, where coach Andre Breitenreiter's options are not as deep as elsewhere on the pitch.

Click here for Teenage Kicks Part 2